A 10 Step Guide to Dropping Off a Resume in Person + Pro Resume Tips

You were told dropping off a resume in person is old-fashioned – and you should be sending your resume ONLY through their website.

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A 10 Step Guide to Dropping Off a Resume in Person + Pro Resume Tips

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But, did you know the majority of the resumes employers receive online are rejected before even reaching a human?

Handing in the resume increases your chances of getting noticed. If you do it right, You may be able to end their candidate search then and there.

That’s what we address in this article including:

  • The jobs you would have a better chance if hand in a resume
  • How to prepare your resume, cover letter, and yourself for dropping off
  • How to follow up on your application
drop off a resume

Explore the importance of handing in your resume in person and learn the right way to do it.

Meanwhile, if you’re in the stage of writing your resume, check out our ready-to-fill resume templates – you could tailor these to your profile and create job-winning resumes in 10 minutes.

The common practice 20 years ago was to print a handful of resumes and go to every company or business you’re interested in to hand them over. Things are different now – you can apply for 100 job vacancies in 20 minutes in the comfort of your home.

However, the old ways are not completely outdated. Indeed, the old ways can be more effective today than ever before. Consider, for example, we’re not excited about an email coming to our inbox like we were 10 years ago – but we would be excited for a hand-written postcard coming to our address.

Same way, dropping off your resume for the recruiter could be more effective than just sending them an email or applying online through their website.

Nevertheless, there’re limitations. Some employers strictly mention that they do not accept walk-in applicants – in which case, you shouldn’t be trying that.

In addition, dropping off the resume might not sound like a good idea for certain job positions. For instance, when applying some companies that use applicant tracking systems (ATS) for shortlisting might ask you to submit your resume in PDF or MSWord format to make sure it's readable for the system. In that case, your printed resume would be an invalid document for them.

Conversely, smaller firms would prefer handing in resumes compared to larger firms. Also, the outlets where “Now Hiring” signs or job boards are displayed would welcome you to drop off your resume in person.

Here are some jobs you may consider dropping off your resume in person:

  • Entry-level jobs
  • Restaurant and coffee shops
  • Retail jobs
  • Customer service
  • Sales associates
  • Delivery and driving jobs

However, consider these points before handing in your resume as a walk-in job seeker:

  • You might be labeled as a candidate who did not follow the instructions if they had asked you to email your resume.
  • They would view you as a distraction to their daily operations if you visit unannounced with your application.
  • Their hiring process could be system driven whereas the involvement of the HR Department would be the last step.

Still, dropping off a resume in person is a popular and effective application method for many jobs – especially, if you see an extremely interesting job opportunity at a closeby location and you want to grab it fast.

📌 Pro Tip: Always follow the instructions stated in the job advertisement

The safest way is to follow the instructions stated by the corporate recruiter. If they want your application to be emailed, you should be emailing it – if they want you to fill out an online application form, that’s what you should do first.

Subsequently, if the recruiter has not strictly mentioned that they do not accept walk-in job seekers, you may drop off your resume in person.

Why Dropping Off the Resume is Important?

Why drop off your resume when you can apply online in the comfort of your home sipping a glass of wine?

Here are a few reasons:

  • Employers can straightaway recruit the candidate eliminating the hassle of scheduling and conducting interviews.
  • You can apply for jobs that do not have active vacancies – this way you could literally apply for any company.
  • They might consider you for future job opportunities if the current position is filled.
  • Dropping off your resume is a great way to show your interest to the manager and display your personality before an interview.

A Step by Step Guide to Dropping Off Your Resume in Person

This 10-step guide gives you an overall understanding of the important aspects of your in-person application process – to DO’s and DO NOT’s – pro tips.

The in-person application process is more sensitive than the online application methods as it involves the applicant’s presence.

This will help you identify where you should be careful and where you could score more so that you can end the recruiter’s search on the spot.

1. Create a strong resume

We should spotlight the importance of a strong resume in walk-in application method compared to any online application process.

In this, you walk in to the employer’s office or the outlet and hand over a printed version of your resume. The application does not go through any software but the recruiter would check the resume manually.

It's imparative that your resume make a good first impression. Using a creative and modern yet relevant template is crucial here. If you’re in the process of writing your resume, check out our modern resume templates which are ready to be filled.

Writing a job-winning resume was never this easy!

Here’s an example resume for a retail assistant manager position:

Dan Brown
Assistant Manager

Professional summary
A dedicated assistant manager with over 4 years of experience in retail sales seeks to join KMart to be part of an exciting retail team. In my previous position at Walmart, achieved 12% year-on-year revenue growth for the last three years.

Aug 2017 to Present
Assistant Restaurant Manager
  • Marked a 16% revenue growth in 2021 Q4
  • Increased the loyalty card promotion income by 23%
  • Awarded the best performing outlet in 2020 at Walmart Annual Awards Ceremony
  • Managed a team of 12 to smoothly run one of the busiest retail stores in the area

June 2016 to Aug 2017
Assistant Store Manager
Cheap Buy Retail
  • Carried out inventory management of 4 retail stores
  • Involved in purchasing, hiring, and firing of suppliers
  • Responded to over 15 customer inquiries daily
  • Store first time achieved $100k mark monthly sale in 2017

Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, 2012-2016
Columbia University, NY

  • Budgeting
  • Management accounting
  • Financial accounting and double entry
  • MS Excel
  • Negotiation skills
  • Strong leadership
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Skill Certifications
  • Microsoft Office Specialist Certification (MOS)
  • Certified Professional Sales Leader by NASP

Also, refer to the following resume examples for further inspiration:

drop off a resume

2. Write a job-winning cover letter

You already know your cover letter is the sales pitch to the hiring manager. Your decision to go through that extra hustle of dropping off the resume means that you’re interested in the job and the company, but that only is not enough.

You should write a compelling cover letter explaining your interest in the job and how your expertise could help them achieve their goals.

Most cover letters sent online are not read by the hiring managers – of course, they don’t have time for all that. Nevertheless, when you drop off your cover letter – a physical version of it – there’s more likelihood that they would go through it.

You may have a couple of versions of your resume for different jobs – but in case of the cover letter, you should write separate ones tailored to each job you apply for. It looks like a lot of work, but when you develop the structure of the first cover letter, it's all about little changes.

If writing cover letters is not your strong area, we have plenty of examples and cover letter templates you can tailor to your requirement.

Here’s an example cover letter for a hostess job in a restaurant:

Jack Vance





20 May 2022


Duke Pizzeria


Dear sir,

Having worked in a McDonald’s as a hostess for the last 6 months, I was so excited to find out about the job opening at your restaurant. As a graduate in restaurant management and reading for my master’s in business management, I find your restaurant an ideal place for me to advance my career in the next 3 to 5 years.

In my previous job as a part-time hostess at McDonald’s, I handled the customers working in both the day and night shifts achieving a customer satisfaction rating of 4.5/5.0. I believe my passion for the food industry and my natural people skill help me work well with customers.

I am fully confident that I would be a great addition to your team. It will be my pleasure to discuss with you my role and the specifics of the job in detail in an interview. I can start straight away.

Yours truly

Jack Vance

Refer to the following cover letter examples for further inspiration:

drop off a resume

3. Plan how to present your documents

First thing first, you should download your resume and cover letter – download them in PDF format so that it will retain the formatting of the documents in the printing.

If you used our resume builder to create your resume and the cover letter, you’ll have perfect formatting of fonts, margins, and colors with beautiful templates.

Color print your resume and the cover letter. It gives a rich look to your application if you’ve used a matching color combination. Don’t make it look like another boring monthly report for the employer.

Staple your resume and the cover letter and fold it nicely to fit in an envelope. Write your name and the position you apply for on the outside.

4. Find the right time to visit the employer

The time you should visit the employer depends on the business they are in. For instance, if you’re applying for a coffee shop, avoid early mornings and if you’re applying for a retail outlet, avoid the evening rush hours.

You may call the reception and ask them about a good time to visit. Choosing the right time would allow you to have a quick word with the hiring manager which would improve your chances of getting shortlisted for an interview.

In addition, picking the right time shows the employer your understanding of their industry, critical thinking skill, and business intelligence – it’s also a great way to show that you value their time.

5. Select the most suitable attire

When you are sending an application online it generally consists of two things: your resume and the cover letter. When you’re dropping off your resume in person, there’s an additional component to consider: yourself.

When you’re dropping off your application, it's your resume, cover letter, and yourself!

Make sure you’re clean, well-groomed, and dressed professionally. There’s no hard and fast rule as to what you should wear when dropping off your resume. It often depends on the culture at your workplace.

Research about the workplace to find out how the employees dress. You should try to dress similar or better than that. The safest options would be solid-color T-shirts or button-down shirts together with dark color jeans. Always wear appropriate shoes.

A business casual attire would be suitable for most companies. Check out this article by Indeed.com for more information about different dress codes.

Remember, It’s always safe to be overdressed than underdressed.

6. Plan what you’re going to say

Walking into your future employer without having anything in your mind to talk about would be the worst strategy.

First, introduce yourself. Not only to the manager but to any employee you meet. The first conversation you make with any employee would be important – especially when you don’t know who makes decisions.

Be kind and gracious to every one of them – extend your hand and introduce yourself.


  • Hi there, my name is Kim, I see you’re hiring sales executives which I am interested in applying for. Would this be a good time to drop off my resume to the manager?
  • Hi, I am Richard, I came to drop off my resume to your manager. Is he available at the outlet right now?

Be ready to talk to the manager – explain the purpose of your visit clearly in a couple of sentences.


If you are unsure whether they have vacancies: Hi, I am Dan, I’ve been around here for a while and love your restaurant. I am an experienced chef and curious whether you have any openings right now. I have my resume and the cover letter with me.

If you already applied online: Hi, my name is Jen. I applied online for a hostess job at your restaurant a few days ago. As I live close by, just wanted to hand over my resume to you in person.

If there’s a “Hiring Now” sign on the front: Hi Ben, My name is Joana. I see you’re actively hiring bartenders for your cafe. I am an experienced bartender and I live close by. Here’s my resume and the cover letter and I would love to have an interview with you whenever you’re free.

Use these as guidelines to prepare – do not memorize the whole sentences.

7. Be prepared for an interview

If you picked the right time to visit the company, you might catch the manager in his free time and guess what, he might even ask you a couple of questions and decide to interview you there itself.

The result?

They might end their candidate hunting and you might end your job hunting. Win-win!

Recruitment is a hassle for most small businesses and even for larger firms. If they find the right candidate to walk in knocking on their door, why not give him a chance.

If the manager says, “let me ask you a couple of questions in my office” – you can’t say “I’m not ready, can we postpone it to tomorrow?”.

Therefore, if you ever decide to drop off your resume, be ready for an interview.

To prepare for the interview:

  • Have a good look at the job description and your resume.
  • Research about the company, their culture, pay, and, competition.
  • Be ready to state the verbal version of your professional summary.
  • Explain your experience and skills.

8. Show your personality throughout

From the time you enter the outlet until the time you leave, show your interest – keep a smile on your face – and maintain consistent enthusiasm in your talk.

Respect every employee you meet, not only the managers. Give priority to the customers if you had to wait in a queue.

9. Ask for a business card

If you talked to the manager or dropped off your resume at the reception, ask for a business card of the manager or the recruiter.

Try to get at least an email address and a phone number to follow up on your application.

10. Keep your visit short

Show the staff and the manager that you value their time. If you weren't asked, don't stay longer than 15 minutes.

However, if you visit a restaurant or a coffee shop, you may consider buying something – that would buy you more time and you instantly become a customer making it difficult for them to reject your request to meet the manager.

What to Do if the Recruiter Strictly Says “NO” for In-Person Applications

You should respect the instructions of the recruiter – maybe they have their reasons to say “NO” to drop off applications.

In fact, most businesses do not like interruptions to their business operations due to hiring. That's why they tend to go fully online for recruiting.

However, there’re a few ways you can still make a good impression and a personal connection with the hiring manager👇

Include a cover letter or a message to the recruiter

If the online application allows you to upload an additional document after the resume, include a solid cover letter – explain your interest to join the team and what you can bring to the table.

Explore your personal connections

Check whether anyone you know works in the company or any of its branches. Talk to them and send your resume – ask for a recommendation. Tell them that you’ve already applied online.

Connect with the hiring manager

Use social media – especially LinkedIn to connect with the hiring manager or employees of the company. You may even ask for a recommendation from an existing connection.

Make sure you update your LinkedIn profile with a compelling headshot, cover photo, and profile description. Turn on “Open to Work” on LinkedIn for more visibility.

drop off a resume

How to Follow Up After Dropping Off Your Resume?

Dropping off your resume does not end your job search: it just gets started. You have shown the hiring manager your utmost interest in the job by handing in the resume in person. However, people in HR department are always busy with applcations – they would be recruiting people for different positions and some managers handle operations as well – that’s where following up on your application would help.

When should you follow up?

If you hand in the application to the reception, you should follow up the next day. Call the reception or the manager and inquire about your application – make sure it reaches the manager.

If you hand in your resume to the manager, make a follow-up call after 2 or 3 days.

How frequently should you follow up?

Make a follow-up call once every 2 days for entry-level positions as most entry-level positions do not last long. Call once a week to the recruiter for a managerial level position.

However, do not overdo this. You should decide the right frequency of following up based on the hiring manager’s response to your calls.


What documents should I submit with job applications?

Generally, you should include a complete resume and a cover letter emphasizing your interest and expertise tailored to the job. Some companies ask you to fill out a standard job application when you are dropping off your resume.

Should I apply online or hand in my resume in person?

Read the job posting carefully and follow the instructions they have mentioned. If the employer specifies an online job application method to apply, you should do so.

If the employer discourages walk-in applicants, be respectful of their decision and do not attempt to drop off your resume.

Nevertheless, dropping off a resume is not a bad idea. Some employers would give priority to walk-in applicants – interview them on the spot – and offer the job.

Should I hand in my resume to the receptionist?

You should try to hand in your resume to the hiring manager. However, most hiring managers are busy with applications – some hiring managers are carrying out operational tasks as well. Therefore, it is normal that the receptionist takes your application and later hands it to the manager. If you do so, make a follow-up call the next day to see whether the manager received the application.

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