What’s the Best Way to Apply for a Job When I Don’t Know Anyone in the Company? (VIDEO)

In this video, I provide three different ways to find out who the hiring managers before conceding and applying through HR and the applicant tracking system.


The question I received was, “What’s the best way to apply for a job when you don’t know someone who works at the firm?”

This goes back to the mistake many job hunters made of only thinking that if I know someone who works at the firm, they will refer me and my network has its limitations and yada yada yada. As a result, people look at their network as only the person I know and obviously people you. So you have to remember that that person that you know can introduce you to some and that’s really the key to it.

Now professionally, you can do it very simply; you have a LinkedIn network (You do a LinkedIn network, right?) and you’re looking for the second level connections that you have to see whether or not there are people who you know who can introduce you to someone who already works there.

Barring that, what you do is you can use Google custom search tool that I developed, it’s a simple one LI-USA.info is the web address. What you do with it is use Boolean search and start searching for people using the tool. The idea is (number one) this is searching all public profiles on LinkedIn. Understand if they have a public profile, you can find it.

Number two is you are looking for people who might be in the role or someone who works at the firm who might work in the department who can give you a heads up, tell you who the right person is and give you a sense of what their like so you can reach out to them.

Why would they help me?

I assume if you’re asking the question, you’re willing to go the extra mile; if you not willing to go the extra mile, just apply to the applicant tracking system; but I think that’s the lazy approach.

The smart approach, the effective one is getting an introduction from someone who already works for the firm, who knows the hiring manager. So you can say to them, “look I understand that your firm is trying to hire someone. I don’t know who the hiring manager is. Would you point me to the right individual? I’ll keep your name out of it and reach out to them.”

Or you can say, “I understand firm or perhaps your department is looking for someone and I would love an introduction to the individual but, I know you don’t know me is you might not want to go out on a limb. Is there something that would help you feel more comfortable in referring me to this individual because I don’t want to go through the applicant tracking system or HR. What I want to do is just talk to the hiring manager.”

By doing this repeatedly, talking to different individuals at firms, you can eventually circle back to the applicant tracking system if you really need to. But by shortcutting the filter (the ATS, the HR individual) and trying to get to the manager. Whether you use LI-USA.info, whether you have an enormous LinkedIn network and can get to this individual, however, you do it…

By the way, there is the that the old school way I almost forgot to tell you the old school way. That is you get up, get on the phone and talk to the reception and ask for the person who’s responsible for (then describe the function that’s involved). Then allow yourself to get bounced around to different people who will eventually get you closer and closer and closer to the hiring manager until you actually find them. Sometimes if you call and ask about who’s the person who’s hiring for such and such, then you’re going to get HR and that’s what you are trying to avoid.

You allow yourself to get bounced from person to person. If they have no clue as to where to start, you might try something like investor relations or public relations and ask them. What you’re looking for something that is related but not necessarily the specific area. After all, they might have access to data that can point you to the right person.


Do you really think employers are trying to help you? You already know you can’t trust recruiters—they tell as they think you need to know to take the job they after representing so they collect their payday.

The skills needed to find a job are different yet complement the skills needed to do a job.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter has been a career coach and recruiter for what seems like one hundred years.

JobSearchCoachingHQ.com is there to change that with great advice for job hunters—videos, my books and guides to job hunting, podcasts, articles, PLUS a community for you to ask questions of PLUS the ability to ask me questions where I function as your ally with no conflict of interest answering your questions.

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