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How do I talk to insiders of the company?

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Talking to actual employees ("insiders") of a company is an excellent way to learn what the company looks for in candidates. There are a couple of ways to go about this:

  • Talk to someone you know in the company (friend, relative, etc.).
  • Call the company to ask for more information (yes, you're allowed to do this!).

Start by explaining that you plan to apply for a job and would like to know more about the company. They may send you information in brochures and letters. Then, you can read these documents for key words, just as with job ads and corporate websites. If, however, the contact is willing to answer questions, here are some ideas on what to ask:

  • "What kind of person is your company looking for?"
  • "What qualifications are the most important for this position?"
  • "Is there anyone else I can contact to learn more about your company?"
  • "Is there anything you think someone with my experience should do to improve my qualifications?"

Once you have a list of the values and skills a company looks for, you will have a better idea of how to focus your own cover letter.