Getting in the Door: Alternative Strategies to Reach Hiring Managers

I know from long experience how hard it is to get noticed by a hiring manager, especially in a labor market like the one certain sectors are experiencing. The traditional job search method of browsing job boards, sending out resumes, and patiently waiting for an interview call can feel pointless. It's not but it can feel that way.getting in the door 

Often in today's competitive job market, one must seek out and make alternatives to getting noticed. If you're seeking new opportunities, it's essential to be proactive and think outside the box. Here are some alternative strategies to help you "get in the door" and in front of the hiring manager.

  1. Leverage Personal Networks - Reach out to friends, family, and acquaintances, even church or community groups, to see if they know anyone in your desired industry or company. A personal recommendation can make all the difference.
  2. Professional Networking Platforms - Engage with content, join groups, and make connections with people in your desired field. A personalized message to a hiring manager about a specific role can grab their attention. Follow industry leaders and participate in relevant discussions. Your insights can leave an impression.
  3. Webinars and Podcasts - Showcase your expertise by hosting or being a guest an online event on a topic you're passionate about. It will not only boost your personal brand but might also attract hiring managers who see value in your skills. Podcasters are often looking for interesting guests. Don't be afraid to reach out to them.
  4. Engage in Local Community Events - Participate in or volunteer for community events, workshops, or seminars. Interacting with locals can lead to unexpected connections and opportunities. Reach out to local governments or area chambers of commerce or Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis, or Elks to participate in their events.
  5. Freelance or Contract Work - Temporary roles or freelance projects can be a foot in the door, giving you a chance to prove your skills and build relationships. Offer to help with a pressing need or solve a problem regardless of their ability to pay you what you're currently worth.
  6. Alumni Networks - Engage with your school's alumni events or online platforms. Former students often have a strong sense of camaraderie and might offer leads or introductions. 
  7. Informational Interviews - Approach professionals in your desired field for a casual chat, perhaps even as a practice podcast. While it's not a direct job application, it builds relationships and offers valuable insights.
  8. Cold Outreach with a Twist - Instead of a standard cover letter, send a project or a proposal relevant to the company's current challenges. Demonstrating your proactive problem-solving skills can set you apart.
  9. Engage with Company Content - Follow your desired company's blogs, social media, and other channels. Engage thoughtfully with their content. It might get you noticed by the right people.
  10. Attend Trade Shows or Industry Conferences - Even if you're not an exhibitor, attending these events can provide networking opportunities. Having face-to-face interactions with company representatives can leave a lasting impression. Introduce yourself. Ask questions. Attend presentations and mix with those who stay to speak to the presenter afterwards. Tell them you're looking for your next great role.
  11. Create a Portfolio or Personal Website - Showcase your work, projects, and accomplishments in one place. Share the link proactively when networking or reaching out.
  12. Collaborate on a Side Project - Join forces with others to work on a side project relevant to your industry. It not only hones your skills but also broadens your network.

In conclusion, while traditional job search methods have their place, "getting in the door" often requires creative and proactive strategies. The key is to stand out in a way that showcases your passion, expertise, and genuine interest in the company or role. Don't limit yourself to the list above. Be willing to try something new even if it's unconventional. By diversifying your approach, you increase the chances of catching the hiring manager's eye and ultimately securing that dream job.