In these days when job boards and company websites can suck resumes into a black hole never to be seen again, it’s often only those eager to try different tactics who will find success.
But it’s not easy. And it takes a lot of work. You have to be proactive, not passive. The ultimate goal is to approach the person who has the power to give you what you want – a job.
Forget the human resources departments. They’re just there to weed applicants out. Your goal is to get to the manager of the department in which you are interested in working.That person is usually also the hiring manger. In most cases in smaller companies – maybe those with 20 employees or less – the owner would be the hiring manager.
In order to get to the hiring manager, you must learn to think like a detective and gather clues to discover who in a certain company might be able to hire you. Taking some or all of the following steps can help get you on your way.
Make a list
The first thing to do is make a list of companies that have the type of work you’d like to do. Start with maybe 25 or so and expand from there. If you are familiar with Excel, create a spreadsheet or use any method you feel comfortable with – even pencil and paper will do. Include the company name, address, website URL and the main phone number. Leave space to fill in the name of the hiring manager of the department you would like to work in, as well as their direct phone number and email address.
Search the Internet
Do a search using the names of each company and the title of the hiring manager, for example XYZ Corp. + warehouse manager. This may bring up articles in which those people were mentioned or a list of company managers or executives. It could also lead you to the LinkedIn profile of the very person who has that position. Sometimes a search won’t reveal anything, so don’t be disappointed. This is just one of many tactics that you can use.
Check out company websites
It’s important to learn as much as possible about the companies you’d like to work for, and one of the best ways to do this is by exploring their websites. Many companies have newsrooms and media centers, which are actually designed to help journalists but can also be a wealth of information for anyone who’s savvy enough to check them out. You may find a list of company managers, or press releases that often quote various managers on topics that may be newsworthy or of interest to the general public.
Call and ask
Call the company’s main phone number and ask for the name of the manager of the department that you are interested in. Tell the receptionist that you want to contact that person and make sure you ask the proper spelling of their name and what their official title is.
Once you know that person’s name, you can search for them online and check out their LinkedIn profile, which can be a wealth of information about the manager’s career experience and even personal interests.
Mine social media for info
If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, open one right away and create a profile. Then invite as many people as you can to be in your network. LinkedIn is an invaluable treasure trove of information about people and the companies they work for.
In order to use LinkedIn to see if you have a connection to someone who might be employed at a company you’re interested in, go to LinkedIn.com and search for the name of the company. Click on that company, and the names of the people in your network who are working there will pop up. Contact those people, no matter what department they’re in, and ask them for information on what it’s like to be employed there and to introduce you to people in departments you might be interested in.
Besides LinkedIn, you may want to also check out Google+ and Twitter, which are also very good sources of information about what’s going on at companies and serve as additional ways to contact hiring managers who might be active on those platforms.
Trying some or all of these tactics will get you closer to the hiring managers who have the power to employ you. And if they don’t happen to have any openings, they may know friends or colleagues who do.
In a job search, as in many areas of life, it’s who you know – as well as what you know – that counts.