On the job hunt? Then you most likely are applying everywhere! There is a high possibility that you'll apply to a few companies where you won't know anyone. This is a "cold" application.
Once you’ve applied for a position, be sure to “warm-up” your application by reaching out to someone you know within the company. It doesn't matter what department this person works in. Don't underestimate the power of relationships! Even if this person works in the Basket Weaving Department, reach out! It's very possible that they can introduce you to someone in the department you're applying to. Alert them to the fact that you’ve applied, tell them which department, share your resume with them, and ask for feedback specific to the company. You can ask about company culture, the interview process, or even just ask them if they enjoy working for the company.
The point of this communication is to learn as much as possible about the company. The closer you are the more inside info you're likely to learn. Don't ask for a reference or for them to stick their neck out. At this point, you're just gathering information about the company. Depending on the conversation, they may offer to refer you. But we want that to be left up to them. Or at the very least, let that be a secondary ask.
If you don’t know anyone who works within the company, use LinkedIn to identify someone who works closely to the position you’ll be applying for. I wouldn't suggest you reach out to the hiring manager. I'd suggest connecting with someone who works in the position or department you've applied for. You can also reach out to the person who manages the position. If you're having trouble knowing what to say, here's some sample text to get you started:
“Greetings, I recently applied to the xxx position with xxx company and although we don’t know each other I was hoping you’d be willing to share your opinion about the company, company culture, and/or the application process. I’m excited to learn more about xxx company as "fit" is very important to me. If not, no worries. Enjoy your day!”
By doing this you increase the possibility of organically growing a relationship within the company. It’s ok if they don’t write back. There is no reason to circle back if they don’t respond. It isn’t the worst thing. Our hope is that they do what most people do; see your message, click your profile and become wildly mesmerized by your profile (If you've taken the time to update it). They may get distracted and forget to respond. But when your name is brought up about the applicants in the pool, you've planted a seed. They will most likely remember you and mention that you reached out with insightful questions, prompting the team to keep you in the running. So not hearing back isn't the worst thing that could happen.
The worst thing is to not reach out at all.
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