Secrets of the Job Hunt


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Skipping HR: Q&A with a job seeker

Received the following question yesterday from a job seeker;

When I respond to a job posting that I am interested in, sometimes I send my cover letter and resume to the head of marketing as opposed to the contact that is listed in the posting (usually an HR contact). I do this to try and set my resume a part from others, figuring that chances are I am going straight to the hiring manager. Is this appropriate? Or am I ruining my chances?

Here's my response;

Dear Job seeker, this strategy can work but you have to be sure you are contacting the department head in a way that will not only get his attention but that will solve their hiring needs with a proven strategy. Your attempt had better make a good first impression.

Here's an example of how I made a good first impression.

The best advice I can give is to find an 'angle' that will make the head of marketing take notice. First I would 'Google' the hiring manager's name and learn as much about that person as possible. I'd even use sites like Zoominfo to research their background. My research would enable me to find news about that person, perhaps some articles he/she wrote or maybe a promotion that person received. I would then use that info in my initial contact.

Lets say that person wrote an article about marketing. You could then send him an email (without your resume) and comment how you liked their opinion. Then AFTER you established a relationship with them you could inquire about the position.

You could also have checked a site like LinkedIn to see if anyone else knows that person. LinkedIn allows you to network virtually and make contacts.

Thirdly, you could try and contact someone else at the company to see if you can get a referral. Your resume has a much better chance of being read if a co-worker gave the head of Marketing your resume. I remember reading an article about a job seeker who called the company's 800 number, started talking to a sales rep and got the sales rep to submit his resume. It worked.

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