Learn when you should and should not send an unsolicited resume

Unsolicited Resumes: How & When To Use Them

The grind to find the perfect job — or remote job — requires a disciplined approach that’s highlighted by scouring high-quality job boards for open positions, sending out resumes, and writing cover letters. But what if the perfect job wasn’t listed or the company you want to work for wasn’t hiring? That’s just what unsolicited resumes aim to find.

Although the practice of sending unsolicited resumes may seem taboo or akin to a fool’s errand, they’re actually more practical than you might think — within reason. Find out how unsolicited resumes can expand your network and open your job search to new opportunities under the right circumstances.

What Are Unsolicited Resumes?

As the name implies, an unsolicited resume is a resume that you submit to an employer that has no current job openings in your respective field. The best way to think about such kind of resume is that it’s a mix of cold calling and an elevator pitch all in one. You either know what company you want to work for, or you use your connections or network to find jobs that have the potential to create a position that’s ideal for your skills.

When You Should Send an Unsolicited Resume

An unsolicited resume is a handy tool in certain situations. First and foremost, you should send an unsolicited resume whenever you’re struggling to find a job that excites you. When you’re combing through job openings and nothing gets you even remotely excited, an unsolicited email is an excellent option.

Another time that an unsolicited resume is a great option is if you’re unsatisfied with your current role. If you’re lacking the responsibility, engagement, or morale to continue at your job, a job search can help. However, since you already have a job, your back isn’t up against the wall like if you were unemployed.

You should also consider an unsolicited resume when you have a particular company that you want to work for — even if they aren’t hiring. At the very least, you attract a bit of attention and put yourself on the radar of your preferred company.

When You Shouldn’t Send an Unsolicited Resume

Not every jobseeker should turn to an unsolicited resume to find employment. Put too much emphasis on it, and you ignore open positions and job postings. Or if you send too many, you can easily get a reputation as a spammer.

You also shouldn’t send an unsolicited resume without due diligence. Sending a resume without doing the work all but cancels out your initiative. Take the time to research a company and find the right person to send your resume to.

Finally, avoid an unsolicited resume if you don’t have the time. Time is almost always at a premium, and if you’re stressed about sending unsolicited resumes due to time constraints, it’s hardly worth the effort.

How To Craft a Well-Written Unsolicited Resume

Aside from being sent without a job opening, a well-crafted unsolicited resume is similar to a regular resume. Although you always want to tailor your resume to a specific position, make sure to include these items in your unsolicited resume:

  • If you’re searching for a remote job, explicitly state that you have experience telecommuting if applicable.
  • Use job descriptions for similar jobs to add keyphrases to your resume; this will enable you to bypass applicant tracking systems.
  • Include any relevant experience, hard skills, or soft skills that would make you an intriguing candidate for the position.
  • Add any quantifiable achievements to your resume below each position, such as “increased sales by 18%” or “improved conversion rate to 28%.”
  • Take the time to find out who the hiring manager is. A personalized cover letter to go along with your resume adds the impression that you’re serious about a potential position.

The simple truth is that if you’re going to take the time to send an unsolicited resume, you want to make it stand out from any other people who may apply for jobs in the future. You’re already taking the initiative — take it to the next level.

Other Considerations

Before you send a few unsolicited resumes, you need to do some legwork. Add these considerations to your list before you spend time creating an unsolicited resume:

  • Research the company thoroughly. Know what the company does, what positions they commonly fill, and all other relevant information that can give you some insight into the company.
  • Check your network. LinkedIn typically shows you if you have an alumnus or connection who works at the company. These are invaluable resources that can get your foot in the door with an unsolicited resume.
  • Go with a small or midsize business. The open rate for unsolicited emails and resumes in smaller businesses is much higher than in corporations with hundreds or thousands of employees. Think of this as helping them fill a position by doing a bit of the work for them.

A Basic Unsolicited Resume and Application Template

Along with your resume, you also need to send a cover letter, which is also known as a prospecting cover letter. Again, much of the idea is the same as sending any other application. You need to highlight your strengths, express your interest in the company, and explain why you’re the perfect person for the job.

Using the ideas listed above, you should have a solid idea of what your resume should look like. However, constructing a cover letter for a job that doesn’t exist is trickier. Take this unsolicited cover letter template/example and tweak it to make it your own:

  • Create a personalized greeting by using “Dear Mr. So-and-So” rather than “Dear Hiring Manager.”
  • Next, grab the attention of the hiring manager by adhering to the “six-second rule.” This rule states that you have six seconds to “wow” a potential hiring manager.
  • To add the wow factor, start with a one- or two-sentence intro followed by either praise or one of your top achievements.
  • In the next paragraph, discuss your skills and background and why you would be a great addition to the team. Don’t simply restate your resume — show them why they need your services. Bullet points can make this section easier to scan, especially if you have numerous relevant accomplishments.
  • After your skills/background, talk more about why you want to work for the company and how you were referred (if applicable). Praise certain aspects of the company and show what you can add to the team.
  • Finish with a thank you and a CTA (call to action) that invites the hiring manager to contact you as soon as possible or consider you for any future positions.

Approach With Realism and Do the Easy Things First

Unsolicited resumes aren’t guaranteed to land your dream job. That’s why you need to approach the idea with a sense of realism. Hiring managers and recruiters already have enough on their plates, and unsolicited resumes aren’t exactly at the top of the list. Nevertheless, the novel approach can put you on their radar.

Before you spend the time to send out these resumes, exhaust your more viable options first:

  • Look over job boards to find positions you’re qualified to get.
  • Study job descriptions of positions you want. Within these descriptions, you can find ideas about what other experience, certifications, or experience you need.
  • Use your network to find open job opportunities.
  • Leverage your LinkedIn profile.

Beyond these methods, you can also sign up for Virtual Vocations. Through our career services, paid and free memberships, and a host of other exclusive benefits, you have everything you need to find your next remote job — with or without an unsolicited resume.

What do you think about unsolicited job applications? What are the pros and cons of unsolicited resumes? Connect with Virtual Vocations on FacebookTwitterLinkedInInstagram, and YouTube to share your thoughts and tips. We’d love to hear from you!

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