Getting an interview from the company that you love is no easy feat. Most have a website that forces you to dissect your resume into tiny pieces. If you are lucky they will allow you to upload a word document resume, but you know that will never look the same on their computer as it does on yours. Why can’t you just upload a PDF?
But even when your resume (or Franken-resume) has been submitted there is yet another problem. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred a human will never actually read it. It will likely get auto-rejected by a computer because you don’t have the correct keywords that are an exact match to their specific requirements. Or it may never be seen due to the sheer volume of applications that company gets. Or just never looked at because the company prefers to hire through recruiters and their own careers page is just a formality.
How to get a human to actually read your resume
The easiest way to get an interview is by convincing one of the people in the company that you are someone they really want to work with. The key to this is being able to talk to an actual person and not submitting your resume to the resume black hole. Great! So how do we actually do this?
Option A) Do you already know somebody that works there?
If you are friendly with someone who works there all you need to do is email them. Since people change jobs often you may know someone who works there and not even realize it. Open up LinkedIn and check your first connections to see if you know someone there, ideally within the same department. If so it’s an easy email to ask for help:
I hope things are going well for you. I was looking at the jobs page for your company and I see that there is an opening for XYZ. I would really love the opportunity to interview for the position. Do you know who I should talk to so I can get the process started?
Thanks so much,
It’s really easy for Bob to just shoot you over the email address or phone number of the hiring manager so you can get in touch with them directly. And best of all many employers will pay Bob a finders fee if you take the job, so he will be pretty motivated to help you out.
Option B) Does a colleague already know somebody that works there?
Open up LinkedIn and search for anyone employed by the company you want to interview with, ideally in a similar job role. Limit yourself to just your second connections. If you find someone then all you need to do is ask your first connection that knows them for an introduction. Send an email to your colleague such as:
I hope things are going well for you. I am really interested in interviewing for a job over at XYZ corp. I noticed that your friend Adam Clark works in their engineering department and I was hoping you could introduce us?
Thanks so much,
Option C) Look for open source
Many companies have members who are active in the open source community. Your goal is to find someone, in the department where you want to work, who is an active contributor. First, start by checking if the company has a GitHub account. If they don’t, check LinkedIn for the names of the other employees that would be in your department and check their home pages or blogs for links to their GitHub account.
Once you have found a GitHub account you can look at the contributors and either email or tweet them something like:
I hope things are going well for you. I noticed that you are an active contributor to XYZ corps GitHub for the XYZ project. I would really love the opportunity to interview for the XZY position. Do you know who I should talk to so I can get the process started?
Thanks so much,
There is an even better option if you want to increase the odds of getting hired. Fix a few of the bugs from their GitHub project before sending the email. If you can prove to the team that you fit in, before you even take an interview, you have already cleared a major hurdle.
Option D) Email anyone in the engineering or hiring department
If you are unable to find or create a warm connection another great option is to email someone in the company’s engineering or hiring department. You can find a person at the company by searching on LinkedIn. Then you can connect with them and message them within LinkedIn.
Another option is to first find them on LinkedIn followed by emailing them directly. Most email addresses at companies are either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
In his recent post, Felix Feng reported achieving a 22% response rate using this technique.
Option E) Use a recruitment agency
Many companies do the bulk of their recruiting by working with recruitment agencies. A great way to get your foot in the door is to find a local recruitment agency that is already doing business with the company you are interested in.
So with these tips you now know a few techniques to get your resume actually read. Do you have a hack thats worked for you? Comment below and we will add it to the list. Good luck with the job search!