If you are tired of your résumé falling into a black hole or being stymied by corporate gatekeepers, reaching out directly to hiring managers at your target companies through networking sites could be a tactic to consider. After all, why not seize the opportunity to build a meaningful connection with an actual decision-maker?
If you haven’t done this type of thing before, you may wonder what types of messages resonate with hiring managers and whether you need to be introduced first. Most of all, what is the proper etiquette?
Here’s what you need to introduce yourself to a hiring manager on social media.
Psychologists say that finding commonalities with the person you’re meeting expedites the creation of a relationship and trust. So before you reach out, research the company and the hiring manager in order to write a personalized message explaining your common interests and why you are contacting him or her on social media. Remember, tech managers and execs are more likely to reject your request if you send them a canned invitation.
Look at the keywords in a manager’s profile; also examine their professional groups, influencers, and accomplishments; these can all fold into your talking points, advised Mike Yublosky, a LinkedIn and SEO expert.
Another strategy is to review the recommendations a manager has given to others (as well as received), since these often highlight work habits and traits they want in new hires. Highlighting similar attributes in your outreach message is not only flattering; it may pique their interest.
“Look at the manager’s connections and the profiles of current employees to find connections that you have in common,” Yublosky said. While it’s not a prerequisite, it always helps to mention a mutual connection in your outreach message (or even better, have a colleague introduce you).
Constructing Your Message
Your message should not only be short and sincere, but also contain some sort of request or call to action, explained Jan Martin, VP for engineering search firm Trispyrian Resources.
“It’s always good to start with a compliment,” Martin said. Your message should also convey that you’ve done your homework and why you’re interested in connecting and pursuing a relationship.
Here’s an example: “I’ve admired your rapid ascent to becoming a highly successful product manager. I am interested in following a similar career path and wondered if you might be willing to share some tips and advice with me.”
Here’s another one: “I have been following the rise of XYZ Company and noticed that you have been instrumental in delivering projects that have improved app startup times and media download times. I have experience improving app performance in areas such as client latency and UI fluidity and would be interested in joining your highly successful engineering team; would you be open to reviewing my résumé or having an exploratory call?”
If you prefer a less direct approach, another strategy is to find out if the manager blogs, tweets or belongs to online groups. Join the conversation (you can send a message to a group member on some sites without being connected), retweet, share, or reply to the manager’s tweets. Following someone or engaging with them first makes it more likely that they will respond.
Are you ready for your close-up? Once you reach out, the manager or someone in corporate recruiting will probably review your profiles, website, coding samples and so forth before taking action. The image that you portray needs to be polished, professional and consistent.
“Make sure that your social profiles and résumé are clean and up-to-date, because once you put yourself out there, you need to be ready to take the next step,” Martin added.