Which way’s best to send my resume to a company? Job portal or direct email or where?

Is it better to just directly contact and send your CV/resume to listed e-mails I might find from the HR or hand it in through the advised route (such as company website or other intermediary)?

ASSUMPTION:

I’m going to make the assumption that this question only applies to big companies. Or companies looking to expand rapidly and have the cash to back that up. Why? Only companies with large cash flow and/or separate divisions can maintain

  1. A HR personnel for hiring
  2. A presence on job hunting websites (from updating to maintaining news and job postings there) and
  3. A website that has a direct job application portal or process, even if it’s just a simple form on their site

Most small-to-medium companies, agencies, startups would just post the job description with an email somewhere in there, asking applicants to directly contact them. Maybe you’ll have the off-chance of applying to a SME with a complicated process in place to handle hiring. But I’d bet that’s a pretty slim chance.

Justine’s Answer:

I’ve always done both.

I send it through a direct email first, and then through the advised intermediary route on the exact same day. Mainly to get it done because I have no patience and a poor memory. And because if I don’t do it then, I might chicken out. My immense fear of failure is unfortunately my constant companion.

If they also have the same job listing up on other websites that wasn’t advised to me, and I don’t have an account there, I wait a week before sending in.

If the job is up on a website that I have an account on already, I’ll wait around 3 business days after sending in via email and intermediary before sending in via that job hunting website.

Why? Spacing them out uses the time in between my applications to see if they’ll reply to my first attempts at reaching out. If I don’t hear from them after the set internal deadline, then I start using other means of contact.

I drop the application only after I did my best, and still didn’t hear from them at all. Onto the next role.

Related: As a Fresh Grad, Can My Resume be 2 Pages or More?


But what if you don’t want to send your job application across all mediums all in 1 day?

What if you worry about coming off over-eager or too desperate by sending in your job application through multiple mediums in the same day? (Which is highly unlikely if it’s a big company, since the person you are emailing and the person handling the intermediary email would probably be 2 separate people. But still, the irrational fear exists.)

Then the best place to first send your application is to an actual person. Especially if said person is a contact you have inside the company AND they are willing to vouch for your application.

Before relying solely on traditional methods, I always try to send in my app via personal e-mail if I have a contact at the company. Why? Sometimes resumes get lost in the pile, especially if it’s a super big company, so it’s always good to send it via e-mail to someone who can follow up on it just in case.

Someone cold-applying through the system has to go through all sorts of checks since no one is sure if you are who you say you are. But if someone with a (preferably good) reputation within the company vouches for you, then it makes things easier for everyone involved.

Like how, if you meet someone on Tinder and you have no mutual friends, there’s no one to ask if said person is a creep or a serial killer. Same thing goes with job hunting. Companies are afraid of false positives. Finding an applicant that looks great on paper and in interviews, but turns out they’re a huge slob who never does any work and just pushes their work onto others.

Related: What Should I Keep in Mind Before My Next Interview?


Story Time: I get calls from my previous professors once in a while, asking me to vouch / verify a batchmate applying for a job with them.

Most times, I never had experience working with said batchmate or I don’t feel like I know them enough to give an honest review. So I look for a mutual FB friend to ask firsthand experience on how batchmate is as a groupmate. Whatever that mutual friend’s experience was, I relay it back to the person who asked.

So make sure you leave good impressions on your groupmates. I have edited for politeness countless angry tirades about how Name never contributed, never replied to any messages, was generally a rude, unproductive groupmate and how MutualFriend would never want to speak to them in a professional setting ever again. Needless to say, my profs rarely end up hiring those batchmates too.

Be aware of what you’re projecting onto groupmates. You don’t know who could be damning your job hunt out there.


“But Justine, what if I do have a contact and they say “go through other mediums / can’t help you?” What do I do then?”

Then, you thank them and go through other mediums.

You have to understand, people are busy and are also looking out for themselves. Sometimes the process to recommend someone is too much of a hassle. Maybe they aren’t incentivized to bring in new talent. What if they help you get in and you become competition to them?

There could be a million and one reasons why someone won’t help you out, and you won’t know which one it is. So thank them for their time and be on your way. Don’t give it a second thought. (Unless they want to make it a big deal / discussion point, then start giving it second, third, fourth thoughts. But that’s your issue to deal with now, I’m bowing out of giving advice there.)

Related: What’s more impressive, internship experience or school achievements in a resume?


After emailing your contact, and you deciding that you don’t want to send in another app for same role on the same day, space out your next application for the same role by 2 business days.

That means don’t add Saturday and Sunday to your count, because most likely, nobody is checking their work email so your application isn’t on their radar.

To help you, here’s my ranking on which medium to use first:

Email contact in the company > Email HR contact from the job description > Apply via job boards / websites > Apply via company website

Company website is last because in a big company, no one is ever sure where or who those applications should be going to. Things like a shared email get lost easily, especially if no one was named as its primary caretaker. Trust me, I’ve seen responsible people push off unspecified work from their minds because working people have a lot on their plate.

And that’s it. Last piece of advice, don’t overthink these things. There’s a lot more you could be worrying about instead. But I get you, sometimes, you end hyper fixating on the smallest details when you’re in the middle of a long job hunt.

Best of luck to you~ If you feel up to it, email me to let me know how your job hunt goes~


In case you have no idea where you are, welcome to The Border Collective, where any question you’ve got on internships, resumes, or careers in the PH can and will be answered. I’m Justine, founder and writer of all things here.

Job Hunting is a sub-category of Resource where I share the life hacks and life facts I’ve learned over the course of my internships and job hunt. I hate that all the advice is either archaic, rude, or pretentious; job hunting’s hard enough as it is, older people don’t have to be rude about it. So that you guys don’t have to go through the terror of trial and erroring this stuff like I did, I made a whole category about it for you.

I know this is scary, so trust me when I say that I’ll do my best to help you as much as I can. I’m an overthinker and I never took the prescribed path, so no one could’ve guided me, or at least that’s what I tell myself when I remember the past times. But still. It would’ve been nice to ask someone for guidance or help.

Through my writings and my experiences, I hope to make a difference by helping you learn at least 1 thing that makes your life easier.

This is my way of giving back because I wish that when I was a freshman, a resource like TBC existed to help guide me not to waste  my time on things that don’t work.

Got Any Other Questions? bit.ly/TBCAnonymousQuestion / bit.ly/TBCaskfm

If there’s something you want to ask but never knew where to send them to, drop them in The Border Collective’s Google Form or ask.fm. Being a kid myself, I’ve probably gone through the same situations. And at the very least, I can tell you what NOT to do.

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Email your proposal and a summary of why that’s relevant for TBC’s audience. Don’t worry, we don’t charge money if you’re student-run, just social media x-deals, just like we did in our features for MSE Summit or the APEX Challenge.

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About Justine

And if you want to know more about me, or about TBC, read my bio! You can also reach me at justine@thebordercollective.com Or connect with me over Twitter, IG, and LinkedIn, @justineltchua there.

Hope you read something useful, til the next time I write something, bye~


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Most of my advice is very different from other career “experts”, since I actually tried and tested it myself. And because, you know, I’m a Chinese girl in the Philippines who tried out for almost every multinational here, while building contacts up in the startup world.

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