Do you have your heart set on working for a particular company but don’t know how to get your foot in the door? You’ve tried sending in your resume but no one’s calling. Now what?
There are actually numerous ways to target a company outside of just sending in your resume. Following are just some of the other options you can try that either I’ve had success with or have seen the tactic work for someone else. But there’s one thing you need to be sure of before you start your plan of attack and that is…
Does the company employ someone with your background?
Throughout my recruiting career I’ve been amazed at the number of resumes I would receive from individuals who applied to jobs but totally had the wrong industry experience. I hate to be the one to break the news to you but if you’ve spent your career in food service you have a slim chance of getting into the latest technology company.
So do yourself a favor and conduct a little research ahead of time to see if the company would hire someone with your background. You might save yourself a whole lot of time going down a rabbit hole trying to get the job only to be disappointed later when you’ve tried many of the suggestions below and you’re still getting the cold shoulder.
Once you’re sure that the company would LOVE someone like you, here are some suggestions of how to get your foot in the door:
Who’s in Your Network?
You may not have any connections inside the company but remember the idea of six degrees of separation? Meaning everyone is connected somehow by a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend. Social media has expanded your network exponentially. Start asking friends, co-workers, teachers, and others in your network if they know of someone working at the company that can make an introduction for you. Put it on your Facebook page and LinkedIn to see if anyone as any contacts inside the company. Guaranteed someone knows somebody who can hand deliver your resume inside the company. If you’re shy about asking someone to get your resume in the door, don’t be. Here’s a little known secret. People love to help others and they love to be able to say that I know of someone who could fill that job. The feeling of helping someone get a job is one of the reasons I’ve stayed in recruiting for so long.
Search People in LinkedIn
LinkedIn has made it so much easier to connect to people inside a company. Conduct a company search and start looking through the managers in the area you’re interested in working. You can also do a position title search. Let’s say you want to work in IT. You can search on ‘information technology manager’, ‘systems admin manager’, ‘software applications manager’, etc. You can also conduct an advanced search in LinkedIn and bring up a specific position at a specific company. Once you’ve identified the person there are three ways you can approach them.
Phone – Pick up the phone and call the main number at the company and ask to speak to the person. If you get the hiring manager, or their voicemail, be ready with a 60 second elevator pitch why you are the best qualified to join the company. You’ll want to practice your pitch ahead of time and have it written down. If there’s a job posted and you have the exact sills listed, be sure to let the hiring manager know.
Sometimes though you might get the person’s assistant instead. If you do, ask them if the person you want to speak with conducts informational interviews. Let them know that you are extremely interested in working for the company and would like to talk to the manager for about fifteen minutes regarding the company and how he/she might recommend the best way to get your foot in the door.
LinkedIn – There are a couple of ways you can connect with the person on LinkedIn.
First you can send them an ‘inmail’. You’ll need to upgrade your account to the ‘premium’ package to do this but really if you get the job, it’s worth it. You can always cancel the upgrade next month. An ‘inmail’ will allow you to write more text. If you don’t want to pay for the upgrade you can ‘connect’ with them. You can still include a note with this feature but you are significantly limited to the number of characters. Really the ‘inmail’ is the route to go.
Send an Email – Once you find a person’s name, how do you find their email address? With the power of search features these days you can find most anyone’s email. Here’s how you do it:
Step 1 – Using your favorite search engine, type in the name of the company to get their website address:
Ex. Using the Google search engine type in RF Technologies. You’ll see that the website address is: rft.com.
Step 2 – Type the following in the search box:
“@rft.com” (email OR e-mail OR e_mail OR “e mail”)
Step 3 – Use the Control F command, type in @rft in order to highlight email addresses in your search results. Be sure to scroll through pages of the search results. In this case one of the search results came back as: firstname.lastname@example.org ex. email@example.com
Step 4 – Once you have an idea of what the format is, using a service like Verifyemailaddress.org you can verify the % probability that the email will get through.
Once you know you have the correct format, send that person an email introducing yourself and why they should hire you. Remember to keep the email brief and to the point.
(Note: Some companies list email addresses on their website. Be sure to check there as well for the email format.)
If you’re still in school one of THE BEST ways of getting your foot in the door is through an internship. Companies normally make hires from their pool of interns each year. Be sure to work with your career center at your school to get an understanding of companies that are reaching out for interns. In addition, many companies attend university campus career fairs early in the fall to hire their interns for the next summer.
Find a professional association for your skills and attend a local chapter meeting. The odds are there’s someone from the company you’re targeting at the meeting as well. Introduce yourself and see if the person is willing to get your resume to a hiring manager. Companies send representatives all the time to these meetings to recruit.
In addition, if the association has an annual conference, check to see if there is a career fair being held in conjunction with the conference. Many of the larger professional associations hold career fairs with their annual conference. Check to see the list of companies who will be attending the career fair and if you see the company you’re trying to target on the list, BINGO. This is a great opportunity to get in front of someone. Again, remember to practice your 60 second elevator pitch ahead of time. Recruiters are busy at these conferences and don’t have a lot of time to spend talking with each person.
Following are some things not to do when you’re targeting a company:
Don’t show up at the front door
A long time ago this method was one of the ways to get a job at a particular company. I used it myself with success. But this method doesn’t work any longer. Companies are bound by laws that govern non-discriminatory practices in recruiting. The idea is that everyone has an equal opportunity to compete for a job. Because of this don’t be surprised when you show up at the company that you’re told your resume can’t be accepted, that no one is available to meet with you, and that to be considered you have to apply on-line.
Don’t mail in your resume
Companies use application tracking software to collect resumes and to search for resumes. If you send your resume in by mail there isn’t any way it’s going to get into the database and it’s going to get lost. Apply on-line. If there aren’t any jobs available at the time you’re searching, most companies will allow you to set up what’s called a ‘job search agent’ where you don’t have to apply to a specific job but your resume will get into their database to be available for future searches.
Don’t become a stalker
Do your best to make contact with someone inside the company and even if you succeed and end up talking to the hiring manager, don’t stalk them if they tell you they can’t help you. Stalking will end up hurting your chance of getting a job in the long run. Everyone remembers a stalker and will do what they can to prevent you from getting a job at the company. Be professional. Maybe today wasn’t the day you were supposed to get a job at that company. You have a name that can become part of your network going forward. Check in with them every now and then…no not every week. Touching base ever few months is more acceptable.
Here’s one last piece of advice. I’ve seen it happen many times where someone has to take a job with another company while they collect the experience needed before getting that perfect job with the company of their dreams. Be patient and professionally persistent and it will happen for you as well at the right time.