You’ve written a kick-ass resume and have applied online for a number of positions.
You have the qualifications, so why no response?
I mean, WTF? They aren’t even reaching out to reject me!
It’s not you.
It’s the way you applied for the job.
What? The job posting said I could apply on the site. I did what they told me to do.
Yeah, about that…I’ll explain. Submitting your resume via an online application tool or to a generic email address is what I refer to as a cold application.
I need you to brace yourself for a hard truth.
Cold applications = DEAD applications.
It’s not the equivalent to tossing your resume in the company trash bin, but it’s close.
Do people end up getting jobs this way? Yes. A lucky few get noticed through their cold online application. I can’t explain a formula for their success when it’s dumb luck.
Luck is not a strategy.
Fortunately, there is a hack to help you beat the system. It will take some hard work, but you are up to the task.
I’m going to break it down to one key guiding principle:
You need to send your resume to a REAL, LIVE HUMAN BEING.
Don’t freak out. There are ways to hack the system and find a person to help you out. I’m going to give you three strategies to find a connection before you hit the generic “apply here” button.
WORK YOUR EXISTING CONNECTIONS
First, try your best to find a personal connection to the company you are targeting.
A friend, a former colleague, a neighbor, a relative.
There are endless possibilities. You never know who knows who. You may find out something crazy like your aunt used to be sorority sisters with the CEO.
Seriously, if there is a job you are really interested in, start talking to people and see if you can enlist their support in getting your resume to the right person. Talk it up and find out if you have a solid connection there.
Don’t feel weird about this. You are NOT ASKING FOR A JOB. You are ASKING THEM TO GET YOUR RESUME IN THE RIGHT HANDS. There’s a huge difference.
USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
What do you do if you can’t turn up a solid connection at your target company?
You look for at least a lukewarm connection. This is where you can unlock the power of social media.
First, I recommend a super easy move: a Facebook post.
Seriously. It’s as simple as “I’m interested in a job as Company X. Know anyone there? DM me.”
You never know who knows who!
It may sound too good to be true, but I’ve had personal success with this approach a number of times.
Next, work your LinkedIn connections.
Check your connections. Do you have a connection with your target company? Sometimes you luck out and discover a direct contact willing to help, but the second- and third-degree connections can be helpful too. Your chances of getting help decrease the further out the relationship goes, but it’s worth trying.
SEARCH FOR A RECRUITER’S NAME
Search LinkedIn to find recruiters or human resources contacts at the target company and send them an invitation to connect. I’ve never known a recruiter to decline an invitation to connect! Once you are connected, be direct and specific about what position you are interested in and ask for their help in getting your resume to the right recruiter. Recruiters help each other.
Explore the company’s website. There’s usually a section about their employees. Look for a recruiter, or an HR or department head contact to email.
It can be uncomfortable to ask for help from people you may not know well. But consider this: most people are happy to help someone make a connection. You need to trust in the good in people, too.
It’s a small world; you’d be surprised by who knows who.
But you have to ask to find out.