Having a great resume is one thing, figuring out where and when to send it is something else entirely.
Recruiters, career coaches and Web gurus say that less is more when it comes to resume proliferation, despite a host of services that will shotgun your CV across cyberspace. Finance candidates, in particular, should show restraint, as so much of the industry's work revolves around personal networks.
Not only does the scattershot approach generally yield dismal results, but the more resumes that a person has circulated, the harder it is to update them or to keep different versions from popping up in the wrong places.
Al Delattre, head of the tech practice at the massive recruiter Korn/Ferry International, said that flags go up when he sees that a candidate has spread a CV far and wide.
"There's the old saying that the best talent is always in demand," Delattre said. "And there's a fine line between self-promotion and proactive outreach and spam."
In many ways, the recruiting game has become an arms race of sorts. Recruiters, job boards and Web sites like ResumeBomber.com have built technological systems to store and ship unprecedented numbers of CVs. Monster.com, for instance, takes in about 25,000 resumes a day, according to spokesman Matthew Henson. Meanwhile, companies have developed equally sophisticated programs to sort, select and scrap all of those resumes.
Job candidates, meanwhile, are often caught in the middle, trying to get noticed. Here's some advice from job pros on how to do just that:
Tory Johnson, CEO of Women For Hire, an online recruiting site, said too many people are using the "spray and pray method." "They're literally spraying their resume out there -- applying and submitting to anything and everything," she explained. "Then they sit back and pray that the phone rings. It doesn't -- and it won't."
Keep It General
Consider an unsolicited online resume a way to "pique interest," not necessarily a way to lock up your dream job, said Sean Ebner, regional vice president for Technisource, an IT recruiter owned by staffing giant SFN Group. "I tend to advise less is more," Ebner said.
That's the advice of Joanne Vincett, assistant director of career development at Dartmouth University's Tuck School of Business. "You have so many different sites now, and it's easy to forget where you've posted," she said. "You have to get your stories straight."
Michael Fertik, CEO of ReputationDefender Inc., said the best way to scrub old information from the Web is to replace it with new, more current content. "Claim your Web real-estate," Fertik said, with thorough and timely profiles on Google, LinkedIn and a personal blog.
Look before you leap when it comes to search firm databases. That's the advice of Bruce Lloyd, director of employer relations at Columbia Business School. "You don't know who's had access to them, you don't know who's copied them or who they may have passed it around to," Lloyd said. "The last thing you want is your resume ending up on your boss's desk for another position in the organization."
Save most of your resume traffic for specific jobs. Rick Saia, a writer for Pongo Resume, which stores and distributes CVs, advises candidates to doctor their documents to include keywords found in the targeted job listing. That's one of the only ways to beat the HR robots.
Forget the Resume
Get networking, advised Johnson, of Women for Hire. The old adage about "who you know" is still very much alive in the finance industry. "People hire people," she said. "So if you're spending the bulk of your time chasing positions with your resume, the results won't be as promising as they could be if you invested in building and nurturing relationships."
And be on the lookout for news of departures, Tory suggested. The revolving doors on Wall Street spin at a blistering pace and that is often the first sign of an opening.
Write to Kyle Stock