Identify the Hiring Manager for Greater Success

 In Job Search Strategy

The least effective way to find a job is to apply for advertised openings, sending your résumé online through a company employment portal or a third-party website. You are just one of dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of applicants, and even a standout résumé will have a hard time cutting through the clutter if the number of applications reaches in the triple digits or higher.

To increase your chances of securing an interview, you need to bypass the company’s Human Resources department and get your résumé in the hands of the hiring manager. The hiring manager is the person in the company with the ultimate authority to offer you the job. In a small company, it might be the owner or the individual who reports to the owner. In a larger company, it might be your future direct supervisor or a specific department manager.

There are two ways to get your résumé directly to the hiring manager — by email or by snail mail (postal mail). It is recommended that you actually email the hiring manager and send your résumé and a customized cover letter to him/her via mail. Although you may be tempted to skip this step, or only send an email, you’re going to get more attention as a candidate if you put in the extra effort and actually mail a hard copy of your résumé and cover letter. Few applicants will go to the trouble to do so, so it can really help you stand out.

Note: Send your résumé and cover letter on a quality paper stock (not just the typical copier paper that’s probably in your printer). Mail them, unfolded, in a plain white or manila 9×12 envelope. Make sure you affix enough postage. (Yes, it may cost you $2 to send your résumé by mail, but it can really help you make a strong first impression.)

Address the cover letter and the envelope to the specific hiring manager for the position. But how do you find out the name of this person, if you don’t know it? Here are some ideas:

  • Use Google. Google the company name, department name, and/or job title. For example, if you’re looking for the name of the person who leads the Fraud department at PayPal, a Google search for “Manager Fraud Department PayPal” can yield some trails to follow. Sometimes you can find the hiring manager’s name in another job posting you find in the Google search results.
  • Search LinkedIn. Check to see if the target company has a Company Page. Once you find that page, you have the option of searching for people who work at that company. Also with an advanced search you can enter keywords that might be in the title of the person you are looking for.
  • Use Your Network. This strategy can work on its own, or in conjunction with the other techniques listed. Do you know someone who works at your target company? (Again, LinkedIn can be a good way to find this out!). Or do you know someone who knows someone who works there? (A friend-of-a-friend?)
  • Check Out the Company Website. The company website can also be an excellent research source for finding a specific individual. This is especially true for smaller companies. Look for an “About Us” page, and also check and see if there is a “News” section, or somewhere on the site where news releases are posted. Key executives — often, those with hiring responsibilities for their area of specialty — are often quoted in news releases about important new hires or new products or services.
  • Call the Company. Larger companies will usually have a main operator or switchboard that you can ask for the name and correct spelling of the individual in charge of hiring for [job title]. If you can’t reach a human being during business hours, call back in the early morning or late at night and use the company directory to see if you can be connected to a specific individual’s voice mail.

Remember, if you want to increase your chances of getting the job you want, you need to stand out. And one of the best ways to do that is to connect with the hiring manager — either after you’ve applied for a position online, or by identifying a company you’d like to work for and sending a targeted résumé and cover letter.

Kathy Keshemberg is a Nationally Certified Resume Writer and Certified Career Management Coach. Since 1983, she has created thousands of interview-winning resumes and related job-search materials for satisfied clients around the world. Need assistance with your career? We’re here to help!

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