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How do you connect with and network into companies when their recruiters are nonresponsive?


Casper Mireles Virginia Beach, VA

I've had this problem with several companies, but in particular, with a (large) company I am very interested in. Unfortunately, their veteran recruiter is unresponsive. I've reached out to other recruiters within that company and gotten zero responses. I've gone as far as reaching out to fellow veterans and had limited success. I'm not asking for a job or interview (I want to earn that). I'm just trying to establish connections with people so that they can get to know me on a professional level and as I begin to apply, they might be willing to advocate for me with hiring managers. What am I doing wrong or have any other veterans experienced this problem?

31 January 2020 35 replies Networking



Nicole Friesenhahn Flower Mound, TX


While applying for job opportunities through traditional channels is good at times. It often helps to use your connections in getting your foot in the door. Think about who you have made connections with and who their connections might be. All you need is one connection or one email address to get your foot in the door and then you can really show off your skill set. Be persistent! If the connection or secondary connection doesn't respond on the first try, keep trying.

30 March 2020 Helpful answer


Melinda Long West Des Moines, IA

I'm a recruiter for Wells Fargo, we have an in-house military recruiting team that can assist you if you're trying to get into the financial sector. They can help with the resume to bridge the current resume and how you can be considered for positions in highly regulated environments or I would be happy to review your resume.

To qualify for WF openings it's required to match every required qualification at or above the years required of the role and prove that through the resume to be considered.

I would be happy to get you in touch with one of our military recruiters inhouse our goal is to have 20K veterans so it's a huge focus for us and I personally had a very high # of veteran hires personally. Within Wells Fargo there are several openings that a veteran could transition into such as Operational Risk Consultant, Business Initiative Consultant, Project Management, Tech Relationship Manager.

Depending on your military experience we would need to assess what may work for you. Feel free to send your resume to me direct at or visit our site for reviewing openings and job titles to consider.

9 April 2020 Helpful answer


Colin Carner Seattle, WA

Reaching out to recruiters directly is often a waste of time. Use your military/school/social connections to find people who work at your target company, preferably in your desired job. Ask for some time through a LinkedIn message to discuss the company, the person’s path there, and thoughts on getting your resume in front of a hiring manager. If you don’t have a 1st connection, reach out to a 2nd after communicating with your mutual connection and asking for an intro. At the end of the call, ask if the employee would be willing to refer you.

Recruiters often do not respond directly to candidates. Getting a referral by engaging with current employees ensures a hiring manager will see your resume. Getting around the recruiters is the goal rather than speaking with them.

26 March 2020 Helpful answer


Michael Stehn Alexandria, VA

Companies have Veteran recruiters to find the right people to fill positions, they are not there to help you navigate and network into the company. They are busy reading through hundreds if not thousands of resumes and LinkedIn profile looking for very specific skill sets.

If you want to know more about the company, gain insights and have a realistic shot at transitioning to a big company, I suggest networking with employees of that company. Who do you already know from your network that is working there? Do you know someone, who can introduce you to someone there? What do you have in common with those people. Use the network to ask questions, get a better understanding of what the company does. Are they even hiring? Do they need people with 20+ years experience? Once you get the answers to those questions, and if you feel comfortable, ask for a referral.

Most large companies hire by referral more than blindly. If you have a friend at that company and they refer you, they may also get a recruitment bonus, so there is something in it for them to help you.

Look, I'm not telling you not to contact recruiters, I'm just saying you may have a better chance approaching this from a different angle.

4 May 2020 Helpful answer


Christopher Dilley Jacksonville, FL


Shameless plug, but Johnson & Johnson is actively recruiting transitioning veterans. Check out Also, feel free to send me a email if you would like your resume imputed into the JnJ system. Also, do not underestimate how powerful a referral from a employee can be. Best wishes with the transition

26 March 2020 Helpful answer


Jose Roman Norfolk, VA

Good Morning Casper,

Why do you believe you have to network with recruiters?

Imagine if you find mutual connections in an organization or industry that you're interested in via LinkedIn and having those connections advocating on your behalf? These are the type of connections that get you past the gate keepers and talking to the hiring managers and leaders with the positions to fill.

You can ask for and set up 'information interviews' opportunities to connect with someone and find out more about their company and their role.

4 May 2020 Helpful answer


Michael Mallard Apo, AE

Hi Casper,

You've already received some great advice; I echo what many others have recommended - the best way to circumvent the challenges is to build an authentic connection with someone inside the firm you want. Toastmasters, networking events, industry-specific associations, etc. are all great ways to meet people. Linkedin is an amazing tool, it takes time to build relationships though. DM me if you need a sounding board. Hang in there, you'll get it!


23 April 2020 Helpful answer


Victoria Heck Ashburn, VA

Hi Casper,
I looked at your LinkedIn profile (it's great btw), I think you might be a fit for one of our roles at Parsons in the DC area. It's for a Test & Eval position (R104612 on our website I'll send you a LinkedIn message. My email is

23 April 2020 Helpful answer


Arnie Scott Stratham, NH

Try the web site It's slogan is "Facebook for Work".


Chris McFarland Toms River, NJ

Yo Cap!
I came to understand pretty fast nearly ever HR person I ran across had the number 1 priority of helping the executives keep out of trouble so they didn't run amuck and do something foolish like discriminate or sexually harass someone, things that would get their employer in a heap of trouble and get them fired.
It's a pretty sure thing the 'Military' rep or recruiters you're dealing with are cast from the same mold, they know exactly how to coach the bosses to avoid doing anything foolish with a military veteran, especially a disabled decorated hero military veteran, that would get them in dutch with the congress or courts and break the law and get them fired.
So, this 'military recruiter' person has this role, a number 1 priority role, and understanding that going in is probably the very best bit of knowledge to know.
You may want to point out how you are e x a c t l y suited for this job or that job, slowly, clearly, so the message gets thru you're a serious candidate, use clear, concise, language, as few syllables as possible.
When they get the message, you'll get a call, and you'll know what to do.
You're gonna do great, all the best!


Jo Prabhu Long Beach, CA

It is important to understand and distinguish the title of Headhunter vs Recruiter which are two very different roles. Companies spend thousands of dollars to post jobs and to pay Headhunters who are hired to sort, prequalify and fill those jobs with candidates who possess the necessary skills + experience required to perform the duties and responsibilities of each job. This is very different from the broadly used term 'Recruiters' which is better used for military type 'Recruitment' where 'networking' and other methods are used to gather and sign up applicants for various roles. And as for resumes, accuracy about your skills is key-and less is more. Todays computers don't look for fancy or pretty-but are programmed to identify and sort words and terms before they pop up on a head hunters screen. Its important for job seekers to read each job description thoroughly and apply only if you have the necessary skills-then you will not wait in vain or feel too disappointed for not receiving the call you were waiting for.


Deb Yeagle Tampa, FL

Hi Casper!
Thanks for your service!
I've seen lots of companies adjust their recruiting methods since the pandemic, with many advertising "virtual" job fairs (events posted on Linked In), so don't give up. Adjust your networking with more emphasis on social media and direct phone calls if possible, but be patient and use this time for self-development if you can. Here is an interesting article on 9 Mistakes to Avoid during your job search at this time:
Good luck and thanks again!


Frank Forte Fayetteville, NC

Steve, I would consider expanding your net. If you are so focused on just one company it may not be the right time for them. Where else could you look? What are other firms that do similar work? Figure out how to get a position that may lead you in the direction of the industry you seek to be in.


Ronald Waltz Fox River Grove, IL

What I would suggested is that you determine what phase of the business you are most suited for that you want to work in...Then go to LinkedIn and do research on who the key people are in that group and reach out to them by requesting a "connect" and send a message with it..If you can afford $50 might be worth the Premium package that allows 15 emails a month and you can also see who is looking at your sight..Trick is find a door in around the recruiters. Once you make a contact, even in another department from where you would like to go, most people will want to help out a veteran... Thanks for you service, hope this helps


ROY VALE San Antonio, TX

Just double checking. Hope you made all your connections by now. Meanwhile, for you and others who may still be wondering about some alternatives to this question, I would recommend the following:

1 - Try 3 x 3 rule -- 3 emails, 3 texts, 3 phone calls - if nothing- move on
2- Find out who is in charge of Human Resources, Sales, Public Relations and Business Development - send them a friendly note that you have not had any success with their Veteran Contact Department, can you count on them for a contact resolution
3 - Post your resume based on your strengths that may fit the company you are trying to connect with. Not necessary to mention Military or veteran on the onset - Your strengths, passion and the type of career adventure you seek. Your Military background should be on the resume or summary, however, don't over do it.

And as always, Thank you for your services!


Marc-Anthony Arena Rochester, NY

Hi Lt Cmdr,
I usually don't count on recruiters and "go to our website to apply" sort of stuff. Unfortunately that's an area where technology has made things a lot more impersonal, imho.
Instead, I rely on personal relationships. In my city, rather than join any clubs that are officially for business networking, I've found a lot better results in more relaxed clubs, where people are more down to earth, more themselves. It could be an ethnic club (I've been to luncheons at nearby Italian clubs) or a hobby club.
Of course the folks who've answered this post sound like they could be great connections to companies! It's all because they've gotten to know you in that little bit of personal contact.
Hope that helps, thanks for your service!


Scott Johnson Virginia Beach, VA

Hi Casper,

That can certainly be frustrating. Depending on the size of the organization, the recruiter may get many connection requests daily. If they don’t even acknowledge you then I would question if that would be the organization you want to pursue.

Don’t be discouraged. There are many who will connect and provide direction on employment opportunities at their company. Networking is a key factor in getting into a company in management and above positions; at least that’s my opinion.

The right opportunity will present itself. Keep it up and good luck!


Ilka Farley Anna, OH

Companies and recruiters in general get a lot of request, however if there are not positions to fill within your area of interest they tend to be non-responsive due to the amount of request they receive.
Have you been working with a mentor?
Have you had your resume reviewed for fit into the civilian workplace?


Christopher Brown Middleburg, FL

Hello Steve,

I think that I may have lots of insight to offer. Are you interested in setting up a call?



Dr. Les Wright West Bend, WI

I would suggest first seeking a mentor. One whom went from military to private/federal gov sector. Next you would need to revise your resume, one to fit private sector and one for federal government. In your discussions with your mentor, chat about your experiences, your goals, your resume, and what advice you seek from them.


William (Liam) Hickey Chicago, IL

Big companies can be tough. If you want to earn an interview, be unconventional. Waiting in line like everyone else isn’t earning anything. You’ve got the right idea to try different methods. Getting noticed is step 1, and you have to *show what you can do* in order to get noticed.

I agree with those talking about networking. I will try to add some specific techniques.

- What does that company need that you offer? Mention your top credentials when introducing yourself *before* asking any questions. (“I am transitioning out of the Navy with a _____ clearance and Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certification. I’d like to ask about ….”)

- Find the company’s LinkedIn page and then click on the link to see all employees in the company. Look for job titles or departments. Go *into the profile* before clicking Connect. The Connect option *within the profile* allows you to add a brief message (without paying for LinkedIn’s mail service). Keep in mind that some people never log on to LinkedIn, so try several people.

- Do a more general People search on LinkedIn and check for former employees (past companies). Use the LinkedIn filters to help narrow down your searches.

- Keep expanding your LinkedIn connections. This adds to your value and your visibility, and 97% of recruiters check LinkedIn profiles. (Bullhorn Reach, 2014)

- Have you joined any LinkedIn groups or professional associations for Lean Six Sigma Black Belt? Search the group memberships. Post on the forum. (That demonstrates expertise and makes you more noticeable.)

- Check the company’s news/media page and regular media news coverage for interesting stories and press releases. Notice any names mentioned.

- Check if they have a Toastmasters club that is open to the public. Find the link on the club’s page to arrange to visit as a guest.

- They may be at an upcoming career fair, although the line may be long, but it’s an idea.

- Call administrative assistants. They can be helpful.

- Go to lunch or happy hour at the place across from their big office building near you. Strike up conversation. “So, are most people here from XYZ Corp. right over there?”

Liam Hickey


Gene Nokes Dublin, CA

Recruiters are notoriously bad communicators, unless you have managed to develop a relationship. There is lots of good advice already posted for you. Read this article to get an idea of how to network your way into your target organization:


Dean Bottomley

CDR, Its definitely not personnel, many companies get overwhelmed with Resumes and weeding through to find the right Candidates for their needs. Stay persistent , especially if you have received any type of acknowledgement from your applications.
By continually attempting to contact them you might unknowingly be placed on the DNU (Do Not Use) List.
As a Business owner, the last thing I want to deal with is a candidate who keeps hitting me up. This is one sure way to have your Resume end up in the circular file, Remember if your qualifications are solid, it may take time but they will reach out to you.
Best of luck in your endeavors. Capt Dean B.


Marc Blanchenay Pompano Beach, FL


Recruiters aren't going to be the successful path in, unless you've developed a rapport with them previously. Large corporation are notoriously challenging as the hiring and vetting functions are designed to filter out applicants.

My best recommendations are to look through resources such as Linkedin, find people who work in the area of that company you are interested in, see what professional associations they follow or are members with and develop contacts through that pathway. And when you do get a reference to someone in the organization, dont go right for 'help me get hired', instead ask for their insight regarding professional area you are interested in, company culture, etc.


Louis Schwarz Somerville, NJ

Hi. My experience is in house HR have no urgency to find candidate. The recruiting firms get paid for placing candidates, the in house HR does not. You may do better with placement firms. Also, in house HR only can recruit when there is an approved opening. Without an approved opening, they may not talk to you, also there are so many requests for meetings with HR, they are very selective.
This is the process, so go with the flow and use the placement firms to make contacts.


Jose Roman Norfolk, VA

Good Morning,

Information interviews, that can be done in-person or via Email or LinkedIn with people employees of any organization is vital to make the right connections. Are you following the organization on LinkedIn? Have you reached out to mutual connections that can make an introduction that can lead to a meaningful information interview? Are you being proactive in making connections on LinkedIn?

I see you're in VB. Let me know if this answers your question or if you need some further guidance on the networking piece. As the veteran employment coordinator at Regent University Im just down the street.

Jose R


Kent Watson Monticello, FL

Good afternoon Lt Cdr Casper, Thank you so very much for your service in behalf of a grateful Nation! Networking is the key that does open most doors. Trade associations, professional associations, fraternities, and other kind of special interest groups can get you to the right path. Every opportunity that you have be prepared to give your elevator speech. Corporate recruiters are just gatekeepers or big horse holders to decision-makers. Again, networking, networking and networking to gain traction. Very Sincerely, Chief Kent T. Watson, CW4, USA, Retired (34 years and 8 months) now Southeast Region Fraud Prevention Inspector - Healthcare


David Eastman Gresham, OR

Hello, Casper

First of all, thank you for your service. No doubt you are frustrated in your attempt to reach the very corporate recruiter working in the company you have targeted for your own employment. Seems strange that a "recruiter" whose singular job is to find outstanding and qualified employees for his/her company, is not responsive to some one fitting that profile.

My son recently was hired by Amazon Corporate in Seattle where he works in the Small Business Development Group. He actually did not approach the Amazon HR Department but found some "outside" recruiting firms with contracts to find people for Amazon. I would recommend that you try that approach; search for outside recruiting firms, headhunters and/or contract HR companies and apply and talk to them directly. They can open doors for you directly to the hiring managers in the corporations you have an interest in and circumvent the in-house HR people.

Sorry you are having difficulties. I wish you much success in your job search and your future career.


David F Eastman, CEO, US Navy Veteran, P-3 Anti-Submarine Avionics


Paul Tusting Salt Lake City, UT

This dovetails with what others have said, but find a way to get a foot hold in the company and work back to the recruiters. My wife was a travel contract nurse for years, and would be able to work with the unit managers, and take what they discussed to the recruiter. It can step on some toes (the right tone and approach is key), but in the end 1) you will be working for the company not the recruiter, and 2) the recruiter doesn't seem to be advocating for you [I wouldn't suggest this approach had they been responding].

Similarly, but a little less aggressive than example above (going directly to hiring managers), you can try to network with your future peers (vs. hiring manger). This can be as simple as reaching out on LI or FB, and asking what they like about working there.

Good Luck!


Scott Papenfus Enon, OH

A lot of great advice. If you have targeted that specific company, and getting past HR is a problem, then it leaves networking. Everyone covered it pretty well, but I will add one idea that I've seen work. Make as many connections as possible at that company on LinkedIn. Try to find the hiring manager or others in that department. Review their LinkedIn profile to see what local events they attend or groups they belong to. Engage in those groups or attend the local meetings and make the face to face connection.

I know one person that had a specific target, found the department managers name, found that they are active in a local chapter of a marketing group and then went to those meetings. It led to a meeting (and friendship) that ended in a job at that company. Not the easiest route, but most others aren't willing to put that much effort in - so if you do, it can pay off.


Jerry Welsh Middleville, MI

First I agree with Steve, your profiles does not list what career you wish to search for. A company does not try to slot you into a position they think you may fit, you tell them what career field you are looking at and then they see where you might fit. You have a Black Belt, that should be in your TAG line, are you interested in Process Improvement or Operational Efficiencies.
Have you looked a people in this company on LinkedIn, reached out to network with them? Steve indicated professional meetings are great places to meet people also. The recruiter can not tell what you want to do, their role is not to search your vast experience and find a position to fit you in. Senior military see their vast experience as a positive, recruiters slot people. In order for you to make some head way, what slot are you willing to look at? Then start getting to know folks via professional meetings or professional interchanges on LinkedIn. Thanks for your service. God Bless Here are some items you might find helpful.
Good examples of “to the point” profiles are Mark Broc, PMP, SSGB, SrumMaster, Domonick Steward, Information Technology Specialist | ISSO | Security+ and Jack Eisenhauer, Global Supply Chain. All have had long careers, but emphasized experiences and accomplishments that offer examples of the career they are searching for.


Bob Molluro Wilmington, DE

Unfortunately you have not found the right person to get you in the door. Here is where perseverance will pay off. Since you have zeroed in on the company try to find as many opportunities to network with their employees. Tell everyone who will listen your story as it only takes one. Let me give you an example. My son in law Mike was the top US sales person for a French company. They decided to disband their US operations. Mike who was well compensated had a difficult time finding comparable opportunities. He followed my advice and told everyone his story. One day he met a man at a lunch counter. After their conversation this man said , "I know a Billionaire who could use a guy with your skills and experiences." The long story short is Mike got hired, proved himself again and is now a partner with well over $500,000 in annual compensation. It took Mike over six months to make the initial connection and I am sure he would tell you to don't give up.


Henry ("Dr. Hank") Stevens Fort Lauderdale, FL

As a recruiter and H-R Director for many years, I DO understand!

As there is a POSSIBILITY that something is wrong in your resume, the suggestion to have an ACP pro review it (ADOLT's suggestion) is a great idea! I endorse that!

So . . . . I will not dwell on that idea; however . . . consider a different tactic, versus a frontal attack. That is, do some target acquisition by identifying someone just senior to the position you are after and seek an "informational interview" with him/her. If it goes well, s/he will ask you for a resume and with that friend behind the lines, s/he will become your in-house advocate.


Chad Eaves Lake Zurich, IL

Hello Casper,

As with any situation, it's a good idea to get in touch with the decision-maker(s). Most of the time recruiters are gatekeepers. On your LinkedIn profile I see where you attended a PMP event. Getting involved in one or more professional associations (such as PMI) will help meet people and bypass recruiters.

You may also want to look into Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP). Ultimately, being in a position where someone asks for your resume is a far stronger position versus submitting them online and competing against an algorithm and keywords.

It's more work to get out and meet people, for sure - but you get to shine with potential decision-makers or influencers instead of hoping a recruiter likes your profile.



Steve Adolt Lancaster, PA


This sounds incredibly frustrating and I've seen it happen a number of times with folks before I was asked to coach and mentor them.

In looking at your LinkedIn profile, I believe I can show you some quick changes you can make and a few different approaches you can take to improve your hit rate.

If you'd like to have this discussion, send me a copy of your current resume and I'll send you a link to my calendar so you can schedule a time that's good for you.

Hope to hear from you soon.


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