What is an unsolicited resume?

The world is full of job ads. There are boards for every market, every job prospect, and every political persuasion. And yet, many people still struggle to find the job they’re looking for. In large part, that’s because there are often far more job seekers than there are positions. That can make it hard to stand out.


So, what can you do to get noticed if you’re not finding a way to gain traction through regular pathways? Well, how about sending out an unsolicited resume? This strategy can work better than you may believe. It’s gotten a lot of people jobs in places they otherwise might not have had a lot of opportunities.

What does unsolicited mean?

To send an unsolicited resume means that you send one without having been invited to do so. In other words, you don’t wait for them to say that they’re looking for somebody. You just send it in the hopes that they are but haven’t announced it yet, or in case they end up so impressed with your resume that they end up creating a place just for you.

Solicited or unsolicited?

So how do you choose whether you should send a solicited or unsolicited resume? Well, it really depends. If you find a job position advertised that thinks fits you to a tee, then you obviously send your resume there. On the other hand, if you find a company that you really like then simply send them your resume anyway – even if it’s unsolicited. What’s the worst thing they can do? Throw it in the trash?

In truth, the situation should be that you send your resume to the positions, companies, and the jobs that you’re interested in. As long as you send out enough, somebody will bite sooner or later. (What is enough? It’s a vague term. But it is never in the single digits).

Of course, you do have to direct your letter correctly. For example, to get past the door with an unsolicited resume, you do need to make sure that your cover letter is not generic. That means that you mention the company you’re contacting specifically and offer solutions and opportunities to the problems they’re facing. Only in that way will you clear the higher hurdle of getting considered by a company who isn’t necessarily looking.

Sound like too much work? I hear you. But then, being broke because you don’t have a job and haven’t had one for a while is even more exhausting – so do put in the effort.

The cover letter

Note that your resume is important – but don’t overlook the importance of your cover letter. If your resume is what you’ve done, then your cover letter is what you’ll be able to do for the company you’re writing to. Here you can form connections between your past and the company’s needs.

That means you actually need to know some background about the company. So do your research! Typing their names into Google along with the word ‘news’ can offer you some insights. Looking at the press releases they discuss on their site can be useful as well. Then try to put those clues into your letter, so that it shows that you’ve actually been paying attention (of course, they do need to be relevant to what you’re saying).

There are two elements to writing a cover letter.
The first one is that you show off your own personality. Don’t write like a stuffed shirt. Everybody already does that, and the point is to stand out, not fade into the background. So give it a bit of your personal spark. No, that does not mean that you can swear, misspell words or use pink paper. You want to use correct grammar and style. But show of who you are.
Unfortunately, that style is pretty restrictive. There are some pretty clear guidelines about how to write a cover letter[1]. And you need to follow them. Why? Because you only get a few seconds to convince the HR manager that your resume is worth looking at [2]. And those will be wasted if they don’t find the bits that they’re looking for in the places they’re supposed to be. So make sure you follow the guidelines.

Write them all!

If you’re wondering if you should write an unsolicited resume then the answer is ‘yes’. It doesn’t matter if they’re not looking or the chance that you’re going to get in is tiny. For even tiny amounts add up to a lot if you go after enough of them.

So if you really want to work for a company, then write them. And if you don’t hear a response the first time, write them again a few months later Perseverance can pay off, if you know how to bring it correctly.

Whatever you do, don’t let yourself by blinded by what’s on offer. The true job seeker takes it a step further by taking some shots in the dark. For only if you do that can you find out what is truly out there.

Useful links:
1 How to Write a Cover Letter https://hbr.org/2014/02/how-to-write-a-cover-letter
2 How to Make Your Resume Last Longer Than 6 Seconds http://business.time.com/2012/04/13/how-to-make-your-resume-last-longer-than-6-seconds/

Author: Veronica Wright

Hi, I'm Veronica from Resumes Centre. I'm here to share all my struggles and experience about daily routine and give you as much career tips as possible.