Ask LH: Should I Submit My Resume In Person?

Hey Lifehacker, I’m wondering: After seeing numerous articles about job interviews and such, it got me wondering. Would a business be much more eager to employ me if I were to hand in my resume and cover letter in person, or if i just applied through the internet? Would showing up in person demonstrate I actually have more drive and more interest in the job? I just wonder if I’d have better chances going into a workplace and applying. Thanks, Job Hunter

Resume picture from Shutterstock

Dear JH,

One of the clichés of job seeking is that many vacancies aren’t advertised. This is true, but it doesn’t automatically follow that showing up with your resume on hand is always a good idea.

When might it make sense? If you’re applying in an environment which is already open to the public and which potentially has a high turnover — think retail or restaurants — then this often is the best approach. A core part of that role will be how you present, and that’s something more easily demonstrated in person than on paper.

Conversely, if a specific vacancy has been advertised, then you need to apply in the fashion required (whether that’s through a letter, a web form or whatever else). Ignoring that and showing up in person might demonstrate initiative, but it also demonstrates that you’ve ignored basic instructions. Vacancies can attract hundreds of applicants, and workplaces can be busy. There’s a fair chance in an office environment that you’ll get no further than the receptionist, in which case your application won’t be distinct from any others that arrived by mail.

So while the approach might make sense on occasion, put your best effort into making sure your resume stands out by being compact and accurate and that your cover letter sells you properly.

That’s our take, but we’d love to hear what readers think. Tell us what has worked best for you in the comments.


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