Question Proposed on LinkedIn: How to apply for a posted/advertised position Manager’s Choice?
– This applies to larger companies with an HR department. When you apply for a position on line you have two choices as to go about it. Choice one is to follow the instructions and this choice does not work unless you are a clear, 100% perfect match on paper. Even then it is the slowest way to apply. When you follow the instructions you are to fill in all the information including compensation requirements then click submit or email to a specific person or department. There is usually a note that says ”no calls please”. Your application will go to the lowest person on the decision making pole who is most likely a recruiter/screener who knows very little about the job. This recruiter is instructed to match very specific requirements to your resume/application. The recruiter is not qualified or permitted to make exceptions. If you do not match all of the requirements or they are not clearly spelled out on your application you are rejected. The question, do you have the skills and abilities to do the job is not considered. Add to this that your application goes on the same pile as the other 500 candidates and you can see why this is not a candidate friendly process. Choice two is to first follow choice one so that nobody brands you as someone who can’t follow directions. Then choice two is to apply a second time but this time you apply directly to the hiring manager or to the most senior decision maker in your functional area that you can find. There are many places where you can find this person including LinkedIn, Zoominfo.com and Spoke. Send your resume and a well written cover letter that addresses why even though you may be missing a requirement, you are qualified to do the job. Wait 24 hours and follow up with a phone call. Leave a message that says you applied through normal channels but you wanted to introduce yourself. Briefly include in your message what you said in your letter. Even if you do not get a returned call your action will put you a notch above your competition. This is just one of the many strategies and techniques I teach as a job search coach.
– I frequently hear advice based on “contact the hiring manager directly or through an associate or employee within the company”. Unless you know somebody inside the company, there is usually no way to figure out who the manager is and how to contact, unless that info is indicated on job position. The only way I see a website /web service search for hiring manager method working is to identify a titled HR person, which is usually not the person doing the hiring. And companies go to lengths to prevent outside candidates from getting to the hiring manager for obvious reasons.
– I made sales calls for Careerbuilder to the HR Recruiting people within Fortune 1000 companies for 18 months and can verify that EVERYTHING Mark has described is absolutely true.
The only thing I’ll add is that if a company is utilizing an applicant tracking software system, there is no guarantee that a human will ever review your online application. Some companies set up their search for the software to review how you “match” the requirements and will only pass your application through to the human screener IF you match a minimum % of the criteria they want.
– Follow all instructions promptly. Do not waste time straying from the action required by the company. However, once you apply the CORRECT WAY, you also do not want to be the guy who submits to every job they post since. ALWAYS FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS! THEY’RE THERE FOR A REASON!