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The Riley Guide

The Riley Guide: Resumes & Cover Letters

Resume Databases & Distribution Services

If you're aiming to get your resume into the hands of hard-to-reach employers, you may have considered a resume distribution service. Although some of these services can offer advantages over the ultra-broad resume sharing offered by sites like Monster, hiring one of these companies isn't always your best option. In fact, as explained below, it may even end up annoying the very employers you're hoping to reach. So if you're considering using some services like this, read on to find out what you're really getting into.

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What You Should Know About Resume Distribution Services

These sites charge you, the job seeker, to submit your resume to recruiters and/or employers who may have registered with them to receive resumes. However, some of these services have been known to farm email addresses from the Internet and send resumes to anyone they can find, including many employers who haven't asked to be on the service's distribution list.

Before you pay for any of these services, pick up the phone and call them. Ask them how their lists are created. Ask them to list some of the employers in their database. Ask them what, exactly, your payment will cover. If the service offers a money-back guarantee, find out precisely what qualifies as a "money-back" failure on their part. Some of these services may claim they did everything right as long as they sent out your resume to thousands of companies - even if most of those companies aren't in your field and/or aren't hiring right now.

Some people who've hired these services report that inaccurate information about them was sent out...

Also, check out any service you're considering with the Better Business Bureau and with RipOffReport.com - and Google their name to see if anyone is talking about them (positively or negatively). If you do decide to go ahead and purchase, ask to receive a draft of the email submission they'll send out, so you can be sure your information appears correctly - some people who've hired these services have reported that this was a problem. And pay with a credit card (not a debit card) so you can dispute the charges with your credit card company if it comes to that. The sad fact is that it often does with services like these.

Hiring managers say they've received resumes from these services despite never asking to be put on any list...

On the whole, this scattershot approach to searching isn't something to rely on as a sole method of getting your resume into anyone's hands. It can sometimes be a useful tool for supplementing your own proactive job search, but even that isn't guaranteed. Some hiring managers have reported that even though they never requested to be put on any distribution list, they've still received resumes from these services - not exactly a positive first impression, to say the least. People whose resumes have been blasted to companies that didn't request them are often stunned to find this out - so before you hire any resume distribution service, talk with them carefully about who, exactly, they'll be sending your resume to, and how they got those people's information.

Databases & Distribution Services

If you've read the previous section and you still want to try your luck with a resume distribution service, this section will point you toward some of the more reputable ones. Before you commit to a specific service, you'll probably want to check out ForwardYourResume.com - a site that specializes in reviewing and rating resume distribution services. The site provides detailed breakdowns of each distribution service's costs and features, and presents the tallies in nice little charts - very handy for making an informed decision.

Before you commit to a specific service, check out a site that specializes in reviewing them...

In terms of getting your resume out to the broadest range of U.S. employers, GadBall.com and ResumeBucket.com are two of the most far-reaching distribution services on the web. They both allow you a fair amount of control over who sees your resume (i.e., companies in your field), and they allow you to make updates to your info as frequently as you need to. ResumeDeliver.com, meanwhile, provides both free and paid distribution services, but only to companies on their list - important if you don't want to annoy potential employers with unsolicited requests.

For executive-level resume distribution, you can give ExecutiveTrumpet.com a try - along with the rest of The Riley Guide's list of Executive Resume Mailing Services. And if you're in the U.K., CVTrumpet.co.uk is worth a look - this service targets more than 3,000 registered employers in the U.K., throughout Britain, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Lists of Resume Databases and Services

Many online job boards provide some form of free resume distribution...

Some sites don't actually provide resume distribution services, but maintain lists of databases where you can post your resume. Most of the job boards linked in this Riley Guide article provide some form of free resume distribution, even if it's just the ability to semi-publicly share your resume with any registered site members who want to view it. Yahoo! also provides a curated list of resume distribution services. As explained in the first section of this article, though, make sure you thoroughly investigate any service you plan on using. Remember, if a deal sounds too good to be true... it probably is.

Helpful links

ForwardYourResume.com -- Reviews of resume distribution services, comparing features, costs and more.

Resume Resources from Yahoo! -- A list of sites that provide resume distribution services.