To the Career Center at your campus. Ideally, you should do this as early as possible in your final year. In fact, the beginning of the first semester of your final year is best. Why? Three reasons. First, many Career Centers will put together a paper or electronic resume collection which may be sent to prospective employers. Second, they may send out your resume (either hardcopy or electronic) to employers requesting resumes for prospective graduates in a particular major or career focus. And third, your Career Center may not allow you to sign up for on-campus interviewing until this step is complete.
The next step is to passively post your resume to be found. But not just to any generic resume database. Post your resume to CollegeGrad.com where it will be searched by employers specifically seeking to hire entry level college grads. CollegeGrad.com is dedicated to entry level job search.
Yep. For job fairs, where you still need to have a paper resume as your leave behind. And yes, employers will typically print out your resume for the interviewer to use in the interview. Although it may not look like that wonderfully formatted resume you know and leave. Why? Keep reading…
When you send your resume to a prospective employer, you can do so in one of two ways: for a specific job opportunity or generically posted to the employer. Note that many employers will restrict you to using only the former option. The format you use to submit will also vary based on the employer's application tracking system (ATS). Some will allow you to use PDF format, while some will allow only text (since text is easily searchable for internal resume databases) and some will allow both. If you are allowed to do both, do so. The text resume will be more easily searchable in the resume database, while the PDF resume will be best for printing internally.
Note that even if an employer allows PDF or Word uploads, the formatting is typically stripped out for placement of your resume data into the ATS. And when your resume gets spit back out in the form of the resume for the interviewer, it may look nothing like what you thought you sent.
During my time at Amazon I saw many candidates looking across the desk in horror at the poorly formatted resume when they realized it was, in fact, their own resume. This is also a great reason to bring your own printed copies to each interview to swap out if the employer has a post-ATS version.
Why? Because it always looks more professional to have printed resumes without creases. How to keep them unfolded? By mailing in a 9" x 12" envelope? Even better—keep them unfolded by not mailing them at all. The best use of a resume is when it is passed hand to hand. Resumes have a place in the process, but it is not in the form of the "cross my fingers and sending it out and hope I get a response" method that many people use. Sending out a resume (paper or digital) gives a false sense of accomplishment, that you are actually doing something. In reality, very few people are hired through this passive approach. You are much more productive making direct contact (by phone or in person) with the employer.
However, if you must mail out your resume as a physical piece of paper, using a 9" x 12" envelope is a sure eye-catcher. For even greater impact, consider the Priority Mail envelope from the post office. You get a free cardboard envelope (with its bold red, white, and blue colors), which will arrive in two or three days and will scream out its importance when delivered.
And keep in mind that the best "unfolded" format is not paper at all. It's digital. Paper cannot be searched, while your resume data can be searched. If a resume is needed, digital is best. So yes, use the paper resume if/when necessary, but try to avoid paper when possible.
Then always make sure you follow up initial contact by phone. You will greatly increase your odds by this simple act. Woefully, more than 95 percent of sent resumes are from the "cross-my-fingers-and-hope-something-happens" crowd. Be sure to take this simple step toward making your resume stand out from the crowd.