Workwrite Resumes

Reach the hidden job market: Send direct mail inquiries



Direct mail isn’t high tech or fancy, but it can give you very high odds of success if you pump up the volume.

Another way to find positions that may not have been advertised is to send inquiries to those companies in your industry and / or geographic radius that may have openings. This is basically old-fashioned, direct mail cold-calling. It’s not fancy or high-tech. It can be effective. Here’ how:

  1. Find companies you may want to target. Read more here about how to do that.
  2. Write a short letter of introduction that tells who you are and what you can do for a company. Ask if they have or anticipate any openings. (If writing isn’t your thing, email me at Jeri@WorkwriteResumes.com, and we can talk about my writing your letter.)
  3. Print your letter on white, cotton content resume or executive paper with a matching envelope.
  4. Snail mail the letter to the top executive of as many companies as you can find.

You can find some more details and a bunch of statistics at Jobbait.com. One of the major downsides of this technique is the sheer volume it takes to achieve results. According to Jobbait.com, it takes between 2000 and 5000 letters to achieve 85% odds of success in 90 days. If you can live with fewer odds, you may be able to get by with fewer letters. Just remember, this technique is a numbers game, and that’s the way you have to play it.

A few general rules:

  • Industry average for direct mail response rate is between 1% and 3%, so adjust your expectations accordingly.
  • It takes an average of 4000 letters for each $100,000 of salary you want to earn. Higher salaries often take more letters; lower salaries often require fewer.
  • Send all of your letters on the same day for a better chance at the 90-day success rate.
  • You can instead send smaller batches of letters, but your chances of multiple simultaneous offers drop precipitously.
  • Email doesn’t work for this technique.
  • Do NOT enclose your resume with the letter. Assistants often open executive’s mail, and resumes are usually routed to HR. If you include a resume, your letter will go to HR, too, and that’s exactly what you’re trying to avoid. (You’ll still need a resume for the interview, so don’t neglect to develop one.)

If you have experience with the direct mail inquiry process, we’d love to hear about it. Leave your comment below. If you have questions about this technique or are simply tired of struggling with your job search, send me an email at Jeri@WorkwriteResumes.com to set up a phone conversation to see if what I do and what you need are the same thing.



Photo credit: Yoel Ben-Avraham


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