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Candidate Question: How do I contact a company I'd like to work for?

Resume Overload

Q:

What is the best way to go about contacting a company you would be interested in working for?

A:

Email is by far the preferred method of companies and recruiters to show your interest and apply for an open position. If there is an open position and you don't have any connection with the company, I'd advise to go through the proper channels- follow the directions on the job descriptions and submit your resume and cover letter to the address provided by the company.

This is NOT where you should stop. Just because you submitted through the proper channels though doesn't mean you can't follow-up through other means. Some positions receives hundreds of resumes, only seen by the human resources department for an initial review and judgment. Other times your resume will be imported directly in the company's applicant tracking system which may only scan for keyword matches to rank the top candidates for the position.

If you are very interested in working for a particular company, you'll have to take it a few steps further. Search LinkedIn or Google search to find out who the hiring manager is and follow up directly to show your interest in a position. Many job descriptions state the reporting structure, if not, make your best guess. Finding out this information isn't difficult with a bit of extra effort. Sometimes a simple follow-up can determine whether you land the opportunity to interview or not. Surprisingly, few people take this step because they fear the risk of being too pushy or coming on too strong.

When following up electronically, your follow-up needs to be specific for the position and how you will add value. There is nothing more obvious than a blanket introduction and follow-up. State why specifically you want to work for the organization and how you will help them be successful.

If you have friends within the organization, an internal referral is always better than a submission through the website. Ask your contact to walk your resume into the hiring manager or HR department and follow up within a couple of days.

All of this takes time — a job search can be full-time job in itself. Putting in the extra effort will pay off in the end and set you apart from the majority who don't invest the time in the job search.

This is part of an on-going series of candidate questions submitted through this blog. If you have a question you would like featured, please submit it here. Confidentiality is guaranteed.

For other candidate questions, see the archive of questions.

Photo credit: Michael Marlatt
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