Sending an unsolicited resume to prospective employers is not the best way to get the job, says a Chicago career counselor.
"Your chances of getting a job using a resume are about one in a thousand," advises Thomas Camden, author of "The Job Hunter's Final Exam." Camden says that sending an unsolicited resume to 1,000 companies will bring on an average about 10 replies, of which nine will be negative.
"Unsolicited resumes are not even read in many companies," he says. "In others, they are passed along to a clerk in the personnel department, who sends each applicant a form letter stating that the company has no suitable openings at the present time."
Another reason not to send an unsolicited resume, he says, is that it gives an employer the chance to screen you out before even meeting you.
"Any information that you include can be viewed negatively, depending on the outlook of the person reading the resume," Camden says.
"The employer may decide, for example, that you are too young for the job, too old, have too much or too little education, have changed jobs too often or not often enough.
"Thus, your resume can give an employer all kinds of reasons to reject you before you have the chance to make your case in a face-to-face interview."
Camden believes job-seekers are overly anxious about their resumes because they wrongly assume a good resume is the key to the job offer.
"In reality, succeeding in the employment interview is the key to getting a job offer," he says, adding that networking is the best way to generate interviews.
Networking is defined as the development of personal contacts or exchanging of information with others.
"To get to the hiring authorities," Camden says, "you must go through other people. It's the old story of who you know."
Networking is a prime source of finding jobs and fills 85% of them, according to statistics cited by Hay Career Consultants.
"It is a requirement of management to staff his or her organization with competent and qualified people," says Clifford J. Benfield, Hay president.
"As a result, executives have an obligation to see everyone who is recommended from a known and creditable source."
If networking is the key to a successful job search, does the job-seeker even need a resume?
"Yes," Camden says. "Most employers will ask for a resume. But my advice is to spend your energy on making contacts and getting personal interviews, and keep your resume in reserve until you can hand it to the interviewer in person.
"If you've succeeded in the interview, the employer is likely to view your resume in a positive light."