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Networking: What is the best way to get in front of decision makers and around roadblocks in HR?


Richard Broussard Columbus, GA

LinkedIn isnt working for me. I have reached out to numerous people trying to speak to them to get more info and express interest. I dont feel like this is going the best for me. I am trying to make a change but I cant seem to gain traction.

22 April 2021 23 replies Networking



Joy Montgomery Pleasanton, CA

Volunteer for an organization that is important to you. You don't know who you might meet that way.

7 May 2021 Helpful answer


Taube Weiner Dedham, MA

Hi Richard,
I would me be willing to help you walk through that process. I am career coach and do not charge for Vets. Let me know if you still need help!



Maureen McCoy New York, NY

As someone working in HR I think you will get mixed results in reaching out directly. With that said, I have always supported this approach assuming you reach out to get information about the company and opportunities and to see if your background could be a fit. Informational interviews are a great opportunity to connect. You will find many are open to taking those if they are an opportunity to help others and do not take an overly aggressive approach. Maybe send an email to contacts asking for an opportunity to speak.


Bob Welsh Palm City, FL

The tag line for networking is: Give to Get. If you're meeting people and asking for their help, that is the wrong track. Hi, I'm Richard. I've spent 4 years in the US Navy, been around the world. What do you do? Can we get together for a coffee to see if there's any way either of us can help the other?

Also, HR is never going to be helpful. Use LinkedIn to identify companies you're interested in and 2 or 3 within that company. Call and speak to the person who answers the telephone. Introduce yourself and ask to be connected to whomever. When they ask for the reason of your call, or will he know what the calls about, don't lie. Tell them you are a veteran and that you just need a few minutes of their time. If no, ask to speak with their assistant. If no success, Plan B. Email and send a short email. Then after a few days, call again. Persistence will pay off. Feel free to reach out to me!


Al Ibuzor Melville, NY

Cold calling or sending random messages on LinkedIn to search for jobs rarely work. Networking requires some thought and work. Start by attending free seminars or networking events. Be on the lookout for career fairs. Join an association of folks in the discipline you are looking for work. Also taking some certification exams can plug you into that community. Let everyone you meet and talk to know that you are in the market for a job and connect with them on LinkedIn right after you meet them by sending them a message and a connection request. If they are open to it, follow up with an email including your resume. Update your LinkedIn profile to look more like a resume highlighting your strengths and achievements (especially those that are transferable); use buzzwords in your profile that reflect the job you are seeking. Hopefully that will attract recruiters.


Po Wong Orlando, FL

Hi Richard,
I am from old school, there is nothing better than Face to Face interaction! Once you decided the job function, companies?? and the location that you want to live, try to attend local chapter (ASQC-Quality, Society of Project management, Supply chain management....) meeting to build relationship and job availability intelligence...I have seem cases of hiring manager (some one you networked in those meetings) hands HR the resume and request an interview bypassing HR screening...
Good luck!


Michael (Mike) Cellino Woodstock, GA

I hear your pain about linkedin. Most often I get best results by asking my direct contacts to sponsor a meeting with my target audience. If I don't have a common connection, I will send message inside of an invitation to connect, but try to make invites very memorable. For me, I try to be as outrageous and memorable as possible.


Jose Roman Norfolk, VA


What is the goal? What are you using LinkedIn to do? Be specific. Also find me on LinkedIn. Im the veteran employment coordinator for Regent University. Let me know what are your pain points and we can work through them. I can give you a good overview on how to make Linkedin work for you. Shoot me your questions and a link to your profile.

Jose R


Joseph Pendergrast Marietta, GA

Networking is your answer, and LinkedIn will help, but you need to use both of these tools properly. Use your network to be a force multiplier. Ask someone to coffee (30 minutes max) and build a networking sheet. List your summary at the top, add your skills. At the bottom, list your target companies. Ask them if they know of someone in each company. Usually, they will, and be more able to help. Remember that people usually want to succeed. If you ask them for a job, most likely they can't help you. If you instead ask them for connections, they can help and will often go the extra step.


Robert Best Lexington, SC

Find the veterans in the organization you want to work for. Connect with them first and work to have them advocate for you. LinkedIn is pretty good at helping to identify the veterans, not always though. Setup informal phone calls with recruiters or hiring managers to ask questions about the company not listed on the website. Ask them to offer additional connections within the company to learn more about what interests you. Hope this helps.


Robert Best Lexington, SC

Find the veterans in the organization you want to work for. Connect with them first and work to have them advocate for you. LinkedIn is pretty good at helping to identify the veterans, not always though. Setup informal phone calls with recruiters or hiring managers to ask questions about the company not listed on the website. Ask them to offer additional connections within the company to learn more about what interests you. Hope this helps.


Joy Montgomery Pleasanton, CA

What LinkedIn groups have you joined and how do you contribute to them? Do you ask questions? Here is one that should be comfortable for you -

Find a few others in the industry that interests you and in subjects that interest you. Mingle but don't ask for a job. Let your tagline speak for you.


Victoria Heck Ashburn, VA

Hi Richard,
I'm a Recruiter and Military Spouse. I reviewed your profile and have a couple suggestions. Under your name you list: Remote, Virtual, Buyer, Supply Chain, Procurement, Purchasing, Temp, Contract, 1099. I would recommend removing the "remote/virtual" unless you're only looking for remote roles. Removing the temp, contract, 1099 might be a good idea too. Those might act as disqualifiers and it might prevent recruiters from reaching out. It's good to keep this info in the "Open to Work" section, though.

For your current job as Buyer, there isn't detail, so adding a few sentences/bullet points of your responsibilities would be helpful. LinkedIn acts like a resume so the more detail the better.

As far as networking, if you haven't already join some Veteran groups/job groups on LinkedIn and start commenting on posts. That gets your profile viewed and will add that comment to your homepage/feed, so all of your connections will see it.

Please connect with me on LinkedIn and happy to talk with you or provide mentorship.


Al Antelman Ventura, CA

Hi Richard,
Joy Montgonery's advice is right on target. Suggest you consider joining a service organization like Rotary International. In my city there are three Rotary Clubs and each publishes a members roster. You might find a decision maker on the local rotary club roster. Other Rotary members may also be helpful. See:
Good luck - Al


Christopher Brown Middleburg, FL

- Join a non-profit organization.
- Look for cohort based college programs
- Find a leader who impresses you and ask them to be your mentor. Your new mentor may know the in’s/out’s and possibly know the people you want to get in front of.
- Network, Network, amd Network! But no military talk unless that mentor fellow veteran.


June Webb Washington, DC

Hello Richard,

First of all the word “networking” is a generalization. It takes years to build a profitable network and creating a business relationship by volunteering or working on collaborative projects to get your name and talent out there.
Clicking on manes and adding them to your profile is a mistake that people often make on Linkedin. They mistake “exposure” as networking. Posting your resume also is not networking. You have to be proactive by reading and interacting on Linkedin by comments and sharing articles that align with your knowledge,

Second, if you are looking for a job then there are steps that you need to take on Linkedin in working on your profile for the best algorithm to generate job matches for you which will pop up if you know how to create your profile accordingly. It will show what percentage your job match is to your profile and how many applicants are applying for that position at different level of experiences and education.

Third, decisions maker usually make decisions on budget not necessarily hiring for the talent. They pass that down to either in-house recruiters or paid subcontract recruiters.
Yes, the world of Tech Information Age can be efficient, but also can be confusing for many.

Hope that gives you some insight on what you are looking to do and I am on Linkedin.

Visionary Successful Guidance
June Webb


T D Dayton, OH

What do you mean when you say it isn't working for you? If you find a job that you're interested in, and qualified for, do you reach out directly to the person who posted the job and ask to speak to him or her? That worked for me multiple times.

Also, keep in mind that a big thing for a lot of organizations is this: "will you fit with the company culture?" That's a bit culture shock for people coming out of the military but it makes sense when you think about the investment. Remember that you're also interviewing the organization to see if they're a fit for you too. It can be a grind, man.

I see that others in this thread have provided excellent advice too. Feel free to hit me up if you want to chat more. It was a massive culture shock for me when I got out. It's definitely a learning process and ACP was a huge help. Remember, LinkedIn isn't your only resource out there. Utilize multiple resources at once too!

- Tom


Kyle Nevala Saint Michael, MN

Here's a suggestion. Ask this networking forum to help you network into what you are looking for. This group will do more than advise. Be specific:
Ask for a warm introduction.
Keep in mind, you may be asked to make some truthful profile modifications and /or provide a lot more honest background and how good you truly are before a warm introduction is made. Being specific helps tremendously to those who can offer you assistance.
Do not be modest, yet be honest If you're not getting noticed, it's time to create and perform your bird of paradise dance. Yes, sometimes this level of flamboyance is necessary.

If you need assistance in crafting a question to this group, look at others in this forum who have asked this same question. Keep in mind, this is a private forum. We offer assistance to help, and sometimes helping can (and needs to) be brutally honest.


Gable Eaton Chattanooga, TN

Hi Richard,

I recall a tip from one of the LinkedIn modules, an added share of a few good ideas of initiating a first contact. The module was not that lengthy, however it covered a few good practices, this one stood out for me. It suggested reading the contacts bio and finding something you have in common or some connector, if not something in common, then something you find interesting. Emphasize that connection or what you find interesting, comment on the connection asking a question, the same for what you may have found interesting. For many it conveys an interest in them and it validates your authenticity. People want to know their interest matter as well and when that is conveyed, first contacts are more likely to respond. I hope this helps.


Harrison Floyd Rockville, MD

The most valuable commodity of decision makers is ....... time. They don't want to waste it, especially on more work that isn't going to save them time. Asking them to coffee, or to talk about the company takes up, TIME.

Change your approach. Don't try to "network," they will see it coming from a mile away. ( Like when you know a homeless person is going to ask you for money) Instead of "networking," try to start a genuine relationship with the right person.

Use LinkedIn and other social media platforms to find common or relatable interests. Approach casually to disarm them. Find ways to get the answers you seek at a relaxing time. I promise you'll find out more about a job or company over a beer / dinner than you will over coffee or an informational interview.


Jerry Welsh Middleville, MI

In reviewing your LinkedIn profile, you are missing hard numbers in your value proposition. Take some time possibly do some informational interviews in the supply chain/purchasing market. Ask questions about what current career folks use as metrics, how did they break into their current position, what are the key components of their position. Seek information, and also networking. If you are genuine in your interviews, people like helping veterans with information about "their" career. DO NOT ASK FOR JOBS in these types of interviewing. Know what the metrics are "decision makers are looking for'! Spend time looking a number of position postings, ones that you are interest in. Check for key components, what are the SKA's and then what certs do they want, what hands on experience. You need to match what the industry wants. Here are a couple of quick reads. Remember that you are part of the 0.5% of Americans who serve their country. You are very well respected, but the chance civilians have been part of the 0.5% simply means they will not understand your language or experiences-without translation. Thank you for your support and sacrifices. God Bless


Paul Tusting Salt Lake City, UT

Hi Richard,
Here is a posting similar to yours which had some great suggestions.
Best of luck!


Jeff Martin Ashburn, VA

What you’re doing really is one of the best approaches, even though it takes time and patience. I’d suggest that you network at the target company or industry. Use LinkedIn to find people already working there and reach out to them. Ask them the process they used to get hired and ask them to help you navigate the hiring process and if they are willing, ask them to submit you as a referral. These activities require much more time on your part but in my opinion would greatly increase your chances for success.

This book might have some ideas that could help you - Networking for people who hate networking, by Devora Zack. It has some very practical advice and techniques.

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