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Is this what they call... networking?
January 15, 2013 7:38 AM   Subscribe

I recently applied for an internship at X Company. Today I found out (or, rather, suddenly remembered from a conversation a couple months ago) that someone I know actually works at X, in the specific team to which I submitted the application. Is there any way I can sort of ~casually~ (or not) bring this to their attention? Would it even make a difference?

The co-op in question is a technical (engineering) one, at a smallish local company. This person and I know each other through volunteering -- they are in more of a managerial/supervisory position so we have not had too much direct contact with each other, but we have had a couple brief, pleasant conversations. During one of these conversations it came up that they were working in X Company, "so look us up when you're looking for a co-op, eh? (wink)"

If I'd remembered this before I submitted all my documents I would totally have just slipped in a brief note in my cover letter -- as it is, it's too late to go back now. I did mention the organization we both volunteer with (it is a somewhat obscure group of ~10 people). If my person was actually one of the people looking at applications, they would definitely recognize me. At this point, is there some way for me to use this somewhat tenuous personal connection to my advantage? I was thinking of dropping a note to my person through email, but I'm not exactly sure what I would even want to say. Or should I just cross my fingers and hope I get an interview on the merit of my application alone?

Throwaway email: employablenohonest@gmail.com
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
If its a small company, and that person is at a supervisory position on the same team, they would more likely than not be seeing your application if it was shortlisted.

At this point, is there some way for me to use this somewhat tenuous personal connection to my advantage? I was thinking of dropping a note to my person through email, but I'm not exactly sure what I would even want to say. Or should I just cross my fingers and hope I get an interview on the merit of my application alone?

Later, depending on what happens, this can be a good thing, because you are obviously demonstrating that you are applying via merit. This situation might actually be more to your favour. If it was me, I'd just let it be for now and see what happens.
posted by infini at 7:45 AM on January 15, 2013


I'd drop them a quick email stating that you've applied to work at their company, for position x, and that you were looking for more details about the company culture etc. Perhaps you could suggest meeting for coffee and ask if they have any advice for the interview stage of the process.

They may be able to give you a better overview of the position and job than what you have in the posting. It probably won't directly help you get the job, but it's always nice to have a few details extra details about the team you're working with when heading into the interviews. And having someone high up looking out for your resume is always a good thing- it might mean the difference between "bring him in" and "eh". People are always willing to give a known entity a chance.
posted by larthegreat at 7:46 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Hi! I hope this email finds you well. You once told me to look up [X company] when looking for co-ops, and that's exactly what I did. I submitted an application recently, and I'm really hoping that I'll have the opportunity to work with you.

Hope all is well with you. Let's catch up sometime soon!"

Anonymous."

And yes, that's what networking is about.
posted by xingcat at 7:46 AM on January 15, 2013 [12 favorites]


Drop them an email: "Hi I just thought of you, and wanted to let you know that I applied for the thing! Cheers!".

Don't over think it, this is networking, and you should reach out. Unless you really fumble the email, there's nothing remotely unseemly, weird or awkward about this!
posted by wrok at 7:50 AM on January 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Seconding xingcat.

I wouldn't just hope that they see your application. This person actually invited you to apply and now you are applying. Sending them email is a confirmation that you specifically want to work with them, rather than just being one of many internships you applied for.
posted by vacapinta at 7:51 AM on January 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's what networking is about, but it's also what being a person is about - hey, I submitted this application and it's relevant to somebody I know. Might as well reach out personally and say hi, give them a heads up, and ask how they're doing.
posted by entropone at 8:00 AM on January 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


xingcat has it. I'd also add that if they respond positively to your email you should offer to take them out for a cup of coffee/couple of beers to "catch up" and then when you meet you can talk about the position and the company and etc.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:11 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


What xingcat said. It's not unusual to send an email whose main message is "I just wanted to let you know I applied for X position." Then it's up to them if they want to go advocate for you (or scuttle your application, though that doesn't seem likely here).
posted by salvia at 9:14 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't think this is what networking is all about.

You're basically asking an acquaintance to spend their social capital on advocating for you. It's a very risky thing to do, and, unless they love you, they will probably ignore your email, and will ignore you from now on.

The best "ask" you can do in networking is just ask for advice, and not for advocacy. Advice is free, and people usually love giving it.

In this situation, if I knew someone at the company, I might ask them for advice about applying - what things are important, what things are not important, who the stakeholder is, that sort of thing.

But I would never, ever ask (even in an offhand way, which is doubly bad) that someone put in a good word for me.

It's not networking, it's just using people.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:22 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


What about sending them a thank you email? That would bring you to their attention without asking for anything.
posted by Vaike at 9:32 AM on January 15, 2013


It's not networking, it's just using people.

I might agree, if this were a casual acquaintance who just happened to work at the company, but Anonymous clearly stated that this person encouraged him to apply.

In that case, letting this person know you've applied is a good thing, because when I recommend someone apply to a company I work at, I have a vested interest in seeing them work there.
posted by xingcat at 6:46 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


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