In Hollywood, the absolute best way to increase your odds of getting an interview is to get referred to a position by someone who knows the hiring manager. This is especially true now, when job postings have hundreds, and sometimes even upwards of a thousand applicants. Hiring managers simply cannot read that many resumes, and they'll lean into their networks to cull through the candidates -- even if your resume is perfect, you'll want to make sure they can find it!
In an ideal world, you’ll have put the word out that you are looking for a new job and have conducted numerous informational interviews, and someone will remember you and reach out when a relevant position opens up. But even if that doesn’t happen, you can be proactive and generate referrals for open roles of interest. The idea is that you want to track the path of your resume until you feel pretty confident that someone in the hiring department has reviewed it. Here’s the process we recommend:
Once you have a posting of interest and have submitted your resume through formal channels, do a LinkedIn search for the company, click on “people,” and see if you know anyone that works there. If you do, great! Send them an email and ask if they can pass your resume to the hiring manager. Hopefully they know someone in the department and can put in a good word for you directly. They’ll probably be able to tell you if the role is still open and may even have some info about the hiring timeline. If you’re the type of candidate they are looking for, you will be almost sure to get an interview.
However, if this is a big company, and your contact doesn’t know anyone in the hiring department, you’ll need to take some extra steps. The person you know may be able to refer you through an internal employee portal, but that won’t necessarily get you an interview. In this case, or in the case that you have found a role of interest but don’t know anyone at the company, you need to leverage LinkedIn to find second degree connections. This means that you search for the company, click on “people,” and see who works there that you have a shared connection with. Reach out to your contacts who know people at the company, prioritizing the people that are most likely to want to do you a favor and the people who know someone in or close to the hiring department. If possible, reach out to multiple people to ensure that your resume gets to the hiring manager’s hands. If the hiring manager is hearing your name left and right, they’ll have no choice but to bring you in!
When reaching out to your contacts, it’s important that you reach out via email and not LinkedIn, as LinkedIn messages often get lost. Be really specific about your ask, and provide as much detail as possible, including a link to the original job posting, a job ID if there is one, the name of the person you are trying to get your resume to, and a little bit of detail about why you are interested/right for the role. And don’t forget to attach your resume! This way, your contact can simply forward your email to their contact, who will see your professional, well-written email summarizing your qualifications.
Continue this process until you know that your resume has been viewed by the hiring manager, and hopefully, you'll get that call for an interview. Keep in mind that this process works best if you have dedicated time to building your network and staying active on LinkedIn. Read our many blog posts on networking and LinkedIn if you think either of these areas needs a little love. Good luck!
-- Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan