using a personal connection when applying for a job

A reader writes:

I saw an ad on one of the online sites for a job I want to apply for. So I went to the firm’s address and found the job and there was a link to apply. The thing is that I don’t trust the apply online sites. Most of the time, even if I am very qualified for a job, I never hear back. I know of the person who is the director of the department that the job is in, we are members of the same professional organization. Would it be bad form to just send my resume and cover letter to her? The online site does not even have a place to add a cover letter.

If you have a personal connection at the company, you should absolutely take advantage of it and send your materials directly to her. This would be true even if your contact there were in a completely unrelated department — but since she’s even in the same department you’re applying to (and possibly the manager of the position since she’s the director), this is an ideal set-up.

It’s always better to use a personal in if you have one. You can even use a friend’s personal in, if your friend is willing. The idea is just to get a live person to shepherd your application along. Good luck!

{ 7 comments… read them below }

  1. Anonymous*

    Thank you so much for the advice. I took the advice and sent my resume and cover letter to her. Although I have not heard back from her directly, the HR department of the firm contacted me for a MS Word copy of my resume. I’m not sure if that will definitely get me an interview but at least it is a start. I think had I just applied on the online site, I would not have even heard back from the department. Thank you so much!

  2. Anonymous*

    So far I have not heard back from them but I’m waiting. Their HR office posted the job on the local library assocation website also. The only thing I am worried about is with the same idea that I know someone there is that someone in HR will know someone where I work and will contact my manager that I am looking because the firm where I work has a current opening and some of the resumes look great but instead of letting us interview them, our HR department is contacting people at their employers to find out more about them.

  3. Ask a Manager*

    A prospective employer should not contact your current employer without your explicit permission — this is pretty much universal etiquette, because we know that it could cause real problems for you! This is so universally accepted that you shouldn’t need to worry about it happening, unless there’s some horrible fluke, like the prospective employer is married to your current manager :)

  4. Anonymous*

    I don’t think I will even get an interview which is disheartening at best. I have not heard anything back from anyone at all. I do have a fear that even though it is universal etiquette, one of the HR people at my firm came from the firm I was applying to and she’s been known to check other firms for candidates here so I would guess the same thing could happen. Sorry, I really am frustrated with my current place of employment. Things are a bit unprofessional to say at best where I now work.

  5. Anonymous*

    I got the job!! I start in 2 weeks! Thank you! Turns out their whole interviewing process is just slow!

  6. Anonymous*

    Hi, I want to open up this topic again. I too have a very good connection to submit my resume. He is the Board of Director for the company; after a week, of him saying he will submit my resume, I contacted him again to check on the status. He said he has submitted to the director of that team and will touch base with him on last Friday. I still have not gotten any phone call (now Wednesday) and understand the hiring process can be slow and everyone is busy. I want to know how much time should I wait before I ask him again? I don’t want to be a pest and I also don’t want the opportunity to pass.

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