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Job Magician Using Direct Mail to Find a Job  

Many job hunters find direct mail to be a daunting task, limit their numbers to 50 or 200, and then claim that this technique doesn’t work (they ignore the basic rule of direct mail, which is that effective direct mail requires big numbers – 1,000 resumes is a good figure).  

John Lucht, the author of Rites of Passage at $100,000, also provides outplacement for very senior executives.  He reports that about half of his outplacees get their new jobs through networking, and the other half get their jobs through direct mail (this figure includes direct mail to retained search firms).  Most other outplacement firms report lower success rates from direct mail (but since most outplacement firms discourage its use, their clients rarely do enough of it to be effective).

Don’t send your resume to human resources. Instead, mail it to the person most likely to be your potential boss, or your potential boss’s boss.  It is absolutely necessary to check this name by phone ahead of time – databases are typically incorrect 30% to 50% of the time, and if the name you send to is wrong, your success rate will fall by at least 80%.  Remember that because direct mail requires large numbers, most potential targets will be out-of-town, which means you’ll probably have to be willing to relocate to have direct mail work for you.  Also, direct mail is generally not effective if you intend to make a career change, and is difficult if you’re trying to shift to a completely different field (such as from capital equipment marketing to healthcare marketing).

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Your resume will have the best chance of being read if you mail it so it arrives on Tuesday. Tuesday is by far the lightest day of the week when it comes to receiving mail. It's also the second workday of the week, so Monday's fires are put out and the real work is finally taking place. Since most mail in this country takes two working days for it to be delivered (local mail usually takes one day, and cross-country probably takes three days), you'll be best off mailing most of your letters on Saturday. Despite all of the complaints about the post office, these time estimates are fairly reliable in my experience.

And remember your virtual appearance when you're doing direct mail. Computer-generated letterhead will make you look like a computer-generated job hunter, not a senior executive. Get good letterhead printed on watermarked paper for a professional look that is as good as your lawyer's or that of the company where you work (see The Perfect Virtual Appearance for a Job Hunter for more tips).

Two good sources to develop direct mail lists are Infousa and Zapdata.  Both of these will allow you to instantly download data in a format you can easily use to to send out a mass mailing.



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