Wednesday, May 28, 2008

To Fax or Not to Fax – That is the Question

A client asked me if he should fax his resume, in order to get more attention. He was surprised when I said no.

Then I realized that there is still a misconception in the job seeker audience about faxed resumes.

The thought process in faxing resumes is to gain an advantage by delivering in a way that gets noticed. It was a sure fire way to get your resume seen…about 10 years ago. But not so much anymore – here’s why.

There are three roadblocks to getting your resume seen via fax: 1) Location of the fax machine; 2) Majority use of the fax machine; 3) Human Resources; 4) Aversion to paper

Location of the fax machine: Your faxed resume is likely to get lost. In the vast majority of companies, fax machines aren’t located in executive offices any longer. When fax machines used to be located in the executive suite, faxing your resume could be an effective way to get your background seen. Fax machines are now located in operations departments that send or receive faxes. Worse yet, many larger companies have adopted enterprise fax solutions, printing all faxes in a centralized location.

Majority use of the fax machine: Fax machines are typically used today when a written record is required of a signature, legal documentation/proof, or operational/accounting documents. They are typically used to transmit forms, where for accounting, signature or proof purposes, a paper form is necessary.

Fax machines are typically high volume collection points, wither separated by department or centralized in an enterprise printing operation. Unless you are certain that the decision maker you seek will review all faxes, assume that your fax will be lost. And are you certain that fax number is the machine your decision maker uses?

HR: In all but the smallest companies, Human Resources wants your resume in its database. The Human Resources department keeps statistics for the EEOC and Department of Labor. Since 9/11, Department of Labor audits became much more frequent and detailed and HR needs to get your information digitized, so they can quickly respond to government information requests. Faxes aren’t always the easiest to scan - If the print is too light or unclear, you risk having your resume rejected.

Aversion to Paper: Managers don’t manage paper well, and they are used to managing electronic documents. Paper risks getting lost or thrown out.

There are some exceptions, mainly clerical roles, where faxed resume can still work. Here are some examples:

- Applying for a job to sell or service fax machines or related supplies
- Applying for a job as a clerk who regularly processes faxes (order entry, accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll)
- Applying for a job where sales orders are transmitted via fax
- Small very low tech companies
- Clerical or Blue collar jobs

Finally, if you are in technology, and you’re not emailing your resume, do you think an employer will take you seriously? Is the IT department typically a big user of faxes?

So…still want to fax your resume? I didn’t think so…..

If you’d like more information, a free 30 minute resume consultation, or some advice about your career transition, just email your resume to reCareered at, and we'll schedule a time to talk.

1 comment:

Chris Abraham said...

IMHO, the best way to send a resume is "inline" in the email, either as formatted content or well-formatted plaintext. Also, attach both a .doc and .pdf attachment -- avoid the new .docx at all costs -- it isn't backward compatible.