Candid Career Advice #1: Why applying online isn't enough to land the job anymore.
You'll need to follow this extra step if you want that call back
*This article has been updated to include more information about reaching out to someone via email for an informational interview.
TLDR: *Feeling lazy? Scroll to the bottom if you want the takeaways from this post.
You’ve found that perfect job that is calling your name. You look over the description, you polish up your resume, you painstakingly read the instructions forward and backwards to ensure that you’re set up for success. After carefully proofreading your materials, you eagerly push “apply now” and watch as your application is engulfed in a digital void, wondering when you’ll hear back.
More often than not, you’ve been ghosted completely. Or an automatic rejection email made its way to your inbox (hey, at least you received a response).
Even if you did everything correctly, here’s what’s WRONG with this process.
According to Payscale, a job posting can receive upwards of 200 applications.
More than half of the resumes will be screened out by the ATS (applicant tracking system) then by the recruiter. (I’ll be covering the ATS in-depth in another post).
If your resume is thrown out BEFORE it is even seen by a real person—welp—you’ve just been ghosted and rejected. This leads us back to the purpose of this post:
Applying online isn't enough to land the job anymore. Your job search isn’t over until your materials land into the hands of a real person.
“Great…how do I get my materials seen by a real person?”
If you already applied online, the extra step(s) you want to take include:
Emailing the hiring manager and/or the recruiter with your materials affirming your interest in the role.
Why am I doing these extra steps?
It’s rare other people will; more power to you as you’ll be one step ahead of other applicants.
The hiring manager is usually the person you will work with directly when you’re hired. The recruiter’s job is to ensure they are providing the hiring manger the best quality applicants to review. Emailing them your materials is a great way to introduce yourself and step yourself apart from the competition.
The hiring manager makes the final call on who joins the team; recruiters usually communicate that information down. Bypass the ATS and get your “in” by impressing a REAL person who can quickly decide if they want to interview you or not.
In the event you want to speak to someone for an informational interview and you are unable to reach out to them via LinkedIn (eg., They are not accepting messages), the other option is their work email.
Does this actually work?
It’s worked for me on a number of occasions.
First outreach - I got the interview and chose to withdraw my application (compensation package was too below market for me to accept).
Second outreach - I got the interview + was offered the job + accepted the job.
Third outreach — I wanted to learn more about the department at another company I was potential interested in working in one day.
Okay, but how do I get in touch with the hiring manager/recruiter if I don’t have their email?
Do your research. What that really means is understand where these stakeholders lurk.
Look at the job description. Does it say who will be reporting to? If it just says the title such as “Director of Marketing,” put that title in LinkedIn and do a search and see who pops up.
If you notice the job you are interested in sits in the Marketing Department, go into LinkedIn, search the company name and people who work int he Department. Narrow down the results to people who have a “manager” title or “recruiter” title.
How do I reach out without appearing “creepy” or “annoying"?
Your outreach message is essential to capture someone’s attention. Think of it as an elevator pitch or your new cover letter:
Be mindful and strategic when emailing or sliding into someone’s work DMs.
For emails, send only to work emails.
Do not spam and get to the point; it’s imperative to be clear and concise.
Guess their email, which can do by 1). using their company as a base and 2). using tools like MailScoop.
Your job search isn’t over until your materials land into the hands of a real person.
Most times, you will have to apply online FIRST (because protocol). However, you’re allowed to reach out to the recruiter and hiring manager and introduce yourself; provide your materials, reaffirm your interest and it can help make the job application process go faster.
Have you had success emailing the hiring manager or recruiter? Let me know below!