How to Reach Your Hiring Manager Directly
Smart job-seekers have been bypassing automated recruiting systems to reach their hiring managers for years, and it's a good thing they have, because it works!
You have a much better chance at getting a job interview by going the direct route and reaching out to your future boss than by lobbing resumes and applications into mojo-sucking automated recruiting sites.
Department managers don't like those awful keyword-based applicant tracking systems any better than job-seekers do. HR people don't like them. Who likes them? I can't find anybody who does, and I've talked to thousands of people in the recruiting field!
You can reach your hiring manager directly and forget the automated recruiting system. I encourage you to try it, because you can spend hours filling out online job applications only to learn weeks later that that approach doesn't work.
Even if you do hear something back, it's likely to be a terse auto-response message like this: "Your materials have been received. We'll let you know if we want to interview you. Feel free to jump in a lake in the meantime."
The good news is that somebody inside that organization has a problem -- we call it Business Pain -- and you can reach that person. That person is your hiring manager. That's the guy or gal in pain!
Once you reach that person directly, you can have a real conversation about problems and solutions instead of a fake interview about your so-called weaknesses and a bunch of other garbage.
Here's how you can reach your hiring manager directly:
First, decide what sorts of jobs you want to apply for. Make a list of ten job titles that might be a good fit for you.
Now, ask yourself this question: for each job title on your list, what is the title of your hiring manager? "Hiring manager" is not a job title. It's just a temporary role, like Designated Driver. What is the actual job title of each manager you might end up working for?
If you are applying for Purchasing Agent jobs, your manager's title will probably be Purchasing Manager, Procurement Manager, Materials Manager, Operations Manager or Supply Chain Manager (or any of those titles with "Director" in place of "Manager").
Now, decide which employers you want to go after. They don't have to have your target job posted as an open position (or any jobs posted, for that matter). You can send a Pain Letter to a hiring manager whether s/he has open positions or not.
Everyone has pain! The only question is "Is there enough pain for this manager to spend money to relieve the pain?"
Now you need to find your hiring manager at each of your target firms. This part isn't hard, unless your target firm is IBM or another mega-massive multinational firm.
In those big companies, many people can have the exact same job title. That's okay! If you run into that problem, go up in the organizational chart, and write to the head of your function -- like the CTO or the VP of Marketing.
To find your hiring manager using LinkedIn, follow these instructions. (Click on this link.)
If you can't find your hiring manager using LinkedIn, check out the company's own website and focus on the page of Management Bios. Now go back to LinkedIn and find the same leaders who were profiled in your target firm's Management Bios page.
Who are those people connected to on LinkedIn? One of them is likely to be your hiring manager.
Don't forget that Google is an incredible job-search research tool! You can perform a Google search using the target employer name and the job title you expect your hiring manager to have.
You will come up with the right person in a Google search very often because people speak on panels, belong to associations and get their name out there in other ways.
In our career coaching projects, we are able to find and/or help our clients find their specific hiring manager by name over ninety percent of the time. As you dig into this exploration you'll become an online search wizard, too! A job search is a fantastic way to grow new muscles.
What should I send to my hiring manager?
You're going to send your hiring manager a white or manila 8.5 x 11-inch envelope with two documents inside.
You mean by surface mail -- Snail Mail?
YEP! That's right!
The document that will be on top when your manager opens the envelope is your Pain Letter. It's like a cover letter, but way cooler and much more powerful. Here's how to write your first Pain Letter.
Behind your Pain Letter and stapled to it will be your one-or-two-page Human-Voiced Resume. Here's how to write that!
Why snail mail?
We recommend surface mail for your Pain Letter/Human-Voiced Resume combo because it works! Managers don't get a lot of large envelopes with unfolded, well-put-together and PERSONAL correspondence (in the sense that you're writing just to them and no one else -- not a form letter).
Your Pain Letter starts out by acknowledging and congratulating them on something cool their organization has done. How often do you get a letter like that?
How do I create a Target Employer List?
How can I figure out which jobs to apply for?
Where can I learn more about this different way to job-hunt?
Our approach to job search is called the Whole Person Job Search. You are a whole person, not a bundle of skills! You are so much more than your resume. The Whole Person Job Search approach starts with you. Who are you? Where do you come from? What are you interested in?
A healthy job search starts with you. You have to know what you want. You get to decide on your career direction, and by the same token you must. You get to drive your own job search, and you also have to! You will grow new muscles as you learn to take charge of your own career.
Check out the two Slideshare presentations beneath this column and the virtual courses described below.
Our company is called Human Workplace. Our mission is to reinvent work for people.
Learn how to get a job the new way and leave automated recruiting sites behind! Join us on June sixth for the virtual course Get the Job You Deserve! or our brand-new course, Grow Your Confidence and Be Your Best!