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Having persistently reached out to the HR department for a considerable duration, I decided to take a different approach by emailing the CEO of a company , where I aspire to

As of now, there has been no response from either the HR department or the CEO. Does this absence of response indicate that my resume went unattended or should I wait more

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    why are you posting the same thing again? As before, it went to spam, that's what happens.
    – Aida Paul
    Oct 10, 2023 at 9:44

4 Answers 4

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"Mail the CEO direct!" is one of those inane bits of bad job seeking "advice" that gets trotted out often enough that it's almost enough to make me wish god was real just so I could pray to them that this would just go away.

Here's how it's posited to work by those either those who advise it to be done or by those who come up with the idea on their own:

The CEO is going to be super impressed that I thought out of the box and had such enthusiasm to work for their company that they are going to personally either hire me or shepherd my application through to the person who does. Either way this is a done deal!

Yeah, no. Here's what actually happens:

The CEO (or more likely the CEO's assistant) might just about summon the energy to forward your e-mail as-is to HR but probably just as likely they'll delete your e-mail along with the rest of the spam.

This sort of unsolicited approach is part and parcel of having any sort of significant seniority (I've got at least half a dozen in my business mailbox as I type), and it's noise that you just learn to tune out.

And, truth be told, this is probably the best outcome you can hope for - and not just because it will hopefully mean no-one noticed your broken link faux pas but because for the vast majority of roles a candidate who thinks the normal "rules" don't apply to them, or even is just ignorant of professional norms is actively bad for the role.

There are roles and situations where a direct approach to someone senior like the CEO is a good idea - but very, very few. Typically this might be positions of either a similar level of seniority or for a very significant individual contributor role where you are an established name, not for an "ordinary" employee.

Specifically in your situation you're making speculative approaches for a job that, since you describe it as unadvertised, may not even exist so even if you were a stellar candidate it doesn't follow that a job would be forthcoming. You've "persistently" contacted HR and now spammed the CEO twice - they might not have said so in as many words but it's as clear as day that they aren't interested at this time (and the persistent contact might reduce the chances of them being interested in the future) so move on. Plenty more fish in the sea jobs in the world!

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Does this absence of response indicate that my resume went unattended

Yes. Chances are it got automatically trashed or thrown out the first second a human set eye on it.

or should I wait more ?

No. What you should do is following standard practice: apply through the official channel against a specific job opening. The only other way to get a job is through intensive networking and making a name for yourself in your field.

Cold sending does NOT work. It just annoys people and I suggest stopping it.

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There are, or used to be, ways to make a top-down approach, and hope that even if it just got thrown back into the normal application system the fact that it was passed in from an executive's office might get it a closer look, and where if they liked what they saw they could create an opening. This used to be something executive outplacement firms taught their clients to do. I used a very specifically targeted and structured version of it back in the early 1980s.

But that counted on two things that are virtually extinct: hardcopy mail on high-quality paper which showed that the applicant was making a special effort to be respectful and professional, and an executive assistant who was intelligently screening the relatively small amount of mail and phone calls the executive received. (And on a telephone followup, and on finding the executive's actual office address rather than a random guess or the one easily found on the Internet.)

Email arrives in obscene quantities, gets mechanically filtered, and shows virtually no effort or investment in the attempt. Even paper mail now often gets viciously screened and applications are likely to be tossed in the trash unless there is something exceptional to immediately grab their interest and make them think you might be creative rather than presumptuous.

And you get to ask once if they are interested in pursuing it further. Pestering gets you classified as clueless, spam, or otherwise just an annoyance.

The approach isn't completely misguided. But you are going to have to put a lot more work into it to get any attention at all, and unless you are applying for a relatively high-level position where a direct approach makes some sense, the odds of it going anywhere but the circular file are pretty darned low.

Point for creativity, demerit for sloppy execution, net value likely zero even if it actually got read.

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If you are serious about "cold mailing" CEO's, it helps to act like a normal salesperson: need to contact hundreds of CEO's to find one that has a need right now. You have contacted one. You have many more to contact.

It also helps to switch to paper mail as that is rarer that email. The few job seeking letters I have received are more likely to be read than the hundreds of cold emails I get each week.

"Cold calling" and "cold mailing" take time, effort, and persistence to work. They do work, but they require contacting hundreds of people.

It is also important to look at the economic situation. In a recession, it can be far more difficult to find work and require contacting several hundred more people.

Before you mail another resume, ask someone to review what you are sending out. Some "brutal honest review" might improve what you send to improve its chances of being read. Ask if this is addressing a real business problem.

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  • "They do work, but they require contacting hundreds of people" - but that's almost certainly worse odds than just applying through the normal channels. "It does work" is a rather charitable description of a tactic you describe as failing more than 99% of the time. Oct 10, 2023 at 15:20
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    It depends on the position you are applying for, the credentials you bring to the table, how professionally you carry this out -- and you have to accept that you get to ask them ONCE to ask if they are interested in pursuing this further. The effort described is failing on all three, it seems.
    – keshlam
    Oct 10, 2023 at 16:21
  • @NuclearHoagie You are correct in that they are terrible odds and salespeople get trained on how to handle that much rejection. However, there are times when the "normal channels" have worse odds.
    – David R
    Oct 10, 2023 at 20:22

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