Is Your Resume Junk Mail?

Apr 23 2012 in Featured, reCareered Blog, Resumes by Phil Rosenberg

best career advice, best job search information, career advice, job search information, job search advice, job search help, job search tips, career information, career help, career tips, career info, job search info
You’re probably asking “How could my resume be as bad as junk mail?”

But chances are … your resume looks just like junk mail to your recipients … and therefore gets treated like junk mail.

No one thinks their own resume is junk mail, because people throw out junk mail. You’re thinking “How could my resume be viewed as junk mail … it’s about me!”.

Which do you think is read more often, junk mail or timely communication that helps your reader? The answer is obvious, isn’t it?

The good news is, your resume doesn’t have to be junk mail. You can increase the effectiveness of your resume, to have it treated like a valuable timely communication that your reader wants to see.

How To Tell If Your Resume Is Junk Mail:

To determine if your resume is junk mail, evaluate the response rate your resume generates. Your resume response rate is one of the best ways to measure the effectiveness of your job search campaign.

Resume Response Rate is a great measurement, because it takes out all the fluff that most job seekers count in measuring job search effectiveness. This overstates your figures, lulling you into a false sense of security that your job search is working … when it really isn’t working well at all.

  1. Face to face job interviews with a hiring manager: To calculate your resume response rate, start with the number of face-to-face job interviews with a hiring manager, that your job search campaign has generated. Make sure only to include face-to-face interviews with a hiring manager who is empowered to hire for a job you’re seeking.
  2. Subtract exclusions: Next, let’s exclude preliminary steps, often included in your interview totals.
    • Phone interviews
    • HR interviews
    • Recruiter interviews
    • Informational interviews – even if with the hiring manager
    • Exclude these types of interviews:

      While these steps are valuable, they are still preliminary. They aren’t enough, on their own, to get you a job – you still have to have a face-to-face interview with a hiring manager that’s empowered to hire, before you’ll be considered as a potential new hire.

      Phone interviews are wonderful to have, but they are still a preliminary step, designed as an additional screening process, to weed out additional candidates based on fit, resume truthfulness, salary requirements, among other factors.

      HR interviews are also valuable, but still preliminary, and are used as another pre-screening method to eliminate candidates before they get to the hiring manager. HR Interviews are sometimes used instead of, other times in addition to, phone screens but serve much of the same purpose.

      Recruiter interviews don’t even guarantee your resume will get to the hiring manager, especially when it’s an outside recruiter. Outside recruiters are in competition with inside recruiters/HR reps as well as other outside recruiters, for a limited number of interview slots.

      Informational interviews, even with the hiring manager isn’t enough on its own to get you hired, if the hiring manager is not yet empowered to hire staff for the job you seek. When the hiring manager is empowered to add headcount, that informational interview might get the hiring manager to think of you early in the process, to come in for a “real” interview.

  3. Calculate net interviews: Take Face-to-face job interviews with a hiring manager, subtract exclusions (from step 2 above) to calculate net interviews.
  4. Divide by total resumes sent: Include all resumes you’ve sent here, including when you sent an email blast to your database, if you emailed your resume to any lists. Also, if you used a mailing or emailing service to send your resume to employers and of course, to all the jobs you’ve applied for – include them all.
  5. Result: Your resume response rate.

Resume Response Rate formula:

Total face-to-face interviews with a hiring manager


  • Phone interviews
  • HR interviews
  • Recruiter interviews
  • Informational interviews


Net Interviews

Divide Net Interviews by:

Total resumes sent


Resume Response Rate

Evaluating Resume Response Rate:

You can gauge your own job search campaign against the averages I see from a large number of job seekers.

I’ve polled tens of thousands of job seekers over the past year in my Resume Revolution! webinars. In my twice weekly complimentary webinars, I poll participants to understand their resume response rates – to give them an idea of how effective their job search campaign is.

It doesn’t seem to matter where in a your job search you are – just starting, 6 months, a year or more. The results all fall within the same range.

This tells me that job seekers continue to make the same mistakes in their job search, probably because they haven’t been taught a better way.

My polls show that the average job seeker generates a resume response rate of:

1.5% – 2%

Are you relieved when you compare your resume response rate – that you just calculated above – to the averages of 1/5%-2%? It’s human nature to be relieved if you meet the average … but it’s shocking when you learn how job seeker resume response rate averages actually correlate.

Because Junk Mail Generates A 2% Response Rate

So if your resume response rate is 2% … you’re only doing as well as junk mail. I don’t know about you, but I throw out junk mail.

Most weeks, at least 50% of my attendees have a resume response rate at 1% or less … only half as effective as junk mail.


You might think “Who would accept such a low response rate?” Unfortunately, the answer is just about everyone, because many job seekers haven’t seen just how bad your job search campaigns are performing. Even when you do, most job seekers don’t know what else to do – because you haven’t been taught an alternative strategy that works more effectively today.

All Is Not Lost – There are answers

The good news is that there are answers to your response rate problems. You can make changes to your job search strategy to improve your resume response rate.

Many of your problems stem from the fact that employers have massively changed hiring processes and even what they look for – Due to post – recessionary job market changes, technology and federal hiring regulations.

But most of you haven’t learned how to change your job search in response to these massive changes.

You’ll find some answers contained right within this site, in the almost 800 articles I’ve published on alternative job search strategies.

You can find additional help in one of my complimentary intro webinars, where I show you how to double your resume response rate.

What will you do – will you make changes to your job search to change your resume response rate? Or will you be satisfied with a job search that performs at or below junk mail effectiveness.

It’s your choice.

Please comment:- What’s your resume response rate? Please add yours to the comments below.


Want to do more than just complain about a bad economy?

To attend our next complimentary live webinar featuring action items to double your resume response rate and number of interviews, plus live career Q&A with Phil Rosenberg of reCareered, register at .

Available Now On Amazon: Job Search Secrets - Rethink Your Job Search Now, By Phil Rosenberg

Phil shows you why your current job search strategies work against you and how to replace them with strategies that improve your odds. Phil provides you with research - cold, hard statistics provided by job boards and hiring managers themselves, to show you what works for you and against you in the worst job market in our lifetimes.

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Author: Phil Rosenberg

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