Job Hunting Tip #5 – Getting Aggressive with Unsolicited Outreaches

If a target company has a job posting that is a fit, then obviously you should follow the stated process for submitting your resume and then try to reach someone personally in the HR department, or better yet use your personal network to get to the hiring manager.  But if this isn’t the case, and you can’t seem to get any friendly introductions, what should you do?  Well, once choice is to keep waiting to see if something shakes loose.  But if you reach a point where you need to get more aggressive, then it’s time to take matters into your own hands.

My recommendation in this case is to reach out to some appropriate person in the company on your own.  It is important to reach out to the right personal at the right level.  In other words, if you are seeking a sales rep position in a 2,000 employee company, you should not reach out to the CEO but rather the Sales VP or maybe a regional Sales Director.  You’re going to get the names of these people from LinkedIn, the company website or your personal network.

The best method of doing this is email.  Even if you don’t know the email address of the person you want to reach out to, it’s not hard to figure out.  Check the website Contact page and the bottom of any company-produced press releases to see if any person’s email address is listed.  For example, if the target company is Ipswitch Incorporated and you see a press contact (John Doe) listed as jdoe@ipswitch.com, then you can pretty well predict the company’s email nomenclature.  If you can’t find any such clues, then with about 90% odds of success, you should try the following three approaches:

There are three important things to think about when sending unsolicited emails: tone, content and etiquette.  Each is described below.

  • Tone  – The main thing is that you don’t want to appear desperate.  Instead, you want to come across as proactive, self-confident and somewhat aggressive (but not over the top).  In other words, in addition to the traditional methods of job searching, you are taking the initiative to reach out to this executive at a company you are genuinely interested in.  If the target of your email interprets it in this manner, then you have accomplished objective number one.
  • Content  – Absolutely, positively do not regurgitate your resume in the body of the email.  The email is to let the person know that you are specifically interested in his/her company for a job within his/her oversight.  You should let them know what it is about their company that specifically interests you and which role you are interested in and suited for.  If you don’t want to paint yourself into a corner or narrow your possibilities too much, that’s OK.  But don’t be too general either.  The other thing you must include is a call-to-action.  In other words, what are you asking of this person?  I suggest that you ask them to briefly review your attached resume to determine if there is a possible fit within their organization.  If so, you are available for a phone conversation, office visit or lunch to more properly introduce yourself and your capabilities.
  • Etiquette – First, remember that this executive probably receives 100 or more emails each day.  So don’t ask too much of them.  Secondly, if you don’t get a reply within 48 hours, don’t send it again asking if they saw it.  It is OK to send again just once if you don’t get a reply within 4-5 days.  But be extremely polite when you do this.  Forward the original email with only one or two sentences.  Something like, “I’m sorry to bother you again, but wanted to make sure you received my original email.  If one of your colleagues or staff members is more appropriate for me to communicate with, I would be very grateful for an introduction.”

You’ll find an example of an email outreach to an executive you have not been personally introduced to Here.

See the rest of my series on Job Hunting Tips here.  I also have a related series for Resume Writing and one for Interviewing.

Author: Gordon Daugherty

Over the past 15 years Gordon has seen nearly 1,000 startup pitches, advised more than 200 entrepreneurs and been involved with raising over $45M in growth and venture capital. Throughout his 28 year career in high tech, serving twice as President and three times as CMO, Gordon has both an IPO and a $200M acquisition exit under his belt. Now his emphasis is purely focused on helping startups and early stage tech companies. Through his Shockwave Innovations advisory practice and as Managing Director for Austin’s Capital Factory startup accelerator, Gordon is an active angel investor, VC and startup advisor.

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