Friday, October 23, 2009

Resume Tip: 5 Ways To Prevent Emailed Resumes From Getting Blocked as Spam

Problematic Formatting to Avoid When Creating a Resume for Emailing

The following are some formatting choices that may look “spammy” to the ISPs and spam filters:

◦ HTML, rather than plain text. (If your email application lets you change font style, color, and size in your e-mail, it’s in html mode.) Sure, HTML makes email more attractive, by varying colors and fonts, and can do some layout tricks. But much spam is HTML-formatted, for that very reason, so html formatting may be a spam red flag.
◦ Lots of hyperlinks. These are often found in spam as well.
◦ Brightly colored fonts (e.g., red, green, or purple).
◦ Lots of ALL CAPS.
◦ Lots of question marks and/or exclamation points????!!!!!!

3. Think Hard About your Subject Line

Most people make a very quick delete-or-save decision based on an email’s subject line. This may be your only chance to grab their attention.

If you’re applying for a specific position, obviously you want to reference that, probably with a few words of self-promotion, maybe something like this:

Employment atty. w/ 5+ yrs. exp., for advertised legal dept. opening.

4. Run Your Cover Letter and Resume Through a Spam Checker.

There are sites you can use to test your email for likelihood of triggering spam filters, such as this one.

5. Don’t Rely Solely on Email to Transmit Your Resume.

Busy business people are accustomed to disposing very quickly of emails. If they don’t, they’ll never get to work. (I use an immediate “triage” — deal with today; get to in the next few weeks, and get to “someday.”)

Resumes, especially unsolicited ones, are not likely to get much notice if sent by email without first laying the groundwork more conventionally by phone or personal networking.

If you don’t first lay the groundwork this way, at least follow up with a phone call and copy sent by regular mail. Many people (fewer every year!) still function largely in the “paper world,” preferring a resume they can hold in their hand, mark on, and sort manually.

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