So you found a job you want to go after - woo hoo!. You’ve worked the heck out of your resume - nice! You crafted a witty and pointed cover letter - fabulous! You included some killer references - great! You applied to the position on line - perfect.
This is the moment where many job seekers get stuck or lost in the sea of thousands of applicants. And this is the moment that you NEED to use some crafty skills to help you get an interview.
You need to cold email. (Let’s face it, cold calling people on the phone is dead. Do you answer the phone when a random number dials your line - heck no!)
Properly “cold emailing” is a tip I share with all my clients and it’s one of the most powerful ways to up your odds of getting an actual face-to-face interview. I always say - getting an interview is 80% of the battle! (I have no statistical evidence to prove that, but through my experience I am willing to bet it’s close to accurate!)
You might be thinking, that’s great, but how do I know who is the right person to email, how do I get these people’s email addresses and what do I say!
Here’s exactly how you do it…
Immediately after you apply online or submit your resume for a position, contact someone from the organization and let them know.
This is as simple as searching your LinkedIn contacts for someone that works at the company you have applied to. For our example let’s say you’re applying to be the Director of Marketing at Prudential. (why not!)
Get on linked in and simply search “Prudential”. You will see a variety of choices to choose from including, Top, People, Jobs, Posts, etc. Click on “People”. From there you will see a list of all the people you’re already connected to who work at Prudential. You may be surprised to know that you already have 1st connections with people that work at the company you are interested in.
If you’re not yet connected with anyone from the company then connect. Pick several people and start clicking the connect button. Many of them will accept your invitation to connect within 24 hours.
Send a LinkedIn message to someone at the company.
Ok, so you either already have a connection, or you have now reached out and attempted to connect with someone. We’ll call them "PersonX".
(No one likes when people connect on LinkedIn and then messages them 5 minutes later asking for something, so be very cautious here! Give it a day or two with new connections and be very to the point and kind with your message.)
Now it’s time to send them a message. Keep it short and non-spamy please!
“Hey there PersonX! I have recently applied to the Director of Marketing position at Prudential and was wondering if you could suggest the best person for me to reach out to or follow up with? Thank you so much I would greatly appreciate it!”
That’s it - simple. I am telling you more often or not PersonX will message you back with the exact name of who you should reach out to, someone who might be able to better help you, or sometimes even the email address of the contact you need.
And here’s the best part - you now have a “referral”. Let me show you how it works…
Next you reach out to the person they’ve recommend.
If they give you a name then connect with that person via a LinkedIn message or directly email them. Here is what you say…
“Hello! I got your name from PersonX. I have recently applied to the Director of Marketing position and PersonX thought that you may be able to connect me with the best person to follow up with regarding that position. I would greatly appreciate your assistance! Thank you.”
Again simple, short and to the point.
Continue to follow up with people in the same way until you either get to the correct hiring manager or you get an actual email to the person you need to be in contact with.
How to indirectly get someone’s email.
What if all your messaging efforts on LinkedIn don’t result in getting an email address? There are other ways to access that info and I’ve got you covered!
This is so simple! Almost everyone has their work email on their LinkedIn profile - seriously start looking and you will see.
If you can find just one person’s email then you can pretty much figure out anyone else's email from there.
Let’s say someone you have connected with has an email listed as Jane.Doe@prudential.com, from here you can see the organization's formula for email. (First name, dot, last name @ company name, dot com.) Simple!
And even if you can’t use this trick on LinkedIn, then you certainly can do a google search and pretty quickly access at least one person's email address at the prospective company in order to discover the formula.
So now what do you do with this info. Go back to LinkedIn and search potential people that may be able to help you further, in our example you might want to search people at Prudential with the title of “VP of Marketing”, “Director of Marketing”, anyone in HR or any administrative assistant. You will find their names and title at the organization with a simple search.
Don’t email them all or be annoying, but use the info you have already discovered to make an educated decision on who to reach out to.
Again, following the same formula of keeping it short and non-spamy, and using the names of anyone you have already connected with.
Things to remember.
Each time you message someone or email them, include your resume as an attachment. You don’t even need to mention it, just let it be there in case they want to know more about who you are.
Always mention the position which you applied to.
Always mention the name of your “referral” or the people that have graciously shared info with you thus far.
Don’t pretend to know the “referral”, in fact you should be transparent about not knowing them personally. You could even say, “While I don’t know PersonX personally, they were kind enough to pass along your contact info.”
Be persistent, but not annoying. No one likes stalkers, don’t be a stalker.
Ask for the interview - tell your prospective employer that you would love the opportunity to speak in person and share more about your experience and how you may be able to benefit their company.
Thank and follow up with everyone that responds to you or shares info with you. You could simply message or email them back and say, “Thank you for sharing “so and so’s” contact info with me, I have emailed them and hope to hear back soon.”
I know that many people find using a technique like this slightly aggressive. But I don’t.
In fact, I worked in corporate America for more than a decade, much of that time in senior leadership or HR positions, and when I was contacted in this type of way I was always impressed with the applicants tenacity and persistence.
In today’s job market you need to do things to stand out from your competition. There is no better example of your ability to be resourceful and creative than getting directly to the decision maker and asking for what you want - an interview!
Do this in a professional and generous manner and I can tell you it will significantly up your odds of getting a foot in the door. From there you can wow them with your amazing interview skills.
Check out next week’s post to learn all my secrets to help you prepare for the interview!
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