What’s Smarter? Applying for a Job Online or In Person?

Your resume is polished, customized, and ready to hand over to a potential employer. And since we live in a digital age, any self-respecting employer will be happy to receive your application via the latest resume submission app…even if you live less than five minutes away and could easily walk in the door and hand over a hard copy. In fact, most employers will be reassured by this, and will actually have concerns about your lack of “tech-savvy” if you hand them a sheet of old fashioned paper… Right?

Not exactly. It’s reassuring when a given candidate clearly knows how to draft a resume as a Word file, attach it to an email, and click send. But as it happens, this gesture no longer signals impressive computer skills. And sending your resume via the latest app won’t help you unless your recipients are also using the same app or have specifically requested that you apply this way. Here are a few more reasons why you may want to consider printing out your resume and applying in person.

1. Winning profiles have pictures for a reason.

Dating profiles with no picture attached don’t usually get very many responses. And Linkedin profiles with no picture can represent a missed opportunity for job seekers. But since formal resumes should never include pictures and photographs, you can gain more traction among employers if you back your resume up by pairing it with your face…as in, your actual face. A picture can be worth a thousand words, but your smiling, moving human visage can be worth more than a thousand pictures.

2. Delivering your resume in person shows that you really want the job.

If you want this job enough to get into your car (or onto your bike) and shoot across town to deliver your application in person, that’s a strong sign of interest, and it suggests that you’ve done some research and you plan to say yes to the position if it’s offered.

3. A personal drop-off shows fearlessness and commitment.

You can spend the next hour carpet bombing every employer in a 50 mile radius, applying for 50 open positions with the same exact resume file, sitting in your chair and giving your mouse-clicking finger a workout. That’s fine, and each of those 50 doors may open a tiny crack.

There’s nothing wrong with dropping off a hard copy in person and also submitting via email or online web form at the same time. You’ll eventually need to submit your digital document anyway but handing over your resume in person can give you an added edge and will let your employers see your face, shake your hand, and confirm that you’re a real person who isn’t afraid to put yourself out there.

But today, why not put your entire energy into throwing one door wide open? Why not go all the way into that office (or restaurant or warehouse), smile at the receptionist, and give yourself the best possible chance? A candidate who’s willing to show up in person—no matter what else she may lack—is energetic, dynamic, and rare.

4. Choosing one option won’t rule out the other.

There’s nothing wrong with dropping off a hard copy in person and also submitting via email or online web form at the same time. You’ll eventually need to submit your digital document anyway but handing over your resume in person can give you an added edge and will let your employers see your face, shake your hand, and confirm that you’re a real person who isn’t afraid to put yourself out there.