Since I work in the human resource field as a recruiter and HR professional, I am often asked by those in the job hunt how to approach individuals in my own field. Understand that those in the HR industry especially in this current economic climate receive hundreds of calls from would-be job seekers even without a single opening.
Catching a recruiter or human resource professional at the right place and the right time takes a little bit of luck and a whole lot of preparation. Prospective job seekers need to ensure their marketing materials (resume and cover letter) are top notch and specific to the position. My advice to job seekers who desire making meaningful connections with industry professionals, is that timing is everything and preparation is essential in maintaining a professional and polished front.
When approaching HR, do your best to walk in the mile of their shoes and make the most of the moment when doing the following:
- Cold Call. As an HR Professional I get job inquiries daily. Prepare for two separate scenarios either talking live or via voicemail. Be ready for your fifteen second elevator pitch when inquiring about a vacant position. Be direct and to the point respecting the HR Professional’s time. If leaving a voicemail, speak slowing and leave a brief message. Make sure to leave your name at least twice, your phone number, and why you called. The best times to contact someone live is just after the schedule workday begins or just after lunch. These are times when I'm likely in the office just before or after daily meetings and other work-related activities.
- Using Your Network. Email or call those within your network and make them aware of your intentions. Be clear about the type of position you are looking for, benefits, and other items like relocation. Ask for referrals and contact names of target companies. Don’t be afraid to follow up either by phone or email referencing your referral’s name.
- Email. Just like a voicemail, your email to a human resource professional should be to the point and outline your intentions. Attach the necessary marketing materials including your resume and cover letter. Make sure to include your contact information including your email and phone numbers. Make sure to reference the person with whom provided their contact information in your email. I am happy to forward resume and job inquiries to a hiring manager contact if I have a good, personal relationship with the job seeker.