14 Tips for Dropping off a Resume in Person
Updated June 29, 2023
Dropping off a resume in person was once a standard practice for anyone seeking a job. Technological improvements shifted job applications online, removing much of the human-first interaction during the process. However, visiting an employer in person may still offer some benefits as you apply.
In this article, we discuss when and how to hand in a resume and tips for dropping off a resume in person.
When to drop off your resume in person
Dropping off your resume in person may help you set yourself apart from other candidates. Although many employers use online application systems and databases for hiring, dropping off your resume may help you make a good first impression on the hiring manager. They may even interview you during your visit.
Dropping off your resume may be better for certain scenarios or job types. For example, a smaller company may welcome you handing in your resume in person more than a large company might. Also, a business with a "Help Wanted" or "Now Hiring" sign may be more receptive to you bringing in your resume. Here are some examples of jobs that you may consider dropping off your resume in person for:
Tips for dropping off your resume in person
Dropping off your resume in person requires careful thought and planning. Here are some tips for dropping off your resume in person:
1. Review the job posting first
Carefully review the details of the job posting. Verify you have at least the minimum qualifications for the position, and decide if you want the job. Look for details about their preferred methods of communication for applicants to use.
2. Follow the employer's application instructions
Follow the instructions in the job posting to apply for the position. For example, the position may ask you to apply online through a special website, or it may ask you to email your resume and a personal statement to a specific person. It's important to check for any mention of in-person applications or resumes.
Some employers may request that you not drop off a resume in person, and it's imperative for you to respect their preferences. If the job listing does not explicitly state they don't accept in-person resumes, you may still drop one off. However, it may be a good idea for you to still apply online first before you drop off your resume. For example, if you apply for a position at the grocery store but still want to hand in your resume in person, you may say something like:
"Hello, my name is Jessica Smith. I submitted an application online yesterday for the produce manager position, and I wanted to come in today to express my interest in the position again. Can I leave my resume with you for the hiring manager to review?"
3. Dress appropriately for the job
Be sure to present a clean, well-groomed appearance. However, what to wear when dropping off a resume in person may vary based on the job you're applying for. It's important to reflect the culture of the company, but it's often better to overdress than underdress. For example:
You're applying for a position at a personal care store. You understand the employee dress code to be wearing jeans, a solid color t-shirt and a company-provided name tag. Consider choosing a pair of slacks or dark jeans without holes and a button-down shirt, or select a dress and cardigan.
4. Consider the best time to go
Choose a day of the week and time when you expect the business and hiring manager will have the most time to talk to you. For example, if you're applying to be a barista at a local coffee shop, you may choose to drop off your resume during the late afternoon or early evening rather than early in the morning. This shows critical thinking skills, good judgment and respect for their time.
5. Plan what you want to say
Prepare how you want to introduce yourself and what you would like to say. Think about the purpose of your visit, and determine the most effective and professional way to introduce yourself. It's important you're assertive but polite and understanding with what you say. Here are some examples of how you may introduce yourself:
You applied online already
"Hello! My name is Ben Brown, and I saw on your website that you're hiring sales associates. I completed the online application, but I wanted to bring in my resume and express my interest again. Is the hiring manager available?"
You see a "Now Hiring" sign in their window
"Hi! My name is Ingrid Johnson, and I noticed your sign advertising your employment. I have a resume with me. Can I leave it with you to pass along to the hiring manager?"
You're unsure if they're hiring
"Hello! My name is Jack Green, and I love your restaurant. I'm an experienced bartender, and I was curious if you're hiring for additional help? I have a resume with me I'd love to leave for your manager."
6. Present your resume well
Take extra care in the presentation of your resume. Print it on thick paper, and ensure it does not have any creases, folds or stray ink marks. Consider carrying your resume in a folder or binder with you on your visit.
To upload the template into Google Docs, go to File > Open > and select the correct downloaded file.
7. Ensure you have a strong resume
When you drop off your resume in person, you may have to leave it with a receptionist or associate, not the hiring manager. It's important your resume accurately reflects your skills. It should illustrate why you're an ideal candidate for the position and include your best contact information.
8. Consider including a cover letter
Attach a cover letter to your resume to better introduce yourself and outline your experiences. Your cover letter can be short, and it's another way for you to make a good first impression. This may be especially helpful if you cannot meet with the hiring manager and leave your resume with someone else for them.
Related: Cover Letter Samples and Templates
9. Treat everyone with respect
It's important for you to be polite towards everyone you encounter during your visit. Treat everyone you introduce yourself to with the same level of respect. Try to make eye contact, speak clearly and smile. When appropriate, offer your hand to shake.
10. Use titles
When you address the manager or ask to meet with them, use their title. You may use their first and last name when you ask to meet with them, but try to use their appropriate title. Only address them by their first name if they give you permission. For example, if you know the hiring manager's full name, you may ask to speak with them by saying:
"Hello! My name is Michael Glass, and I applied online for the stock associate position. I was hoping to speak with the hiring manager about my resume and interest. Is Jenna Thorn available to speak with me?"
11. Keep your visit short
Try to limit the length of your visit, and keep it short. Be intentional with the purpose of your visit, and accomplish what you need to professionally and quickly. This demonstrates you respect the manager or employee's time and do not want to disrupt their day. Thank them for their help.
However, the manager may express a desire in talking further with you. Follow their lead regarding how much time they want to spend with you. Ask them engaging questions that show your interest in the position. Be sure to thank them for the extra time they spent with you.
12. Be prepared for an interview
Dropping off a resume in person may lead to an interview on the spot. Prepare yourself ahead of time by researching the company and common interview questions and determining why you could be a good fit for the company. Think of questions ahead of time that you have for the manager about the position. You may also want to bring a list of references in case the manager requests them or a pen in case there is another paper application for you to complete.
13. Ask for a business card
Request the contact information for the hiring manager. This is especially important if you could not speak directly with the hiring manager. Consider also asking for the best time to reach them.
14. Follow up with the hiring manager
Call or email the hiring manager to follow up regarding your visit. This may help you stay top of mind for them. It also demonstrates your active interest in the position.
Consider waiting a few days before you contact the manager to allow them plenty of time to review your information. Respect any guidelines they or another employee gave you. This may include waiting 48 hours before you follow up or that Tuesdays, not Thursdays, are the best days to reach the manager.
However, there are a few exceptions to this waiting period. You may consider contacting the manager the same day if they asked you to send them more information, such as your references or examples of your previous work. You may also consider emailing them or mailing a handwritten card on the same day if you had an on-the-spot interview when dropping off your resume.
What to do if an employer requests no in-person applications
Some employers request that you not visit their location to leave your resume, and it's important for you to honor your request. You still have options to set yourself apart from other applicants and start a personal connection with the hiring manager. Here are some things to do if an employer requests you do not drop off your resume in person:
Include a cover letter
If the online application allows you to include additional documents, consider a cover letter. A good cover letter can help make a strong first impression, similar to how dropping off a resume in person might. It can outline your experience, qualifications and desire for the job while allowing your personality to shine. A cover letter may also help you stand out from other candidates if it was optional and you included one.
Message the hiring manager
Complete the application and consider sending the hiring manager a separate message. You may be able to contact them on a job-sharing website, or the job posting may include their email address. Your message can be short, and you can attach your resume and/or cover letter. An example of a possible message is:
"Dear Jamie Powell,
I'm reaching out to you today regarding the customer service representative position available with Star Technologies. I completed the online application process earlier today, but I wanted to reach out to you directly with my resume and cover letter. I'm extremely excited about this opportunity, and I believe my experience aligns with what the position requires.
I appreciate your time and consideration. I'm available at your convenience to discuss the position further, and I hope to hear more from you soon!
Use your network
Find out if you know anyone works where you applied, or leverage your network to see if you may have a connection through someone else. Ask them about their experience working there, and see if they will help you. They may be able to pass along your resume to the hiring manager or recommend you for the position.
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