Job application success — make contact before you apply
Many job seekers would give their right arm to have some insight into what an employer is looking over and above all the other applicants.
In this seemingly faceless and automated world of recruitment - how can you give yourself a competitive advantage? Of course, you must tailor your CV and application but there is one thing you can also do that not many people will think about.
Find the name of the recruitment manager
With a little online research and perhaps a telephone call or two, it should not be too difficult to find the name of the recruitment manager. If a vacancy is being advertising by a consultancy then the name might even appear on the advertisement. Finding and contacting this person can put you directly in front of the person making decisions on whom to call to interview. They might be able to give you an upper hand in exactly the skills, experience and expertise they are looking for.
Do a little investigating
The recruiting manager could also be a line manager or HR contact responsible for managing the process. The contact details of the advertisement are the first place to look. This can also give you valuable information on the location or even address of the employer. You are beginning to build a picture. Checkout the company website. This may well have details of key personnel. You can also call their reception and ask for the person managing the recruitment campaign. LinkedIn is also a great place to find relevant contacts too. So now you have the name, it’s time to make contact.
Telephone don’t message!
Telephone calls are great. The interaction you can have through a two way conversation in real time is far superior to any kind of typed messaging application. A telephone call is direct and enables you to shape and then reshape questions if necessary to ensure you get the answers you want. Most people will pick up a work call, after all, it could be their boss or a new customer. Do not even leave a voice message, this will not be returned. Phone back. Stay determined and do not be deterred.
Find the inside track
Make sure you know what you want to find out and have some good pre-prepared questions. It is likely there will be some clarifications needed around the person specification. You can find out whether things are absolute requirements or if there is some wiggle room. If the vacancy is being re-advertised then you can find out why? Has the spec changed? May be previous candidates didn’t have enough x or y. This extra level of detail could potentially give you the edge as it is something that you can emphasise in your application. Conversely, it may help you decide not to apply if a particular experience is something you do not have.
The two-fold advantage
Firstly, the fact that you have bothered to make contact and ask questions will usually sit very well with the recruiter. You are now a known person, and this has become as ‘warm’ application. Secondly, you can now tailor your CV and cover letter to make sure you include and highlight any of the additional information gathered. So, do not be a shrinking violet and make contact first. There is nothing to lose and everything to be gained.
This article is written by Neville Rose, Director of CV Writers.
CV Writers are the official CV partner to ACCA Careers.