Invasion of the résumé snatchers

For you job-hunters out there, here’s an eye-opening story about spam filters you may want to see.  Basically, your résumé may vanish into a black hole if anything in the email triggers a spam filter on the other end.  It makes perfect sense:  with spam as bad as it is these days, more and more stuff is being caught in filters and either set aside for review (no telling when) or simply trashed.  Putting something like “magna cum laude” in there is probably not a good idea…

It’s been a few years since I was job-hunting, but I remember trying to avoid this trap by sending two copies of my résumé:  one in Word format, one in plain text.  The text version would most likely be filtered first, if anything in there triggered the keyword filters, but the Word one may also have been caught since the document was an attachment and so many viruses travel that way.  Another thing I did was put a copy of my résumé in a folder on my web server, and included the URL in my emails in case their software automatically stripped out attachments.

So what else can you do?  Maybe send your résumé in PDF format as well as Word.  (PDFs are probably the best way to go anyway, since the document is guaranteed to look the same on your end as on theirs.)  Also, besides the text version, email the PDF/Word ones to yourself (or friends) at various email services to see if they make it though OK.  This test may not be possible for corporate email addresses (like, etc.) but at least you can see what may get sniffed by using free online services.  If anyone has any other clever ideas, let’s hear ’em!

0 thoughts on “Invasion of the résumé snatchers

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  1. How about delivering your resume in person, or by snail mail? (Assuming that’s an option.) It’s been years since I was job hunting as well, but all the jobs I applied for required a detailed application in addition a resume, so it was easy for me to attach my resume to my print applications or copy and paste it in an appropriate place in my online applications. I know many companies are accepting online applications only nowadays, which probably limits their potential candidate pools. (Diversity is important, as long as we’re all the same.)
    I think we talked about this previously when we lived together. It takes somewhat more effort for a recruiter sifting through hundreds of resumes to throw a physical copy in a recycle bin than to simply hit a delete button. I guess the question comes down to whether a virtual resume is a tangible object, and in what situations or cases it’s tangible.
    Regardless, while companies may be looking for particular skills, they actually hire people with those skills. You shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that you’re a person who is not limited by that which is stated in your resume. Searching for a job nowadays takes a lot more than simply sending a resume out into the abyss. You need to follow up on your application, network whenever you can, and perhaps display through some sort of creative outlet that you’re the best person for the job.
    For example, when I was applying for outreach positons, I would first do some background research on the organization I was applying to, as well as research on their target demographics. This sometimes involved contacting the recruiter and asking some well thought out questions (which served the additional purpose of putting myself in their radar). I would then make mock promotional materials, budgets, and action plans, and then include them with my applications, whether they were required or not. These extras didn’t always lead to me getting the job in the end, but they almost always got me an interview.
    A resume is a great tool to show employers what you’ve done in the past, but it’s just as important to show potential employers how you can contribute to their future.


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