I was able to network with an alumnus who works at a company I want to apply to. In my initial approach I said that I had questions about my fit with the company and that I wanted to discuss them. I can do that fine, but how do I talk to him about getting my resume sent to hr? Is this something that I should wait for the alumni to suggest?

Are there any other important etiquettes that I should be aware of?

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    You don't want him to send your resume to HR. You want him to recommend you to a hiring manager there who can actually offer you a job.
    – enderland
    Commented Oct 11, 2012 at 17:16
  • @enderland: agreed, best to get it as close as possible to the source.... Commented Oct 11, 2012 at 17:25
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    FWIW, alumni is plural. Commented Oct 12, 2012 at 2:12

2 Answers 2


First, you don't want to come off as pushy but at the same time you don't want to bet on him making the first move. It is a delicate dance that requires you to network in a business fashion.

Next, because he is an alumnus he hopefully considers you as "from the same camp" and will have a positive disposition towards you. In addition, it is expected that there will be networking and asking about positions and putting in good words, resumes, etc. from alumni.

Nevertheless, you want to make sure he is informed that you are good for the position and that him submitting your resume won't make him look bad. Talk to him so he feels confident and good about your skills. This impression is everything. You almost want him to go away with the mind set "Hey boss, look who I found for this job! - hopefully you will remember this in the next raise review"

With all this on your side, I would then just get to it: "Would you be able to submit my resume to the hiring manager of this position, please?" See how much better this feels, make it a win win and feel good about asking - he will pick up on that!

Worst case he will say something like they are not hiring right now...maybe brush you off in some way - but that is OK! You got nothing to lose as long as your are respectful even if he does brush you off.

In conclusion, be professional and remember to do everything you can to make him feel good about being the one to submit your resume. If you get hired make sure you thank him !

  • I'd add that buying someone lunch or dinner in addition to having the right verbal approach is usually a great idea. Commented Oct 11, 2012 at 19:18
  • @JoshuaAslanSmith: I was actually thinking this, but then remembered many companies look down on this type of thing, especially if he doesn't know him well, so didn't want to suggest putting him in that position, but if he makes a close relationship with him that would be great! Commented Oct 11, 2012 at 20:35
  • yea for now, this is not happening unless i make it to the final round onsite interview. I live too far away.
    – mugetsu
    Commented Oct 11, 2012 at 20:51
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    @GregMcNulty I get what you are saying and it is something to think about. I also think that where you take someone to lunch is just as important as doing it especially with those type of concerns. Maybe coffee then? Commented Oct 11, 2012 at 21:24
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    @JoshuaAslanSmith: coffee is a good compromise....+1 Commented Oct 11, 2012 at 21:53

On the one hand, waiting till your alma matter acquaintance suggests the idea, might lead to it never happening. On the other, being pushy and putting him or her in an awkward situation gets you no further.

Having previously been in the awkward position of having a few multiple former classmates, not all of whom were all-star performers, persistently ask me to forward their resume to my boss, I would hesitate. You might want to ask your contact whether s/he thinks you'd be a good fit for her company. If she has any reservations, ask lots of questions, and give him/her some ammo to sell him/her on the fit being good.

Do all of that before suggesting s/he approach his/her boss, so you get a glowing recommendation rather than "apologies in advance boss, another classmate asked me to forward you their resume, I don't even know this guy!". Even if she tries to be polite, if she's curt and enthused in her language on one forwarded resume, and glowing in another, the boss may realize this was sent "just as a favor" and not follow up. Your acquaintance certainly doesn't want to risk tarnishing her reputation by endorsing an unknown quantity that turns out to be a bad hire, so make sure s/he has gotten to know enough about you to feel confident recommending you.

You could broach the topic by asking whether s/he gets people asking to forward their resumes all the time? Is that super-awkward? "well, then I probably shouldn't ask, should I?" ;-). Ask her/him whether it's better to apply through internal channels (like forwarding her resume) or through the formal channels (it depends on the company!). Give her an easy out if she's really uncomfortable with the idea of forwarding your resume, but at some point, if you don't ask you will not receive.

Consider, also, other alternatives. Would it be just as good to take her and her boss out to lunch sometime so they can get to know you better? Introduce you to someone in the department you're looking to apply to? Etc.

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