How $2.00 Can Save Your Job-Search

The call that you’ve been hoping for comes in – the opportunity a lifetime. A perfect fit, a big-time raise, the company is in your neighborhood, and the recruiter who is on the line is a personal friend of the hiring manager.

After passing through the recruiting firm’s screening process with ease the next step is moving forward and having the recruiter send in your information to his client. He tells you that he would be shocked if you don’t get at least an initial interview.


Up until this point in your search for a new opportunity you have kept no records and have no idea where your résumé has gone, who has seen it, and what has been done with it (get ready for the ‘something bad is going to happen’ music).

The next day the recruiter calls back and drops a bomb on you – about two months ago another recruiting firm submitted you there for a different position and their policy is that if two recruiters submit you within a six month time frame you are out – no exceptions.

Tough luck, don’t pass go, don’t collect $200.

One of the most important investments you can make in your job-search is a notebook where you document everything you do. The better organized and documented your search the likelier you are to be succesful.

  • Track your résumé / application submissions. Outside of the example above there are numerous reasons that you should track where you send your information –
    • So that you don’t appear desperate by sending your résumé to the same company over and over(read our previous post on this topic here)
    • So that don’t get blacklisted. I have heard of at least two companies that have started policies that state that if they receive your résumé more than X number of times in X number of months you are not to be considered for X amount of time.
  • Track who you are networking with and what the outcome was. I receive a fair number of calls from people wanting referrals for their search and there is nothing more frustrating than giving them a name and number and then having them call back two days later and say they did not write it down.
  • Track relevant information that you receive.  All information that you receive that can further your search (websites, information collected, tips and tricks, etc) should be documented so that you can refer to it later.
  • Keep an ongoing list of your top potential employers. As a job-seekers you should always have an ongoing list of companies that you would like to work for that would be dumb not to hire you. This list gives you a goal to work towards, gives you a target for networking, and gives you an idea of how to spend your time.
  • Document all of your interview prep and post-interview notes. Having this in one place can not only help you in following up and keeping track of your progress for that opportunity, it can help you in getting ready for future interviews.
  • Keep up with your job-search to-do list and top priorities. As with every other project you take on, your search will have things that need to get done ASAP and will have other things that need to get done in a timely manner. If you are not documenting these things and checking them off they will probably not get done.

If you are not tracking and keeping up with your search it can have dire consequences (getting discounted as a candidate, making you look back, etc) but it can be devastating for your next search (having to start all over again). The $2.00 you spend (or don’t spend) on a notebook can be the difference between success and failure.

Until next time, good hunting and good luck!


29 responses to “How $2.00 Can Save Your Job-Search

  1. Great article, Matt!

  2. Companies that won’t consider you because two different recruiters send your resume or because you have sent yours in more than a time are two are probably crap anyway. That’s an absurd practice and wreaks of elitists who *think* they are a company actually worth working for!

    Good riddance to them, I say!

    Matt (who will probably find a company like that and send in my resume each business day for a month!)

    • Hey Matt –

      I would guestimate that about 90% of the companies out there have some sort of policy in place.


      • Sad, really. I have worked at quite a few and none have ever had this poicly that I know of. Of course I’ll bet 90% of the companies out there are just like the rest and think they’re the “stuff” and everyone should be working for them.

        Oh well! Now where’s my stamps….

  3. Nice Article. I have never heard of such a policy, but I am not surprised. I think your suggestions are right on the mark.

  4. Great advice Matt! Here’s a website that helps manage the job search:

  5. Good information to know

  6. Who had the brains to exclude people from job-searching who happen to fit into multiple categories. Why is it the job-searchers fault? How exactly are you supposed to counteract this – we are already told to make your resume fit the job you are applying for, but now apparently that doesn’t matter as much as how many times you apply for any multiple positions in a company. Are you supposed to be a mind reader and know that job B is going to open up in 2 months for a company that you just applied to for job A???

    • and here is another point, many time recruiters don’t tell you who they are sending your resume to even if you have talked about the position. you basically get the job description overview and wait to hear back if they want to talk with you. hard to keep track when recruiters keep you in the dark.

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  8. VERY smart title. Pulled me from linked in when not much does. GREAT JOB! I could probably use your advice on my stuff haha.

  9. Matt, everything you say here is true even if the recruiting company illustration wouldn’t be true. I think that companies who exclude people because of trivial reasons can miss great candidates. I do agree that all job seekers should be tracking their search. Using is an easy fix for a complicated process.

    Unless you opt for premium, JibberJobber is a free resource created by Jason Alba. Jason knows the frustration of a job search, he began JJ when he was out of a job too in January of 2006. However, Jason (my favorite example for making lemons out of lemonade) took what he learned from his frustration and became author, speaker, and partner to career professionals worldwide.

    • Julie –

      Thanks for reading!! I have had good candidates eliminated from the process because of a double submission (I have lived it). The candidate was not a bad person, they just did not keep good records of where their résumé had been submitted.

      Companies (in most cases) do not want recruiting firms haggling over who gets paid.


  10. Wow Matt,

    Your timely information is a perfect segway for letting all know about CareerShift, which is a place where jobseekers can search, store and organize the elements of the job search in one place. Many schools and universities are now offering this resource to help their students do these very things!

  11. Matt –

    I wholeheartedly agree with Sam on the title! I was intrigued by how I might be able to pass on this cheap trick for helping my unemployed friends in their job search – and don’t worry, I’ll be reposting on facebook for them.

    Also, your reply to Julie is absolutely correct. I’ve seen companies use this policy when they have more than one 3rd party recruiter submitting candidates to the same position or group of positions. They’ve seen the name before and regardless of whether or not the 2nd submission of the resume was revised or whatever, they still won’t accept it because it would be breach of contract with one or more of the other recruiters.

    Complicated, but the lesson to take away is KNOW YOUR ROLE as a job-seeker and make sure you are utilizing all methods of keeping yourself straight and organized. Perhaps the timing was all wrong anyway and something better is waiting around the corner!

    Thanks again Matt. Your willingness to share is always appreciated!


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  13. Matt,
    This is so true and companies do it so the first recruiter does not sue them. Been there. If you are not tracking where you resume goes then it is your fault. Your resume should be treated like your social security number for example. Be careful, who you give it to and know where it goes.

    Your title was very creative and hopefully people will read that are not aware of these rules and job hunting responsibilities.

  14. Have been looking for several months and have every contact and/or resume sent documented(date, time, person or company, etc).
    Have used this information to go back to recruiters who were hot and heavy for a day or two and then no more contact.

  15. I agree with the Matt..the first person who commented. Any company with a policy like that isn’t worth a crap.
    I have applied to Gaylord over 35 times over the course of 3-4 years; been interviewed(can’t remember, about 2-3 times), and would have been a candidate, but didn’t fit their too flexible schedule.
    I agree with keeping some sort of record, but I would apply over again for the same company. I have done that with other companies too.

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  17. Got ‘pulled’ here thru twitter post of LinkedIn –

    So tracking where your resume is going means NOT posting your resume on or etc?

    I have rcvd calls from headhunters from reading my resume on Monster, so what do you do instead?

    • I would definitly KEEP your resume posted on those sites but would have an understanding with any recruiter that you speak to that you are NOT to be submitted anywhere without your approval.

  18. And when you’re working with a recruiter, it’s important to know exactly where she’s sent your resume. It’s important to work as a team to avoid the kind of ‘deadly duplication’ you’re describing.

    Nice post!

  19. I’ve NEVER heard of a policy that would eliminate a viable candidate because of a duplicate submission by another recruiter. As a matter of fact, I’ve made a number of placements for competing recruiters by telling my applicant to follow up with the other recruiter. All of the studios I’ve ever dealt with have either required the signing of their own agreement [specifying liability for fees on submitted candidates for as little as 90 days] or our agreement which specifies one year. Every time I encounter a memory lapse on the part of my candidate’s having mailed a resume on his own that results in my client indicating “prior contact,”… depending on the degree of interest expressed by the client…I might enter into a very aggresive “But For Our, etc.” effort. If the client pursues the applicant simply because I brought him to their attention while having ignored him until that point and refuses to compensate me for my motivational efforts, two things immediately occur. They become an ex-client and I urgently focus on finding an alternative opportunity for my applicant. In all instances, I NEVER involve a candidate in a fee dispute unless it’s a “sleeper” placement and I need him to verify my involvement in having placed him.

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