By Chandra Turner
Hey, here’s some advice: Email the hiring manager directly with your job application.
Um, duh. You knew that already.
Doing whatever you can to get in front of a hiring manager and standing out from the crowd (and algorithms) of an application portal is job-hunting 101. There can be hundreds of applications to any one editorial or content job (especially in a competitive market like we are in now) and yours can easily get lost in the vortex. Or worse, the ‘bots can eliminate you before a human even gets to it!
Even though we all know we should email a live human, doing so is easier said than done. Here are a few tricks I’ve learned working as a recruiter (and a journalist) to find a real life person and their email address .
First you have to find the right person.
Oftentimes the name of the employee hiring for the role is not listed on the job posting. But often their title is (i.e., “This job reports to the CMO …”). To track the person down, do some digging. (Hey, you are a journalist, right?!)
Check the company’s Linked In page. Every company is on Linked In and most of their employees are too. Go to the company’s page and click on People in the column on the left. See screenshot below of Bustle’s page as an example.
You can usually easily scan the page, if the organization is small, or use the search box if it’s large, to find the appropriate contact. (See screenshot below.) If you’re applying for an editor or writer position, chances are good your hiring manager is the Editorial Director, Editor in Chief, Content Director, Head of Content, or Chief Contact Officer (CCO) depending on the level of the job. If you are applying for a social media, content marketing, or marketing role, it’s likely the Marketing Director or Chief Marketing Officer (CMO).
Leverage your connections. While you’re on the company page (see first screenshot), you’ll also see any personal connections of yours who work there. Hello! Ask them if they’ll forward your application to the hiring manager directly. They could even make money off of you for the referral! Win-win!
Check the company’s About Us. Some companies, especially smaller ones and startups, have bios on their About Us page with department heads and other team members. Look for the name of the person whose title makes the most sense as the direct report for your job. You could get lucky and their email address could be in that bio or linked via their byline on the site.
By now you should at least have one name of someone who could be the hiring manager for your role. To find their actually email address ….
Now you have to get stealthy.
Check Ed2010’s email format cheat sheet. We are constantly adding to this list of email formats at the top media brands (Hearst, Meredith, Vox, etc). Do your part: Email us at [email protected] if you have an email configuration for a media brand that isn’t on here!
Check Linked In again. Plug the person’s name into the general Search field — you could get lucky and they list their email address on their profile. If they do, it’ll be in the Contact Info link or About at the top of their profile. Don’t email their personal email address though. That’s bad form.
Google their name + name of the company + .com. Again, you might get lucky. Sometimes random email addresses within the company pop up with this search and you can just steal the email format.
Use an email finder service. Most of these services are free up to a certain limit. Do note that they aren’t 100% accurate. But it’s worth a shot!
Finally, don’t screw up the actual email! Follow these tips:
Be respectful. Email is a sacred space. You are evading that space so only send an application to someone’s work email if you are truly qualified and interested in a specific open position — not if you just generally want to work at the company. Sounds basic, but it’s annoying to be spammed with impersonal and irrelevant job applications.
Name drop. If you have any connection whatsoever with the person you are writing, reference it in the subject line, or first line of your email. I.e., “Chandra Turner sent me” or “My friend Chandra Turner suggested I reach out about the job …” btw: Don’t name drop anyone without their permission (including me!); the first thing the receiver will do is forward that email to your mutual connection and say, “Hey, What do you think of So and So? She just applied for a job …” You want your connection to be at the ready to put in a good word.
Follow up once. Don’t poke the bear. If you don’t get a reply to your first follow up, give up. You can assume that either a) they forwarded your message to the right person already b) they aren’t interested / don’t think you are qualified c) they’re too overwhelmed to read your email. In any of those scenarios, there’s not much that bugging them will do than annoy them. And you don’t want to be known as the person who applies for every job and follows up 5x each time. (All hiring managers know this person, don’t be that person.)
Apply via the official channels, too. You might as well go through the process of applying through the portal (pour a glass of wine; some corporate hiring systems take a while) at the same time as sending your email. Never hurts to have too many applications in, especially if they are with different departments. (You never know where they are in the hiring process or who is making the first round decisions.) If you have a contact for someone in HR or a recruiter, apply straight to them, too. It’s nice to acknowledge that you have applied in other ways. “I already applied via [x location/person], but I’m so excited about this position, I wanted to send you a quick note too. Thanks so much. ….”
Got it? Good luck.
Need help with that cover letter? This template is magic.
Chandra Turner is founder and CEO of Ed2010 and Talent Fairy. She is a talent recruiter specializing in the content and media space. She also offers personalized career coaching for media professionals at all stages of their career.
Sign up for Ed’s weekly newsletter for Ed2010 and Talent Fairy exclusive listings, offers, and insider career advice.