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Inevitably when I meet a job seeker, I ask a question that makes them pretty uncomfortable. Most of the time, the question is along the lines of, “Why don’t you send that hiring manager an email on LinkedIn?”

The person has very often found a job posting for their perfect job at a great company. But, they don’t have any connections at the company. So, I will suggest that they introduce themselves to the hiring manager – via LinkedIn or in an e-mail.

The most common objection is that the job seeker doesn’t want to bother the hiring manager. They feel that contacting the hiring manager directly would be breaking the rules. It would be going around the online system the company has designed. On top of that, they assume they’d be a bother to the hiring manager.

The thing to remember is this. It’s a great idea to apply online. But, online application systems aren’t perfect and there’s a chance your resume will never be seen by human eyes if you only apply online. In all likelihood, the hiring manager knows this. If you’re a qualified candidate, they will be more than happy to hear from you. They’re probably dying to find the right candidate to fill their opening.

On top of that, most hiring managers are themselves networkers. The higher you go up the food chain at most companies, the more your own networking abilities help to promote you. So, there’s a good chance that the hiring manager you email has done the very same thing before too.

And, the risk is pretty small. In a worst case scenario, the hiring manager will ignore your message. The chance that they will send you an angry response is very low. And, if you don’t contact them via e-mail, they may never know you exist in the first place.

You may be reading this and wondering how in the world you would find the name of the hiring manager if you don’t know them already. It can be tricky, but it’s often more possible than you think.

I’ll give you an example. Years ago, I was searching for a job when I came across a perfect digital marketing opportunity at a large company. I didn’t know anyone there, so I used LinkedIn to research who the hiring manager might be. I looked at the company’s page on LinkedIn. Then, I looked at all of the employees who worked there. I scanned each employee’s title until I found the vice president of digital marketing. I used LinkedIn to send him a message asking for a networking lunch, and the rest is history. Granted – I didn’t get hired right away, but after the company got to know me, my email paid off and I got the job.

The next time you’re hesitant to break the rules, ask yourself why. What’s the worst that will happen? And, if the worst isn’t too terrible, bend them a bit. It just might pay off.

Angela Copeland is CEO and founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

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