Should you Approach a Company that isn’t Hiring Right Now?

Should you approach a company that hasn’t posted any job openings, and is clearly not hiring right now? If you do, is there a right way to do it? Read on.

Job postings and advertisements about openings help companies to do exactly what the words suggest- advertise that they are hiring and applications are welcome. But is it a good idea to approach a company that hasn’t advertised that they are looking? Would that mean that there’s no chance of getting a job there even if you got in touch with them?

Many candidates may have thought of approaching companies that they have always dreamed of working at but may be hesitant because of an absence of advertisement. Does approaching them still work? Is it a good idea? Let us quickly delve into this!

There’s No Harm:

The straight answer is this: there is no great harm in reaching out to the company, via mail or LinkedIn. The most that might happen is that you don’t get a response. There’s nothing to lose as such. On the contrary, if your approach is compelling enough, you might get on the company’s radar (in a good way) and they might consider your ‘application’ if there’s a relevant opening in the future.

But as mentioned, the approach has to be compelling enough. Many companies do get emails and enquiries about potential job openings even without them advertising, so it’s crucial that the way you approach them is memorable. You don’t want your message or email to get buried in deluge of enquiries.

How to do it Right:

Say, you want to approach a company but maybe not directly ask if they are hiring, but you wish to show interest in working there. Or maybe, you are feeling adventurous and you simply want to take that leap of faith by asking them directly that if there’s any chance that a position might be available. Whichever of the two approaches you take, you need to be very specific.

  • One way, is to email them directly, telling them why you are emailing, let them know that although there isn’t any opening declared, you are laying out your introductions, experience, skills and qualifications, and what you can offer to the company, in their present setting. You can look up a few of their ongoing projects on their LinkedIn page or their website, and describe how you’d be able to contribute in those. You can provide examples of your own work to further make your point. Don’t forget to link your resume in the email!  
  • Another way, is to find the right person who is responsible for hiring for the company (most likely a recruiter) and get in touch with them. A slightly less direct approach, here you show interest about the industry in general by asking very specific questions. No matter how good of a candidate you might be, a recruiter may or may not be able to straight away create a position that doesn’t really exist at the company but they might be able to say ‘yes’ to certain questions. Instead of directly asking if their company is hiring, you may first establish a professional rapport with the relevant personnel, ask specific and informative questions about the industry, to let them know that you’d like their help to gain insight into it, and then let them know you’d be interested in working at their company if the opportunity arises.

In the age of talent crunch and skill-gaps, companies would welcome interest from candidates who genuinely want to make a difference. There’s no harm in reaching out for what you want, and you never know- the right approach may give you a pleasant surprise, even without any advertisement!

Stories, Setbacks and Success: All About Writing a Compelling Career Narrative

‘Stories’ dominate the way we tell others about ourselves. We select the important events of our day when someone asks us how our day was. We have a story about our career trajectory, past and future, planned in our heads, so when an interviewer asks us our plan for the next five years, we have the answer; when the interviewer asks why we left our older place of employment, or why they should hire us, we have an answer ready. We select the crucial updates from our careers and add those to the ‘stories’ in our resumes and interviews, as we have written in an earlier article, as a way of personal branding.

Storytelling in the professional world gets a whole new dimension with technology and the various online platforms: the way we write our LinkedIn introduction, the kind of posts we put up and choose to share tell one story. The website of a company, its mission statement, its brand image is the story told by the company about itself.

A few questions are likely to come up:

  • Why should we plan ahead instead of relying on our spontaneity?
  • How much should one include in the story?
  • Should one stick to the good parts only, or should one also include the setbacks?
  • Is it risky to add our setbacks in our story?  

Read on, as we attempt to answer these questions.

The Compelling Power:

As Sharon Elber writing for Workbloom points out a compelling story, or narrative will help you write a compelling resume and cover letter. Recruiters may not have much time to spend in reviewing your application materials, and hence, a powerful narrative will help in making sure that your resume and cover letter quickly convey a clear picture of your qualifications as well your overarching career goals.

Of course, it is unlikely that someone will directly ask you “what is your career story?’ in a job interview. Having a career narrative in your head will help in answering similar to it or indirect questions. Questions like:

  • Why should we hire you?
  • Why are you a good fit for this position?

It is also a great way to network as well as gaining some self-awareness about what you really want from your career. How?

Networking: As Elber points out, having a loose script of your career story prepared in your head is a great, confident way to start a conversation with new people, draw attention to your values, personal brand, ambitions in an easy-going way.

Self-awareness: Giving a narrative to your career will force you to think as to how the journey has been, and how you would want it to be in the near and distant future. This vision will in turn force you to take proactive steps rather than waiting for the next “low hanging opportunity”.

Thus, a career story can tell not just about the important events of your career so far, but can also include a vision of your dream job, and how your career so far is a series of steps towards it.

The Tricky Question:

But anyone’s career can’t possibly have everything going perfectly for them, where every step was a step towards their dream jobs. We all fail, we all suffer setbacks, we all deal with uncertain situations that lead to sometimes unpleasant changes in our life, affecting our jobs. We can find ourselves faced with questions like:

  • Is it a good idea to include the ‘bad’ parts in your story?
  • How should one include the setbacks?

Owning It up: The answer to the first one is yes. We do need to include the bad parts. It’s a matter of owning up your story as well as being honest. As one user in Mindtools’ Twitter chat mentioned about whether adding setbacks in your story increases or decreases your vulnerability, “Having your story in the open and not covering it up means some will take advantage when they can.  But you are also stronger because you already know the details.”

Inspiring others: Including the setbacks could also be a matter of inspiring others. Yolande Conradie writing for Mindtools says, “After years of working with people, I’ve learned that sharing parts of my story can be the lifeline someone else needs. Being brave and vulnerable enough to own your story, and courageous enough to change, can inspire and encourage others to do the same.”

Thus, it’s a matter of honesty as well as a way to make your story even more compelling and inspiring where you own up the setbacks.

The answer to the second question, closely linked with the first: How does one include setbacks, sudden changes, long gaps and such ‘issues’ into their narrative? Companies will need to know why and how your skills are still relevant, and why your recent lack of experience doesn’t make you any less of a team-member

Framing It: The key lies in how you frame the narrative. The gap or shift should be framed such that it appears as “a part of your journey that led you to where you are now and where you are going.” For example, did raising kids made you realise your passion for teaching? Did helping out a colleague to find a good fit for a position make you realise your talent for recruitment, and thus your decision to change directions? Such a framing which gives a sense that your setbacks too were steps that led you to some growth or new vision.

Thinking about your career in terms of a story is thus likely to help one and all gain perspective. It can enhance the quality of one’s interviews, networking and other professional interactions. Owning up your story, with all its good and bad aspects can not only make your narrative compelling and interesting, but it helps you stand out from the overly positive and unrealistic ones. It rids us from the vulnerability that comes with hiding. Any success story is likely to include successes as well as setbacks. As academician and author Bene Brown writes:

When we deny the story, it defines us. When we own the story, we can write a brave new ending.

Preparing the Perfect 30 Second Introduction


30 sec Intro


Imagine you have gone to a conference. There will be lots and lots of professionals, eager to do some networking. No one has the time to actually have a long discussion but everyone is willing to network, somehow.

Or just imagine you are someone looking for a career opportunity. You get on an elevator, and there walks in the CEO of a company you were going to apply at!

There’s a new client you need to network with, preferably for the long-term. There’s a call and you need to make them listen first, you need them to stay. You need to sell your brand. And fast, they have a list of companies waiting for tie-ups!

In situations like these, the thirty second intro comes to the rescue. It’s  also known as an elevator pitch.


First things first, what does it mean?

As the name suggests, it is a short, clear, concise introduction of your brand (personal or company, depending on the situation). While you might consider it as a verbal equivalent of your business card, it is supposed to be much more engaging.

It should have the brevity of an elevator ride: you should be able to give a basic but engaging introduction of your brand in the approximate time-span of an elevator ride.

You have to be prepared because you never know when opportunity knocks, right? It’s almost like a script you rehearse and follow. Almost. We will get to it soon.


Now, what should you include in the short introduction?

This will depend according to your purpose and audience. But the very basics include:

  • Who you are, that is, not just your name but also your clear job title.
  • Chief skills, competencies and chief audience.
  • What makes you unique.
  • An example that gives substance to your claim to be unique. But make sure you don’t go on telling a story. A general example is fine. We will get to the example soon.
  • Perhaps a tagline, a hook to sum it all up.

Even if you are going for an interview, or you want to write a summary for your LinkedIn, you can think of your intro along the lines of these questions, which are essentially variations of the basic outline just laid out above:

  • Who you are, and your current job title.
  • Where you have worked before. Remember, talk about it very briefly, only the highlights.
  • Your chief skills and competencies, your chief audience.
  • What makes you unique. Again, with examples of your accomplishments for substance.
  • What you are looking for and why.
  • Why you are currently in the market.

Remember, it should include all this information but not necessarily in this order. If you can think of a more engaging and fun (but still a coherent order), go for it.


What are some things you should keep in mind?

Now, why is it almost like a script?

Because you will have to prepare this beforehand, and perhaps even rehearse, so you know what to speak, when and to whom. Why ‘almost’? Because you are not going to parrot it. You will have to be mindful about your purpose, and the circumstances you find yourself in. It is not enough to stress the importance of changing the “script” according to who you are talking to. And most importantly, let the other person talk and let you ask questions.

You should be able to elaborate on a detail if you have been asked about it.


Now, an example! Construct something along these lines, which can work for your LinkedIn summary, your networking events, for interviews or maybe even unexpectedly bumping into someone. Remember, look at the context, assess what needs to be said and go for it!

A: I am A. I am currently a lawyer with the firm YXA. Let me know if you ever need my help in anything.

B: There are so many start-ups these days but new ventures take time to gain traction. Some people actually hope they don’t end up doing something illegal unintentionally! I see this a lot. That’s where I see the value of my job: helping people who want to set up their start-ups but aren’t sure in case of how to go about the legal processes and formalities.  I am B, a lawyer currently employed at the firm YXA. We deal with various arenas of law and legalities. Just recently I assisted a group of women who loved to bake cakes together set up a little bakery start-up of their own. If you have any of such requirements where the legalities need to be sorted out, I would be happy to assist!

A is just too plain. B gives the introduction, who is served, and also an example. There are enough details: not too many, which might confuse, and not too few, which might make one sound shady. There is a scope to ask more.

Once you know the structure in your mind, you will be able to create your own unique intros!


Remember, it’s almost a script. Keep the basic outline in mind, but don’t parrot it, and give the other person the time to respond. And don’t forget to hand them your visiting card while parting.

Keep it short, simple. No unnecessary jargon please! Show them what makes you different!

Recruitment Story: Networking Skills That Pay

Rec story 3


We live in an unimaginably connected world. It truly feels like a small world at times. But how many of us are actually mindful about our connections? Of course, it is not possible to know how and to whom you are connected without some sort of communication and revelation. You cannot know your sister goes to a school where your friend’s cousin is her classmate, unless someone tells you about it. You cannot know a client of yours knows a candidate you placed in a different firm ten years ago, unless you see them as mutual connections on social media.

And sometimes, connections pay- literally and figuratively. The impetus networking skills have gained over the years is the proof. Networking, making connections is an important task. LinkedIn wouldn’t be so important otherwise.

Moreover, it is a greater skill to make use of that networking and connections, at the right time.

We are back with a recruitment story, this time, with the theme of the importance of making right and timely use of your networks.

One of our Team Leaders was in touch with a candidate who had been selected for a senior position at a particular company abroad. The candidate, let us call him Mr. X, was having a hard time getting his resignation accepted at his then current job. Seeing no other alternative, he ghosted that company. He left, just like that.

He not only ghosted the company he was then working at, but also the company he was supposed to join.

So now, the client company was left hanging. The candidate had also met the management once, and they were sure he would join once his notice period came to an end.

The client told our Team Leader about the issue.

The Team Leader’s calls, messages, emails went unanswered, unreachable too.

A classic case of ghosting had unfolded! What to do now, we wondered.

The Team Leader explored her networks. She browsed LinkedIn incessantly to find some common connection, some person, maybe who lived in the same country, city as Mr. X. She started looking for people who might be even remotely connected in any way to him.

She found out one connection, someone she knew, let us call him Mr. Y. Apparently, he and Mr. X  both were employees in one company at some point of time, but in different countries. The timings of their tenure matched, but could it be possible that Y would know X? Probably no, probably yes.

Besides, she had contacted a former colleague of Mr. X, and he had the same contact information. What are the odds that this Mr. Y would have anything new to say?

At such times, it becomes important to rely on your guesswork, and take chances.

Our Team Leader anyway contacted Mr. Y, and eventually asked him if he knew Mr. X.

Turns out, they were in fact, good friends. What’s more, Mr. Y said he had talked to Mr. X  just recently. They were in touch!

Our Team Leader talked about the issue to Mr. Y. He said he wouldn’t be able to give her Mr. X’s new contact information but he will communicate the issue to him, and will tell him to give a call.

There was no call for some time though. The Team Leader waited.

Finally, Mr. X called. The ghost had been found!

He communicated the problem he was facing with his resignation to our Team Leader. He also told her that there was a health emergency in his family, and he wouldn’t be able to join the client company at the date that had been decided. The Team Leader understood his predicament, and communicated this to the client company.

Eventually, the issues were sorted, he attended to the health emergency well. He attended the training sessions but as per his requirement, his joining date was extended.

What are the lessons to learn here?

Firstly, the Team Leader’s perseverance and resourcefulness.

She made full use of LinkedIn. Many of us ignore the tools we have at hand.

How many of us have that presence of mind? It is important to know where to look, and whom to ask. Knowledge-acquisition process would become haphazard if we didn’t know these basic questions.  And she kept looking despite failure at the first connection.

The Team Leader also took a chance. She didn’t dismiss any trace of a link. It is truly necessary to be open to possibilities. We should know that one really never knows.

These qualities, and the commitment helped her retain a long-term client, a very important thing in the recruitment industry. And most importantly, communication played a major role. To find solution(s) to any problem, one needs to know that there is a problem in the first place.

This is one recruitment story where making the right use of technological resources, networking, and communication skills made a difference. Kudos to Mrs. Rina Arun, the Team Leader in the story!