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It’s excuse busting time – you can forever more, no longer use the words “I couldn’t find a contact to follow-up with,” when applying for jobs. Finding a contact isn’t magic, it takes a few steps, but not a lot of time – and it will have a big impact on your candidacy.

Online Application Hell

Applying to a position online is easy – go to the company site, fill-in some information and hit submit. Easy breezy… and so impersonal. Recruiters are getting hundreds, if not thousands, of applications for each position, that your resume has to be stellar to stand out in the crowd… or you have to go the extra mile and follow-up.

And I am asked constantly (think: an average of 10 contacts per day), “do you know who the hiring manager is for this position? Could you find him/her for me?” Here are the steps I take to do it – so you can find your hiring manager/recruiter for all of the positions you apply to.

Start with LinkedIn. If the position was posted on LinkedIn, the person who posted the position is usually on the right-hand side of the page. Easy breezy – you can then ask to connect with them, or follow a few steps below to find their contact info if you feel uncomfortable friending them. If the position is posted elsewhere, LinkedIn should still be your first destination.

I usually start with a company search from the top bar. The default is a people search, so simply use the drop-down menu to select company and enter the company’s name. Once that search pops-up, select the company (if it’s a large organization, there will most likely be several different divisions that pop-up, so be sure you are selecting the correct one – refer to the job posting). Lists of people you know who have any association with the company, will populate. Then on the left-hand side of LinkedIn, start filtering to find the right person (image below).

li_filtersThe filters that I find most effective are location, if you can get city-specific that’s even better, and then select current employees (in the example on the left, this is shown by Abbott being highlighted in orange). The people that are remaining, will be your best chance at finding a contact.

The way that LinkedIn provides the people information is name and title – so you can easily see who is listed as a recruiter, or if you are aiming bigger, who could potentially be the hiring manager within the department.

You’re getting close – the one (potentially) big block that LinkedIn has changed, is that unless you are a first or second connection, you will only see the person’s first name and last name initial. But, there are some sleuthy ways around that! The easiest way is to still click on the person to view their profile and then… scroll to the right-hand side of their profile to the section of “People Who Viewed This Profile Also Viewed…” And there, you will find the first and last names!

Click on one of the people in that section that has the closest title to the person you are really interested in, and then go to the bottom-right of their profile and see the “people who viewed” section again – voila! You will now have the first and last name of your intended contact.

Now is when you make Google your friend. This is the hardest part of the process – finding their email address. You can start by searching the person’s first and last name with the company in the search bar, and sometimes you luck out and their email address is there! If not, I then try a “first name last name @ company name email” search. Sometimes that’s the key… But sometimes, you have to dig even deeper.

Start on the company’s own website – they may have contacts posted, particularly in the Public Relations or Press section. From there, you can learn the company’s email convention – you know, how they set-up their email addresses. Melissa.Anzman@company.com or manzman@company.com.

But, if that’s still not the case, head back to Google and start digging deeper. You can use a site like Jigsaw.com or even Spoke or PeekYou to find their info. Either way, it is most likely out there – waiting for you to find it.

Success! You now have a contact behind the wall to follow-up with!

And the best part about this, is you can use the same steps to find contacts for various positions – it’s the best “one-size-fits-all” method I have been able to find to date.

Closing Thoughts

Why am I concentrating on email? Getting an email is preferable for the majority of recruiters/HR people out there. Phone calls are usually… annoying. I’ll leave it up to you to determine the best method of following up, but the same search methods will be effective for both email and phone.

Also, you may reach the wrong contact – it happens. There is nothing “bad” that will follow an unsolicited email… other than it will be deleted. This fear should be considered busted.

I mentioned that you should connect with them on LinkedIn if possible – and this is the best strategy  Once you are connected, you will have their email address from their profile, so you save yourself time and effort with searching. Oh, and use the email address in their profile – do not email them through LinkedIn.

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