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Of course, the best though most difficult method is to find out who the
potential hiring manager is. But barring that, my experience is that HR
people tend to notice paper more than electrons - though this could be
simply because in these electronic days, paper stands out. If everyone
started sending paper, the effect could disappear. Also possible is that HR
people, I believe, tend to be not technically-oriented, but people-oriented.
Even with HR databases and whatnot, your resume could get lost.
Getting back to the idea of identifying the hiring manager, you could make
another case for paper. Managers get lots of e-mails, many of them spam.
Managers are busy, and if you go the route of calling by telephone, you have
only a few seconds to overcome annoyance; after all, you've interrupted
whatever they were doing. But a personally addressed letter - well, now,
these days I think that would stand out. I'd read it just to put the sender
through Steve's Ironclad Rule of Initial Resume Screening: did they manage
to put together a letter, resume, and maybe some collateral material without
any errors? (Surprisingly few did.) If it actually looked interesting and
showed good writing, that was a bonus; if they actually seemed to have
thought about what they could do, and what we did, and how the former might
match the latter, I'd be on the phone to _them_.
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