Many job seekers make distribution errors that ensure their resume never sees the light of day. The most common such errors you should avoid are these:
  1. Send to the wrong person or department.

  2. Address to an anonymous and suggestive "To Whom It May Concern," "Dear Sir," "Dear Madam," or "Dear Future Employer."

  3. Address the employer by his or her first name: "Dear Tom" in a letter and "Hi Tom" in an email.

  4. Arrive without a cover letter or with just a business card attached or with a presumptuous note scribbled at the top of the resume ("Hi, here's my resume. Hope to meet with you soon!" Mary).

  5. Include a poorly written cover letter filled with spelling and grammatical errors.

  6. Include an unnecessary and boring cover letter that merely repeats what's on the resume.

  7. Include a weird, cutesy, or other type of unconventional cover letter that brings into question the individual's motivations, abilities, professionalism, and mental state.

  8. Fold numerous times and insert in a very small envelope - will never lay flat or may be put at the bottom of the weighty pile to improve its flatness!

  9. Double-seal with tape to be certain it won't fall out of the envelope - a real struggle for the recipient to open who probably rightly will conclude this individual is most likely compulsive.

  10. Arrive in a big box in the hopes of really grabbing the employer's attention (but this sometimes works in the case of certain sales positions).

  11. Deliver by mail without the proper postage attached - makes a really negative impression when the recipient gets to pay "postage due."

  12. Include several unsolicited enclosures, such as transcripts, samples of work, and self-serving letters of recommendation, that distract from the central message of the cover letter and resume.

  13. Arrive after the application deadline or after the position has been filled.

  14. Include a hastily handwritten note on the back of the envelope.

  15. Re-send the same mailed, faxed, or emailed resume every few days to really get the person's attention - a real irritating pest!

SOURCE: Adapted from Ron and Caryl Krannich, The Savvy Resume Writer: The Behavioral Advantage (Manassas Park, VA: Impact Publications, 2000), pp. 117-119. All rights reserved.