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Catching an Employer's Attention: Inside Contacts

By Sandra A. MacKay

If you're one of the millions of unemployed Americans today, you know job searching is not for the faint of heart. But, do you know that job search begins with research? Company (or employer) research.

Human resource departments are swamped with resumes being submitted the easy way - via email or online application. Overwhelming if you're on the receiving end of 400+ resumes daily, many more if you have numerous open positions.

In fact, HR departments and recruiters are swimming upstream against the tide of incoming resumes and applications.

So, wise job seekers don't take chances about their resumes being reviewed or seen.

Those wise job seekers are finding alternatives to the usual submissions through the standard recruiting channel.

Beyond HR

Another approach more apt to catch an eye is to submit your resume to the company's leader for your functional discipline, e.g. to the V. P of Marketing for marketing folks, to the Chief Technology Officer for IT folks, to the Chief Financial Officer for finance and accounting folks.

Find the Right Person

But how do you identify the names of the senior officer in your area of interest in a company? Check these three sources:

  1. Company website. Many companies today provide profiles of their key management team members on the company's web site. It may take some searching on each site to find the list, but poke around; it's likely to be there.
  2. LinkedIn. Doing an "advanced" search for current employees on LinkedIn. Search for the company name plus the job title of "vice president" or (whatever).
  3. Another database of 24 million publicly and privately held companies in the USA and 1.5 million in Canada. This resource is available through your public library is: Reference USA, although key executive data for some companies may be incomplete.

    Visiting your local library on a daily or weekly basis may be inconvenient, but many libraries provide access to these databases using your library card and some simple online login instructions? Call or visit your reference librarian for detailed directions.

Armed with the key contact name and title, your next step is to verify with the company receptionist that the individual is still with the company. Not all directory information is current, and you should make certain that the data you have is still valid. Call the general number for the business, and ask if that person is still employed in that job.

[For more information, read Advanced LinkedIn Strategies for Company Research.

Make Your Pitch

Prepare a strong, well-written letter of introduction, not merely a resume transmittal letter, including your value proposition to the company.

Focus your letter on what you can do for them, not what they can do for you. Customize your resume to show the value you add by emphasizing your relevant accomplishments.

Then, send it to the contact you have identified.

Don't Ignore HR!

Send a separate letter or email to the HR department so that when asked, you can honestly say you did not end run the HR department.

With a little ingenuity, and more research, you can identify the email address protocol used by many companies, if that's you're preferred method of communicating. Perhaps everyone is lastname@companyname or firstinitial.lastname@companyname. Do some research on LinkedIn

[See the Online Job Search Guide's article on Avoiding the Spam Filters, if you use e-mail extensively]

Use Standard Mail (Not e-Mail)

However, my strong recommendation is to use U.S. mail for these submissions since a hard copy resume is usually less likely to be tossed without having been read than an email is to be deleted without having been read.

Happy (re)searching!

More Job Search Techniques

About the author...

Sandra A. Mackay is an independent recruiter and outplacement counselor in Massachusetts. When not recruiting for a company in "staffing up" mode, Sandy provides job development services for one of the nation's largest outplacement firms to its individual clients.