Dictums for Direct Mail Success
have never have figured out why direct mail is such a hard
I have told numerous job hunters to use it, yet most resist.
consider it demeaning – they think that it cheapens themselves in the
marketplace if they are asking for a job or openly advertising for a
- Others figure
it simply won’t work.
- Still others,
and I think this is the majority, view it as too much work.
last two groups are partially right – direct mail doesn’t always
one hell of a lot of work. This
may come as a surprise you, as the fair-haired boy for whom success
always seemed to fall gently from heaven, but sometimes it takes a hell
of a lot of work to be successful. Especially when job
today’s economic mudhole. (If you’re still dubious, click here to
read about two friends of mine who just found great jobs with direct
mail, despite our current Great Recession.)
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almost never works if you don’t follow Job
Magician’s Dictums for Direct Mail Success:
- You target
the wrong companies.
Direct mail is most effective if you target the industry you’re in, or
related industries. An engineering director with a
manufacturing background will rarely be successful with direct mail if
he scatters his résumé to manufacturers outside his field; a hospital
CFO will have a tough time moving into manufacturing, as hospital
financial management is a world of its own, driven by insurance company
reimbursement strategies. Lists of companies in your industry
be purchased from InfoUSA.
- You send your
letter to the wrong person.
You need to mail your resume to your future boss. If you’re
to be working for the President, mail to her. If it’s a
company, and your target position is Director of Sales, find out who
the VP of Sales & Marketing is and send it to him.
a lot of digging – you need to call all of these companies to confirm
names, because mailing lists that you buy will have the correct name
only half to two-thirds of the time. Unless you’re in human
resources, don’t mail your resume to the human resources
department. Your letter will wind up in the hands of a junior
recruiter, who is unlikely to know that the CEO is fed up with his
VP/Manufacturing and about to fire her.
- You don’t
send out big volume.
Most people who tell me they have been unsuccessful with direct mail
have told me that they sent out two dozen letters. Volume is
necessary – the more you send, the better your odds. 250 is
the low end, 1000 is a desirable number, and 2000 is better in
the Great Recession. That means you normally have to be willing to relocate
make this technique work, unless your background is in a functional
area such as finance or human resources, which are more easily
transferable to other industries. Even in these fields,
are far more likely to hire someone with experience in their industry.
Does direct mail work for
The answer is an unqualified NO.
Those of you who break the
omniscient and powerful Job
Magician’s Dictums for
Direct Mail Success
and send out only a few, mail to the wrong industries or mail to the
wrong person probably will fail. Many who do everything right
will fail with direct mail as well. In this job market,
is guaranteed. You need to use every technique imaginable –
Networking, LinkedIn, Direct Mail, contacting recruiters and even
answering ads (which works on rare occasion) – to have a fighting
chance in this economy.
submission is crappy.
You need to mail a well-written cover letter with a cunning hook (see
Cover Letters With Hooks
Catch Employers), and include a full,
straightforward resume (see Writing a Resume That Really
Shows Who You
Are). Sending a functional,
hide-and-seek, cover-up resume, or
the latest trends, a letter with no resume or a one-page resume with no
cover letter, risk a quick trip to the trash can (that’s where these go
in my office).