Jan 18

How to Contact an Employer Prior to Applying

Contacting an employer prior to submitting an application can be a delicate or tricky balance, and depends on the nature of any pre-existing relationships with individuals on the hiring team.

In a scenario where you know a hiring manager and want to reach out in an unsolicited way, your pre-existing relationship (assuming it’s not a mere acquaintance from high school, for example) gives you an open door to reach out. That’s one of the benefits of building strong relationships with a good network of people.

The approach could go something like this: “Good morning, Jane. [Insert small talk such as I hope you are enjoying the warmer weather this week]. I noticed on the [Organization] employment listings that you are hiring a [Job Title] for the [Department]. The position seems to align very well with my background and interests, and I am wondering if I may speak with you for a few minutes to learn more about your team and the position. I understand if this would cause a conflict of interest for you, but wanted to check just in case. Please let me know either way at your convenience. Thank you for your time, and I hope you find a great candidate for the position.”

In a scenario where you would be interested in an organization that has an open position but you don’t know anyone there, the most effective approach would be to conduct an informational interview with someone who is not directly involved with the hiring. Such a person can provide honest information about the organization, possible insights into the general hiring process, and ideally a referral to the hiring manager (which may include physically sending your resume on your behalf or simply allowing you to reference your conversation in a cover letter).

Knowing when and how to contact an employer prior to applying just might give your application the boost it needs to get noticed. What are your strategies for reaching out? Share your success stories in the comments below.