1. Never send your résumé and cover letter to the HR department.
In this economy, human resources departments are already inundated with more résumés than they can handle. Even if you are qualified, you can still get passed over. Instead, try sending your résumé and a personalized cover letter directly to the CEO. The CEO is the most important person in the company and an important person to have on your side. If you impress the CEO, he or she will forward your résumé to HR, helping you stand out and change how the HR department will view you during the interview.
However, if you can’t reach the CEO (or if he or she is in a different state), you’re best bet is to contact the top manager of the company at whatever location you are applying to. The most important thing is to make a direct connection with upper management as they are the ones who offer the best chance of offering you a job.
2. Stop sending Word résumés as a file attachment.
Sometimes they get caught in email spam filters. You’re better off pasting your résumé in the base of the email so it can be read from a smartphone.
3. Cover letters should be brief (two short paragraphs at most) and personalized.