Five Hacks for finding and applying for in-house jobs
Every in-house job search should have a number of different elements to it, not least (**Shameless Plug Warning**) having relationships with trusted recruiters who can connect you with their clients, often for roles that are not being openly advertised. That said, many companies will adopt a policy of trying to hire directly as a first stage in the recruitment process, so knowing how to find and apply for these jobs is critical.
Here are 5 hacks which will make your search that little bit easier, and improve the likelihood of your application being received by the right person. There are also additional tips gleaned from years spent in the murky world of contingent recruitment.
1. Finding jobs advertised directly on company websites Job aggregators like indeed.co.uk will scrape the web for roles advertised directly on companies’ own websites. You can run a search for your desired job title (“legal counsel”, “head of legal” etc) in your desired location and then, having run the search, you can bookmark the first page of results. Every time you open that bookmark, the search will automatically run, saving you the effort of having to re-enter the information. All you need to do is scroll down the list of vacancies (many of which will be advertised by recruiters anonymously) until you find one that has been taken from a company’s own careers page (you can usually work this out because the name of the company will appear under the job title).
Pro-tip – for maximum coverage, run several searches using different terms or combinations. PQE is a very useful term to search against for legal jobs, as few other professions use it to indicate experience requirements.
2. Finding jobs advertised on generic job boards Some companies will use generic agency job boards to advertise before going to a specialist recruiter, and many of these adverts feature just enough information to enable you to work out the identity of the employer. If it seems obvious that advert wording has been copy/pasted from a formal company job description it probably has - pick a particular sentence (the one which describes what the company does is usually best) and copy/paste it into Google. More often than not, you’ll find out exactly which company is hiring.
Pro-tip – some companies have very specific job titles or internal acronyms. If you find evidence of either of these, use them as a search term on LinkedIn or Google.
3. Working out who to apply to Making sure an application is directed to, and therefore seen by, the correct person is half the battle. On LinkedIn, you may get to see the identity of the person who has posted the role (often a Resourcing or HR professional) but, for roles advertised through other channels, this information won’t be provided. Read the job description/advert carefully to see if you can see who the role reports to – is it the General Counsel? The CFO? The CEO? With this information, you can then find the individual’s name on LinkedIn and address your application to them. In the absence of any of the above, going direct to the Head of Resourcing, the HR Director or the Head of department (Legal Director/General Counsel/Head of Legal) is as safe a bet as any. Or you could just click apply and see your application disappear into the ether….
Pro-tip – for legal positions, using the Law Society’s find a solicitor function is a useful tool to identify a head of department in the event they don’t have a LinkedIn profile – just search against the company name
4. Email hacking Having established the identity of your victim recipient, working out how to reach them is the next challenge. Postal applications are still entirely valid but obviously take a bit of time, so email is by far the most common method of applying for a job. Here, the key is to find out the format of the company email system and replicate it with your recipient’s name. A simple google search will usually throw up an email address for someone in the organisation but, even if you draw a total blank, most companies use one of the following: firstname.lastname@domain firstnamelastname@domain firstinitial.lastname@domain firstinitiallastname@domain firstname@domain (mostly found at startups) The final step is simply to run the email address through an online email verification site (just search “email checker” or similar – there are numerous free ones available)
Pro-tip – create a free HubSpot account, download the Chrome extension, and then send your emails through Gmail – you should now receive a notification as soon as your recipient opens your email (although be careful not to review the message in your sent items as this will also trigger a notification!)
5. Making sure the content is relevant Sounds a bit obvious this one, but having gone to all of the effort above to make sure your application reaches the right person, make sure the content is relevant! Don’t just talk about your achievements – draw comparisons between your achievements and any specific accountabilities listed on the job description. Highlight what it is about this particular company that appeals to you – reference recent news or developments that evidence you have done your research. Try to keep any introductory note relatively brief (two or three short paragraphs is ample) – you don’t want the immediate reaction to be that your message is too long to read.
Pro-tip – compare your LinkedIn profile with that of the recipient – if you have any shared connections, try to find a way of getting introduced personally or at least mention the connection in a non-superficial way (eg a connection has previously spoken highly of your recipient)