Many job hunters find this to be a daunting task, and limit their numbers to 50 or 200, and then claim that this technique doesn’t work (they ignore the basic rule of direct mail, which is that effective direct mail requires big numbers – 1,000 CV’s/resumes is a good figure). John Lucht, the author of Rites of Passage at $100,000, also does outplacement for very senior executives. He reports that about half of his outplacees get their new jobs through networking, and the other half get their jobs through direct mail (this figure includes direct mail to retained search firms). Most other outplacement firms report lower success rates from direct mail (but since most outplacement firms discourage its use, their clients rarely do enough of it to be effective).
Don’t send your CV/resume to human resources. Instead, mail it to the person most likely to be your potential boss, or your potential boss’s boss. It is absolutely necessary to check this name by phone ahead of time – databases are typically incorrect 30% to 50% of the time, and if the name you send to is wrong, your success rate will fall by at least 80%. Remember that because direct mail requires large numbers, most potential targets will be out-of-town, which means you’ll probably have to be willing to relocate to have direct mail work for you. Also, direct mail is generally not effective if you intend to make a career change, and is difficult if you’re trying to shift to a completely different field (such as from capital equipment marketing to healthcare marketing).