Found a job advertised? Then don't apply…

Frank Hutton

.. not just yet, anyway.

In this world of highly competitive interview and selection procedures, you need to be savvy to gain an upper hand.

CVs are usually not the best way of showing your passion, determination and personality and often it’s apparent work experience, previous employers and qualifications that swing the day in the first round.

So if you're a little lacking in those areas but know you could do a great job, how could you skew things in your favour?


Just follow this procedure:

  1. You've found the job - check the company website or LinkedIn to try and find the Line Manager responsible for the area in which you will be working. Not the uber boss, just the person who would probably get the rollicking if things were going wrong.
  2. Look to make a connection with them via LinkedIn if they are present there, or indeed via email if not. Explain you are reviewing your career options and like the look of their company (if you don’t, don't bother applying for the job at all!) because of x, y and x reasons. Add your CV if applying via email. 
  3. Persevere if nothing comes back in the first week - call if you emailed and leave a message (you probably won't get through but it will prompt them to feel mildly guilty and perhaps respond to you). If you approached them via LinkedIn, email them, then call. Nicely and gently.
  4. It’s possible then they will come back to you and mention that they have a role live. It’s possible they will accept your CV in application at that point; but likely also they will tell you to apply through the normal channels. Either way, you have gained an advantage.
  5. If applying to HR via email or in the covering note section on an Applicant Tracking System, mention that you had spoken to the Line Manager (use their name).
  6. Make a stonking application (cover note, CV, relevant experience made clear)!
  7. Follow up and send a note to the Line Manager thanking them and telling them you have applied.
  8. Await the outcome!

If you do not hear back from the Line Manager, don't despair. It’s quite likely they will have seen and read your communication which is still good. Make an application if you've heard nothing after 10 days. Drop them a line to say you’d spotted the role advertised, have applied and that you hope to get to meet them due course.

Why does this make a difference?

  1. It distinguishes you from others who simply adhere to systems
  2. It shows you as having initiative, not waiting for jobs to come to you
  3. It shows you as interactive and communicative
  4. It helps the Manager to know your name better than others (see my piece here on name familiarity and CVs)
  5. It may mean that even if you don't get that job, they may contact you directly when there’s a different, better suited opportunity on offer.

So get hunting but be a savvy hunter. It’s more effort initially, but not more effort than endless unanswered and unsuccessful applications.