Career experts always say, “Don’t send your resume to the Human Resources department, where it gets lost in the shuffle – send it to an individual person in the company.” Well, great – but how do you actually do that? It’s not that easy to establish a name for a person who can actually read your resume or pass it on to the hiring manager. Here are ten tips to get you started.
(1) Check the company’s website, under About us. There must be a Management Bios section. Either the VP / leader of the position you are interested in (e.g. Marketing or Engineering) or the VP / leader of HR is a great person to call or write. Both people need to be featured on the website (although the head of HR often doesn’t show up in the Management Bios, as HR is often a second-rate citizen, functionally, sad to say). If the company is huge – say 10,000 employees are more – the very lofty manager whose bio is on the website may be too lofty to do you much good unless you’re interested in a managerial position. If that’s true, you need a closer to the active person who (hopefully) won’t pitch your resume immediately upon receipt.
(2) Use LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com), search the name of the target company, to find people who work there OR who worked there OR who are now doing business with the company. Get in touch with one of these people (through a reciprocal LinkedIn connection) to express your interest in communicating with the right person at your target company, about a job.
(3) Use a WorldWIT email group (such as DesertWIT in Nevada or DutchWIT in the Netherlands) to get contacts in a target company. Membership is free – just go to http://www.worldwit.org and join your local chapter. Men and women are welcome. (Full disclosure: I lead this group.)
(4) Use Google to find someone suitable for the target company. Try a search like Apex + Foods + marketing + director. Try a lot of different things. You’ll find media profiles, reports from Apex Foods managers speaking at events – lots of things, very likely. It is actually quite easy to collect names within a company. The key is to get the right names and of course to contact people who still work for the company.
(5) Also, use Google’s blog search function to locate people. A lot of things show up on blogs that wouldn’t make it to the typical Google search results for web searches.
(6) View the online archive for the local business newspaper in the city where the company is located (i.e., the location you want to be interested in). Sometimes you have to pay for a subscription to access the archives. In any case, if you often buy and read the newspaper, you may want to continue paying for a subscription, if this helps you get the job you’re looking for.
(7) Also search the archives on Yahoogroups.com to see listings of the company and the most important people, those you contact, in one of the Yahoogroups discussion lists. Current or recent vacancies appear like crazy in the Yahoogroups archives, and if they are current, the person who posted the vacancy is almost certainly either the hiring manager (or associated with the hiring manager) or the assigned HR person. The only exception occurs when a random (unrelated) employee of your target company posts a current job posting on a Yahoog group to which he or she belongs just to be helpful. That’s okay – if you contact this person about your career interest, he or she will understand why you did that (as long as they remember putting that job on Yahoogroups)!
(8) Go to the website of the most relevant/logical association for the person you are looking for (in other words, the association of which he or she would logically be a member), and search the site of the local chapter. Here is an example. If you want to reach Apex Foods’ PR manager and you are based in Tallahassee, visit the PRSA website, chapter Tallahassee, and look for someone who is a member of Apex Foods. Most likely it will be someone in PR at Apex!
(9) Back on the company’s own website, see what they say (if anything) about social engagement and local causes. There won’t be many details on the business page – likely a link to the charity site they support. Then go to that charity’s website and walk around for information (name and title) from representatives of your target company. For example, if your target company is a big supporter of a toy ride for kids, someone from the company will most likely show up on the toy drive group’s website. You can then contact that person by phone (I doubt you’ll find an email address) to ask for help finding the person most closely related to the type of career opportunity you’re looking for.
(10) Finally, go to your alma mater’s alumni website and search the database for a current employee or alum of the company you are targeting. Contact this person, let him or her know your connection (you went to the same place at school and you both made contact information available to fellow alums – otherwise your message would be spam) and ask him or her for help with finding a suitable person to talk to about your job search with your classmate’s employer.
With these tips in hand, you should be able to jump directly over the HR department and bring your resume to a living person. On to your next interview!