If you’re applying to jobs by shooting off your resume through an online portal, you’re doing it all wrong. This is especially true when looking for a job at notable companies like Google, Apple and Amazon, which receive thousands of applicants a day.
The best way to get your foot in the door at lofty companies like these is by reaching out to someone you know who works there.
That’s according to Neal Goldman, founder of RelationShip Science, a business tool that helps companies find who they know at other organizations. The relationship mapping tool shows how a company, place or list is connected to another entity, with the end goal of seeing who can provide you with an introduction. For example, if an investment bank is looking to work with a specific organization, the program will match their relationship to see who they know in common.
“Relationships are an incredibly important asset,” Goldman tells CNBC Make It. “People make things happen.”
Knowing who to reach out to can be tricky, says the relationship expert. Frequently, there’s someone within a company with just a few degrees of separation from you. That person is who you need to get touch with, he says.
But once you’ve honed in on the necessary contact, how do you get them to respond? Goldman says there are five steps you should follow:
1. Get a mutual connection to introduce you
If you have a mutual acquaintance, reach out to that person and see if they’ll introduce you, says Goldman. You have a greater chance of getting the person within that company to respond if someone you both know loops you in.
Goldman notes that you can certainly try emailing by yourself with a warm introduction. However, everyone is so “bombarded and overwhelmed” at work that it’s more likely you won’t get a response.
“If a person introduces you, [the contact] is exponentially more likely to get back to you,” he says.
2. Write the introduction email
Regardless of how close you are with the mutual connection, the person making the introduction is doing you a favor and probably “super busy,” says Goldman. It’s up to you to make things as easy as possible.
Goldman suggests drafting the introductory email for the person using a few sentences that briefly discuss who you are and what you want. That way, the person making the introduction can quickly scan the email and shoot it off to the recipient.
“It makes everything frictionless,” says Goldman.
3. Get to the point of the conversation
Once the introduction has been made and the other person has responded, remove the mutual connection from the email chain, says the relationship expert.
Once that’s done, delve into why you are reaching out. Goldman says that the more clear information you provide from the start, the more likely you are to get a response back from the person.
In fact, he says, the next email should be a maximum of three sentences, discussing who you are, why you want to talk to them and proposing next steps.
“Be super simple. Use clarity,” he says. “The person either want to talk to you or they don’t.”
4. Schedule a phone call
Now that you’ve grabbed the person’s attention, and he or she knows what you want, ask if you can schedule a phone call. Better yet, ask if there’s an assistant in the office who can set up a phone call between the two of you.
“It makes it easier for them and gives them actual next steps,” says Goldman. “Plus they don’t have to set it up themselves or check their schedules.”
If you’re referred to the assistant, treat that person the same way you’d treat who you are trying to get on the phone.
“Recognize the deep humanity in this chain,” says Goldman. “Treat the assistant respectfully and thankfully.”
The business expert suggests asking for a brief, 15-minute call and says that you should make sure to keep your schedule open for them.
“Be upfront and appreciative and you’ll be able to talk to whom you want to talk to,” he says.
5. Follow-up without being a menace
So the person canceled your scheduled phone call or isn’t responding back to your emails. That’s standard, says Goldman.
“A lot of people are just busy. It’s not about you, it’s about them and their life,” he says. “Be amenable and try to accommodate changes.”
Goldman says it’s also important to have an “authentic tone” when reaching out once more. He suggests starting the conversation by saying the following: “Hey, I don’t mean to be a pain” or “Is there anything I can do to facilitate this?”
Goldman adds that oftentimes you will try to get in touch with a person and for one reason or another, things don’t work out. But then you might meet them later, he says, and establish a great rapport.
“Timing is important,” says Goldman. “But understand the reality that not everyone will respond.”