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Top 10 Ways to Get Past the HR Department

September 22, 2011

Contributed by Lindsay Shugerman, Top 10 Guru

Job hunting is tough. Applicants are out there in abundance, and openings are few.

And to have a chance at that rare job opening, you have to get the right information to get your resume in the right hands.

That means getting past – or at least around — the HR department.

But with the right information, you can get past the HR department, get to the people who need to see your resume, and increase your chance of getting that much needed new job.

Here are the top 10 ways to sidestep the HR department and find out who whose name needs to be at the top of your cover letter.

10. Search the news

Sending out press releases is a great way for a company to get noticed. But did you know they’re also a great source of information for job seekers?

Search for news about the company, and you could find out what who’s in charge and which projects are hot. That could be the information you need to tailor your cover letter to current needs and address it to the right person.

9. Spread the word

Let family and friends know where you’re applying. Just like in the game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon”, odds are someone will know someone who works where you’re applying.

Get that name, and ask them who’s in charge of the job you want.

8. Open houses

Many larger companies have open houses, where members of the public can tour the facility. Find out if the company you’re interested in has one scheduled – it’s the simpliest way to get past the HR department and gather the information you need.

7. Alumni groups

Check out the listings in your college or university’s alumni group and find out who works at the company. Contact them for advice on who is making hiring decisions and other information you’ll need for your resume and cover letter.

6. Religious groups

If you’re active in a church, temple, mosque or other religious group, find out if anyone works at the company. People are often more willing to trust members of their place of worship, so they share more critical information.

5. Social and sports activities

You won’t need to worry about getting past the HR department if you can get the information you need on the ball field or in the society pages.

Look for team rosters in company-against-company softball or basketball leagues. Check out wedding announcements, charity events and other social event reports for mentions of your target companies. Use online search engines on newspaper sites to make the search easier.

4. Service organizations and community groups

Groups like the Rotary Club and the Chamber of Commerce are wonderful for getting to know who’s who in a company. If you’re lucky the person in charge of hiring will be a member, and they’ll handle the human resource department hurdles for you.

3. Networking groups

Networking groups in your field can yield be a great way to identify who’s in charge, and how you can get past the HR department and into an interview.

Not a member of any networking groups? Check out, professional societies and your local newspaper to find some.

2. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the virtual opposite of the Human Resources department. Where HR throws up obsticles and refuses to tell you the name of the department managers, LinkedIn shares names, jobs and connections.

Use your connections to build a bridge to the right people at your (hopefully) new company.

1. The art of conversation

Once you’ve identified the people you need to connect with, it’s time to strike up a conversation.

Find common ground, and start the ball rolling. If you handle it well, the warm welcome that will be waiting for you on your interview day will be the very best of all ways to get past the HR department’s walls.