Targeting Decision Makers
In today’s highly competitive job market that’s governed by technology, it’s essential that you have several different methods working concurrently when applying for jobs. You don’t want to be part of the masses of applicants who just submit their professionally written resume electronically and wait for an opportunity to come to them.
This is a very passive and ineffective way of career hunting with very stiff competition. You want to incorporate an active plan into your career search by utilizing your powerful resume/LinkedIn to apply for positions and identify the people who can hire you.
Connect with The Right People
The most important objective with job hunting is to connect with the people who can make the decision to hire you, which is a person who is one or two levels above you.
First. you want to connect with people who know and work for the hiring managers that can potentially connect you with them or at least give you a referral. Start with your friends and colleagues (both current and former) to see if they can connect you with the hiring manager for the company and job you’re seeking.
Even if your friend or former colleague works in an entirely different department at the company you’re interested in, then they should easily be able to locate the hiring manager for the department you’re seeking to work for.
LinkedIn is a great networking tool and is a great way to identify people working within a company. Virtually every company and professional today is on LinkedIn, so it should be the first place you go if you don’t know anyone personally working at the company you’re interested in.
Login into your LinkedIn account and enter the company name and the job title most likely to be the hiring manager (that you would directly work for) in the search box on top and hit enter.
Then, select the “people” option underneath the search option to ensure you’re only seeing people working at the company.
Scroll through the list of names and select the most likely hiring manager(s) who are one or two positions above you. Be sure it’s in the location you want to work. By default, LinkedIn will list the results that are closest to your location first.
If you’re having trouble identifying the hiring manager through LinkedIn, another thing you can do is find the names of people who are peer-level roles within the same department (location) that you want.
You can connect with the person and send them a message with something like: “Hello Mike, You and I both work as financial analysts and belong to the same LinkedIn groups. I see that you’re on the finance team at [COMPANY]. I’ve had my eye on working there forever and noticed there’s an opening for a senior financial analyst. Would you happen to know who the best person for me to contact would be and who I would be reporting to?”
Another way to identify the hiring manager is through Google. You can directly ask who the hiring manager is in the search bar.
For example, you can type: “Who is the senior financial analyst at Goldman Sachs Salt Lake City.” Often the results will show the hiring manager’s LinkedIn page or social media page with their name.
Company websites often break down the team members for the executive levels (which may be what you’re looking for) but smaller companies may list the entire management staff.
It’s certainly worth a look at the company’s website since in addition to potentially identifying the decision maker you can also research the company to give you some more insight and prepare you for the interview.
Contact the Company Directly
Finally, you can call the company and ask them who makes the hiring decisions for the position you are applying for. Of course, there is no guarantee that the “gatekeeper” on the other end of the phone will provide that information, but if you cannot identify the decision makers from the methods previously outlined then this may be a last resort that may prove fruitful.
Connecting with the people who can actually offer you a job is the only way you are going to get hired. Targeting the specific hiring managers at the companies you apply for is a very powerful strategy that will distinguish you from the masses of applicants who simply apply to dozens of jobs online and cross their fingers hoping for a call-back.
Dr. Phillip Gold is President/CEO of Empire Resume and has vast experience writing resumes for both professionals and service-members transitioning from the military into civilian roles. He served as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force responsible for leading nuclear missile security. Phillip is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and holds a BA in Communications from The Ohio State University, an MS in Instructional Technology, an MBA in Finance, and a PhD in Finance.