Welcome to Job Q&A From the Trenches! We answer your questions on building a resume, interviewing, searching for jobs and more – just ask!
Q: There are a bunch of big, famous companies I’d love to work for — I watch their job boards like a hawk, but never see any openings that fit my skill set. Would it be a waste of time for me to send a resume to their HR department anyway?
It can’t hurt! Just because a position isn’t listed online doesn’t mean there isn’t a job opening. Reaching out is a good first step and shows you take initiative with your career.
Invest time into relationship building. Start a networking strategy to work your way into relationships with pivotal HR and/or hiring managers at the companies that interest you. LinkedIn is probably social media’s current best option for professionals, so focus your initial efforts there.
Go to LinkedIn’s search tool and find a specific company’s page. At the top right, you see the list of connections in your current LinkedIn network employed by the specific company. You can click on the number of connections and a list of names and profiles are provided.
Don’t be disappointed to find that most of the connections you see are second or third degree. Instead, dig deeper. Once all of the connections are listed, you’ll see their roles at the company, their locations, and other distinguishing criteria. You may be able to leverage first-degree connections and relationships to introduce you to the people you want to meet. The beauty of LinkedIn is that you can see the degrees of separation between yourself and a potential HR rep or hiring manager. (LinkedIn details the mechanics on getting introduced here: “Requesting an Introduction”).
With patience, you can build trust with people that could vouch for you or think of you when opportunities become available. When it comes down to it, this approach is going to build into your networking and relationship-building abilities. It may also lead to future employment at your dream company. This is a better long-term strategy than only sending an unsolicited letter to HR.
Once last, but important point. Keep in mind, this process is about relationship building. You won’t find much success with merely reaching out to individuals and asking about job postings at their company. When you do engage with these new connections, make sure you have something to bring to the table. You are initiating a new relationship that you hope will be beneficial to you. But if you treat it as a one-sided endeavor, chances for success are slimmer. You have a lot to offer others, so make it clear you are available to assist them as well!
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