What if I told you about a crazy simple cover letter trick you can use to snag job interviews practically overnight?
Would you be interested in knowing what it is? Or are you sick of using all the misfiring tips ‘n tricks so-called experts tell you to do that bring no results?
I don’t blame you…there’s a lot of garbage out there…but listen up. This works, I’ve proven it over and over…and it’s such an easy thing to do.
Find the names of the hiring managers at the companies you are applying to. Really and truly…it’s that simple and it works.
Here’s why. In the game of job search, applicants who get their resume in front of the hiring manager sooner rather than later are usually the ones shortlisted for interview.
What I mean by “sooner rather than later” is, getting your resume into and through the ATS fast.
You’re resume has about an 85% chance of being subjected to an ATS.
The ATS is programmed to pick up on certain keywords and phrases, largely those used in the job posting.
But the people who program the ATS use all kinds of criteria to filter resumes, like telling the ATS that cover letters containing the name of the hiring manager should get shot right into the “Best Candidates” Review Folder.
And that means, those resumes get seen by the hiring decision-maker sooner rather than later.
Now, bear in mind, your cover letter and resume still have to be phenomenal to get you selected for an interview.
Putting the hiring manager’s name on your cover letter might catapult it into the “review first” folder, but ultimately, it needs to be outstanding to get a slot in the “interview pile”.
If you can get on the hiring manager’s radar early…grab his or her attention and show them quickly how incredibly well-matched you are for the role, you make their job easier and stack the cards in your favor.
Starting out with a “Dear Mr. Williams” is an easy and highly-effective first step to making that happen.
So, the question is: How do you find the names of the hiring managers you want to get your resumes in front of?
And, once you do find their names, how do you get your resume into their interview pile?
Don’t know where to start? Don’t worry…I gotcha covered.
Do a Company and Employee Search on LinkedIn
This is a great way to discover who the hiring person is. Simply head over to LinkedIn and, in the search box, enter the company name.
Once you’re on the company’s LinkedIn page, you’ll see a link to “Employees”. Other than Location, LinkedIn doesn’t give much in the way of filtering options, so you’ll just have to scroll until you find people in the appropriate department.
Then, of course, narrow it down even farther by looking for the specific person you think would be the hiring decision-maker for that department.
Here’s a hot tip: Check the job posting. Often, the job posting will name of the role of the person who will probably be doing the hiring for the position you’re applying for.
For example, somewhere near the top of the job posting, it might say something like: “Reporting to the Senior Maintenance Supervisor, the Maintenance Technician will blah, blah, blah.”
That makes your job much easier…just scroll the company’s employees until you find the Senior Maintenance Supervisor, and Bob’s your uncle.
When the job posting doesn’t give you a good indication of who the hiring manager is, you’ll just have to scroll to find the person you think might be the hiring manager.
Read their profile and current role. When you find the guy or gal you think is the hiring manager for the department you’re applying to work in, phone the company’s front desk and ask if that indeed is the right person.
Others may tell you to reach out to the actual hiring person via a LinkedIn message. I say don’t.
Remember…you are only looking for the name of the hiring manager so you can address that person in your cover letter.
You’re not looking to introduce yourself to him or her, or to let them know you’re sending in your resume.
Calling the front desk lets you be sure the person you think is the right person is the right person.
Some people don’t keep their LinkedIn profiles up-to-the-minute, and the person you think is the right one may have recently left the company, or, may have moved within the company and is no longer head of that department.
It’s as simple as calling up the front desk and saying, “Hi, my name is Joe Smith and I’ll be sending in my resume for the maintenance technician position. Is John Williams the individual I’ll address my cover to?”
Short and sweet…you’re not asking to speak to someone who probably doesn’t have the time to speak with you.
If the receptionist doesn’t know who the hiring manager is, ask her to put you through to HR. Someone there will know. Then simply ask the same question.
I’ve had clients luck out and actually get put through to the hiring manager, and if that happens to you, great!, but keep it brief.
Use the same blurb you gave the receptionist, saying instead of “Is John Williams the individual…?“, now say, “I understand you’re the gentleman reviewing resumes for the maintenance technician role.“
What if you can’t find an obvious person when you scroll the company’s employees? No worries…try a second line of attack, still using LinkedIn:
Enlist a Company Insider to Help You Address Your Cover Letter
If you can’t identify a possible hiring manager for the department you’ll be applying to, rather than risk getting it wrong, find someone who appears to be in a role within the same department as the one you want.
Approach this person via a message with something like this:
“Hi Dave — You and I are both members of [whatever the appropriate group is] here on LinkedIn and I noticed you’re on the maintenance team at [name of company]. I’m preparing to send in my resume for the maintenance technician opportunity currently available and wonder if you know who the best person is for me to address my cover letter to.”
Chances are, they’ll give you the name, and, better yet, now you have a name you can “drop” in your cover letter!
This is a judgement call on your part. You can ask the person who gave you the hiring manager’s name if you can mention him/her in your cover letter, or, you can just go ahead and do it.
I honestly don’t see what it hurts by opening your cover letter with, “Dave Brown, Foreman in your Division 3 maintenance department, was kind enough to verify you are the person who is interested in learning about my suitability for the maintenance technician opportunity at [name of company].”
While this is not an official “referral”, it establishes some kind of connection with the company, no matter how tenuous. (You can learn here why referrals are the best way to open your cover letter). Anything you can say to make your cover letter stand out helps! And trust me, it will put you miles ahead of the competition.
Someone is going to get noticed early by the decision maker.
Don’t you think that someone should be you?
The simple gesture of taking the time to learn the hiring manager’s name and using it to address him directly in your cover letter has an incredibly positive impact.
It worked for Brody. He found the names of three hiring managers and we addressed each of his three cover letters directly to that person.
Brody got called in for interviews for all three positions.
What do you have to lose? Take the time, get the name, get the interview!
Don’t forget to grab your FREE copy of HOW TO WRITE A KILLER RESUME!
It’s full of examples to help you write your amazing resume and cover letter!
Terri is an expert resume-writer and a pretty good job-search coach. During her 30 years in the conventional work force, Terri was fired from 11 jobs, got laid off from 2 jobs, quit 3 jobs, sued 1 employer (successfully), made another cry, and wrote over 100 resumes for herself alone! Since embracing the good old “take this job and shove it” attitude, Terri decided to put all of her shitty “workin’ for the man” experiences and life-lessons to good use, and thus was born www.goresumepro.ca/blog. Enjoy!