Imagine you found a job posting that checks all of the boxes for you: it's the perfect role, the company culture is exactly what you're looking for, and it's based in the city you've always wanted to work for.
The job description couldn't be any more perfect.
But job descriptions don't tell the full story. They often leave out details about what the day-to-day work entails and what the company culture is really like. You certainly don't get a sense of what the hiring manager is looking for in a candidate.
So, how do you get this information?
By talking to people who work on the team, you're interested in! Before submitting your cover letter and resume, reach out to someone who has a direct line of sight into the role and team dynamics. While there's always a chance they don't respond to your message, it's worth it to give it a shot.
If you're unsure how to find the right person to reach out to, use the process outlined in the informational interview article.
Send your note via email. If email isn't possible, a LinkedIn InMail message is a good alternative.
Here's an example of what you can say in your email outreach:
I'm interested in the [insert role title] position on your team and am interested in learning more about it. I'm excited about the opportunity and would love to get your perspective on how the role fits into your broader team, the core responsibilities, and insight into the team culture.
Do you have 15-minutes for a call in the coming week or so? I'm flexible tomorrow afternoon and Friday morning if you by chance have availability.
Looking forward to it,
This email template is effective because it makes clear:
Why you're reaching out to them specifically
What you're hoping to get out of the conversation
Your ask, which is a quick phone call
Having this conversation allows you to draft a more compelling cover letter and resume based on what you learned from someone on the team. You'll stand out as a candidate if you incorporate their cultural nuances or reference projects the team is currently working on.