5 Tips How To Keep Your Resume Out Of The Black Hole

Candidates constantly complain about how when they email resumes they all seem to end up in the proverbial “black hole.”

As a recruiter, who receives on average 6 to 7 hundred resumes a week, I can understand your frustration. I’m also sure I may not be able to eliminate it, however, I hope I can help you reduce it with these few tips.

1) When you move from candidate to hiring manager remember your frustrations and treat the people sending you resumes as you want to be treated now. You know, the thing our parents always taught us about treating others the  way we want to be treated. Sounds so obvious but I just wrote another article about how rarely this happens.

2) The best way to avoid the black hole in the first place is not enter it. If you include a cover letter; a) don’t send it as a separate attachment to your resume. It should be the first page when the resume attachment is opened. b) use either Word or PDF to send your resume. I receive many resumes I can’t open. c) your cover letter should be designed to grab the reader’s attention. That means the cover letter must clearly and with a simple glance align your background with the needs of the job. CLICK HERE and download a free copy of a sample cover letter that does just that.

3) You don’t have to be the first resume received. Most ads run for at least 30 days. Many candidates have experienced most companies take their time. So wait a few days or even up to a week or more before replying. Avoid being one of the first 400 resumes. After the first blast of resumes come, as more trickle in one or two at a time, I will often just open the resume take a look at it and make a decision how to handle it. These people avoided the rush and got their resume reviewed.

4) First try the personal approach. With number 3 above in mind, use this time to try and find a personal connection within the company or recruiting firm. There are many ways to do this. 1) Linkedin should be first on your list. This is  exactly why you need to build your connections to the maximum number possible. 2) Google the person’s name, position, or company name, anything that will help you target the right person within the company. Then look for a personal introduction. Most recruiters value a referral.

5) Don’t use services that blast your resume to 10,000 recruiters and/or companies. This is a major waste of money. What do you expect will happen when someone receives a bunch of unsolicited resumes? What would you do with them? How do you handle unsolicited emails? Most call it SPAM. It doesn’t work.

Hope these tips are helpful and now your resume will at least pop to the top.

Designing a resume is the starting point of every job search. If your resume gets screened out it is worthless.

If you didn’t know these little tips our Complete Resume System is designed to make sure your resume gets noticed. We guarantee it. The hundreds of people who have used this system to build an effective resume are getting their resumes read. You can too. There are many more tips you should include in your resume. For more information about getting your resume noticed check out our Complete Resume System. CLICK HERE to view it.

You should join our LinkedIn IMPACT Hiring Solutions Job Search Networking Group. It is free on LinkedIn and there is an enormous amount of articles and discussions to help in your job search. That is why over 4000 people have joined so far. CLICK HERE to join if you are a LinkedIn member.

You can also download for FREE a sample cover letter to use that will align your background with those of the company. CLICK HERE to download your sample.

I welcome your thoughts and feedback.

Brad Remillard


About the Author

Brad Remillard is a founding Partner of IMPACT Hiring Solutions, co-author of "You're NOT the Person I Hired", and "This is NOT the Position I Accepted". Brad is an award-winning international speaker, retained executive recruiter, and expert on hiring and retaining top talent, and executive job search.


  • By Michael West, February 17, 2010 @ 5:17 pm

    Your tips are AWESOME, and I use each one every time. My only complaint is that you are telling everyone the BEST secrets! I have to compete with these people, wait until I land MY dream job! Thanks

  • By Bruce Skinner, February 19, 2010 @ 7:08 pm

    I’m grateful for every tip that comes from you. But I’m curious about not making your resume an attachment or your cover letter a separate document, i.e. how is this done?

  • bradremillard

    By bradremillard, February 19, 2010 @ 7:23 pm

    Bruce I think you may have misunderstood. You do have to attach your resume and cover letter. It just doesn’t have to be two separate attachments. It can all be done in one. If you have a two page resume add a cover page to the same document. It is now only one document with three pages.

  • By Leigh, February 22, 2010 @ 11:30 am

    The only one I disagree with is “You don’t have to be the first resume received. Most ads run for at least 30 days. Many candidates have experienced most companies take their time.” I will often review resumes right away and depending on what comes in, may go ahead and start interviewing and by the time that resumes comes in 3 weeks later, we may not even see it. I always think it’s a good idea to apply right away–plus I sometimes wonder why a candidate waited so long to apply if they “really” want the job…

  • bradremillard

    By bradremillard, February 22, 2010 @ 7:39 pm

    I work at the executive level. My experience is most hiring managers wait too long to make the hire and that is especially true in today’s economy

  • By micaelamarsden, February 24, 2010 @ 10:21 am

    Hi Brad. Your tips sound really sane. I have to admit I wondered about the timing one too. Do you think it’s ok to send in one early and one later?

    Also, and I hope you don’t mind, and because I rather like English, in point 1, you want to use the word “rarely”, or change “happens” to “is”. There was some other tiny thing too.

    But, that illustrates a point, that people reading what you are writing will notice if your grammar, punctuation, or spelling is off. I think people are more forgiving these days, as there are more immigrants who are very bright who may not have such a complete command of these issues, but you never know!

  • bradremillard

    By bradremillard, February 24, 2010 @ 10:46 am

    Good catch. Thanks

  • By Irene Kaufman, March 11, 2010 @ 12:07 pm

    I am finding that recruiters are responding in one or two months, as opposed to one or two weeks — partly due, I suspect, to the volume of resumes received, and possibly due to internal changes in the job description on the client side. (As a former in-house recruiter, I experienced this a few times.) What I have also done is contact a candidate we can’t use, but I know someone else might, and steer the candidate to that alternate job. They are always surprised I took the time to due so, and most grateful.

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