Too senior to reach out to?

I found a value add multifamily shop that has an acquisitions analyst posting in my target city. I applied yesterday and want to follow up on my application by reaching out to someone via LinkedIn. I normally contact an HR rep at the firm I am applying to, but I noticed an MD at the firm is an alumni of my school. Would it be damaging to reach out to him instead of HR?

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Comments (20)

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Apr 8, 2021 - 9:05am

NO, you should absolutely reach out to the MD, even if he wasn't an alum. That is the right play!!! Given that he is an alum, you have a great opener in the email. Play the alum card for sure, but this how the game is played, you go talk to the most senior person and work down from there. 

Frankly, you should only bother with HR to confirm application details/process, you really cannot "network" with HR, pointless. 

Apr 8, 2021 - 9:51am

Thanks for the response. The reason I'm hesitant is because I applied to the position yesterday so I don't want it to come off as if I'm solely reaching out to him to help my prospects of landing an interview. Of course that is part of my motivation but I'm also generally interested in what he has to say/advice he can offer and would tilt it as an informational interview. Do I not even mention that I applied to the position in my initial email? It's a smaller shop that I had not heard of prior to seeing the job posting so I couldn't have reached out any sooner.

Apr 8, 2021 - 10:12am

There is no reason to be coy about these things. He knows why you're reaching out to him. You know why you're reaching out to him. 

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Apr 8, 2021 - 10:23am

I am suggesting you email to precisely because you applied.... like literally in the subject - "Applied for position XXX" 

Essentially, your email should be a form of a cover letter, and start off like. "I noticed we are both are both alum of XYZ, I just applied for XXX. I am blah blah blah, would appreciate any insight or assistance. Happy to connect, thanks XXX:

I really am not sure why you would even think to be afraid of such. 

As a general rule, if you apply for a position at a firm on the website (which you should do first, eliminates any HR policy issues), you should immediately find anyone in your network who works at the firm (even if in different dept/office/etc.). and email them with resume/cover letter and any attachments loaded asking for insight and internal referral (obv. frame based on nature of relationship).

This is just job hunting 101!! 

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Apr 8, 2021 - 2:11pm

It's surprising that so many people are so gung ho about reaching out in such a direct / forward manner wrt to an existing job posting. Every time I've done this in my limited experience, the recipient has been cold to this, always either not responding or instructing me to go through the proper channels. Guess I haven't tried doing this enough?

Apr 8, 2021 - 2:32pm

Sure, getting ignored is likely to happen often, as is getting told to talk to HR. Neither of which is likely to generate any negative outcome or hit. It can just mean you contacted someone without any relation to the job (this happens to me often, and I generally give the "talk to HR" response, and to be clear, these are jobs I couldn't impact positively or negatively")

If someone reaches out to me cold on a position within my business unit, I will very likely talk to the person, if I legit think they might be good for it, I'll forward the resume to HR and/or the hiring manager. 

If it is someone who is a fellow alumni, I am really going to want to talk to them in hopes of making if a referral. 

If it is someone I actually know for real or have close context to, I will actively recommend them if I think they are right for position (this has often resulted in them getting screening and further round interviews).

So, as someone who gets this kinda often, I don't mind at all. Others may just ignore it, but I really doubt anyone will "ding" you for it, that just sounds ridiculous to me.  

Apr 8, 2021 - 4:18pm

Just set up a call with a partner at a reputable IS firm about 10 min ago lmao. He wasn't even an alum or anything, and I thought I didn't have a good chance at the firm (no referral, no alums, blind apply) but I basically just sent him my resume and told him I applied to the internship. So it does work and it never hurts to try.

Apr 8, 2021 - 2:41pm

I'll add, I got my current job by emailing the CEO who I was connected on LinkedIn, after applying (he posted about the spot, how I learned). No idea what would have happened otherwise, but I had an in person interview the next week (job offer came 3 months later after literally a dozen interviews/meetings). 

So, contacting can work, and you really should, don't see any meaningful downside (but if email 10x a week or something crazy, I'm sure you can get dinged....)

Apr 8, 2021 - 3:13pm

I agree on a cold email, basically a waste of time. Having some connection (alumni network, etc.) I think makes it a much higher probability. If someone from my nurturing mother reached out about a position we were hiring for I would almost certainly at least respond/try to get them through the initial screen (assuming they are at least reasonably qualified).

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