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23 Jul 2023 Austin Belcak

How To Get A Job Anywhere Without Applying Online

I spent 12 months going to over 50 interviews at places like Microsoft, Google, Uber, Twitter, and more. These are the exact formulas that I used to land interviews and offers at these companies, in some cases, without any connections. This resulted in a dream job offer from Microsoft with a $70,000+ raise. The goal of this post is to teach you that system so you can get the same results for yourself!

The Worst Feeling

Looking for a new job? Maybe even the job? Raise your hand if this has happened to you:

After weeks of searching you've finally found it. The one. The day-to-day is perfect, the salary is a big step up, the hours are flexible, and the benefits are amazing (not to mention it's less than 10 minutes from your place!). You head over to LinkedIn looking for connections and….they're all 3rd degree with your mutual being that weird kid from high school you haven't spoken to in 8 years. Ugh…

We’ve all been there – the feeling of defeat washing over you before you've even had the chance to get started. So what do you do next? What anyone else the 21st century would do – Google it!

  • “Go to large meetups and network with as many people as you can!”
  • “Join professional organizations with like minded people in your field!”
  • “Just email people and ask!”

These are all suggestions that popped up when I searched for “how to get a job” (man, most career advice on the internet is really bad).

You know where you won’t find top performers looking to hire the best talent for Google, Facebook, or Apple? At networking events and meetups. They just don’t have time for that, and neither do you. Most of the people at these events are not very influential within their industrial niches and therefore aren’t going to do much for your cause.

How To Get A Job Anywhere With No Connections - Networking Event

Which one of you is Tim Cook?

What about emailing and asking? Well, how would you feel if some stranger emailed you and just asked for a job? You’d probably laugh them all the way to your spam folder.

You probably also noticed that I didn’t mention submitting your resume online (where resumes go to die). That sounds harsh, I know, but how many people do you know submitting 20 applications online hear back? It’s simply not a good use of your time.

So how do you get your foot in the door?

In this article I'm going to show you the exact process you can use to get a job interview at your dream company, even if you don't know a SINGLE person there.

How do I know it works? Because these are the exact steps I used to get job interviews and offers at companies like Google, Uber, Twitter, and more.

Referrals Are The Most Effective Way To Get Hired

If looking for mutual connections was your first thought when seeking career opportunities, then you’re on the right track. Referrals are easily the most effective way to secure a job interview and land the offer:

  • 40% of hires come from referrals, the next largest channel is via career sites at 21% (almost half as many!)
  • Referrals get hired in an average of 3 weeks while other applicants take up to 7 weeks
  • Referrals get paid more on average than cold applicants

How To Get A Job Anywhere With No Connections - Jobvite Referrals Infographic

40% of hires come from referrals (courtesy of

All of those things sound great to me, so how do we make it happen? You said you don’t know anyone at this company right? Not to worry, I've got you covered.

Want To Land A Job Referral In The Next 14 Days?

My free Job Referral Toolkit covers all of the tools and steps you need to make connections and land a referral at your dream company.

Click here to get the Job Referral Toolkit totally free!

Part 1: How To Get A Job Interview When You Don't Know A Single Person At The Company

Ready? Let's dive in.

Know Your Role (And Find It!)

The first step is having a solid idea of the specific role that you're looking for, right down to the company and title (if possible). Next, you'll need to make sure that role is available. You can do that by finding the role on the company's website or by using any of these free job posting sites. For today, let’s assume that you want to be an Account Manager in the Technology B2B vertical at Google.

Nice! Looks like a spot is open in New York (where you’re from in this case):

How To Get A Job Anywhere With No Connections - Google Job Posting - Account Manager, New York, NY

Locate Potential Influencers

Now, you are going to find someone who not only knows about the role, but could potentially have an impact on hiring for it. Time to fire up LinkedIn.

In the search bar, I want you to plug in the company name and all of the information I highlighted above (title, vertical/industry, preferred city). However, before you hit “Search,” we need to remember that you are looking for someone who can influence the hiring process.

With that in mind, I usually use a title that is one level up from the position that I’m looking for.

If you’re not familiar with title hierarchy structures in the corporate world, here is a quick guide (if you are already familiar with how titles are structured, feel free to skip this section):

Side Note: A Brief Guide To Company Organizational Structures By Title

Every company has a hierarchy starting at the top with the CEO/Founder all the way down to the entry level employees. When researching companies, especially people to speak to within those companies, it helps to know where certain titles fit in the food chain. That way you can ensure you are talking to the right person.

Here is a general list of titles that fits almost any company, starting at the top:

C-­Level (CEO, CTO, CFO, COO, etc.)

Vice President (VP)


Senior Manager


Coordinator (Entry Level)

Associates, Executives, and Seniors

In many companies, the above titles have some sort of variation that allows for greater segmentation within that level. The most common forms of this are Associate, Executive, and Senior. Here is what those mean:

Associate: this title is usually given to someone who is halfway between positions for some reason (maybe there is typically a 4 year gap between levels and they are 2 years in). A person with Associate in their title is usually one notch below a person with the original title. For example, an Associate Account Manager would most likely be one level below an Account Manager.

Senior: ­this title is the more experienced version of an Associate. People with Senior in their title are usually one notch above the original title. For example, a Senior Account Manager would be one notch above an Account Manager.

Executive: ­this title is usually given to people who are very senior, or around the level of Vice President. The two most common cases are Sales Executive/Account Executive (synonymous terms for a senior salesperson) or Executive Vice President who is two notches above a Vice President and one notch above a Senior Vice President. That should be all the info you need to make an educated decision around where people stand within the company you are researching!

Now that you’re familiar with the company structure, let’s get back to finding that influencer who can help you land a job.

Since we are looking for an Account Manager role, the next step up would be Senior Account Manager so your LinkedIn search would look like this:

How To Get A Referral Anywhere - LinkedIn Search

Our first result? A Senior Account Manager who works in B2B at Google in New York – nailed it!

Example of Senior Account Manager Title In LinkedIn Search For Referrals

Obtaining Contact Info

Now, we’re going to reach out and set up an in-person meeting.

What’s that? You don’t have their email address? I got you covered! Here are 3 strategies you can use to find almost anyone’s email address:


This one is obvious, I know, but it’s a big time saver and definitely worth the 10 seconds it takes to check.

On the person’s profile, right under their picture, there can be a button labeled “Contact Info” (I say “can be” because people have the option to remove it). Occasionally, people will have their email address listed right there – voila!

If not, let’s move right along…

Reverse Lookup

Head over to Mailscoop and enter the first and last name of the person you are searching for, as well as their company's website. For example, if we were trying to find Elon Musk's email, our form would look like this:

Mailscoop email finder tool locating an email address
Once it spits out their email you can confirm it using

Matching Formats

If that doesn’t work, you can try finding someone else’s email at the company and use that format reverse engineering your target email address.

For example, using Larry Page again, if I know that my buddy John Smith’s email is [email protected] then I can assume that Larry’s email is [email protected] (it’s not, sorry).

The easiest way to get a hold of a company email address is to reach out to someone in sales or media, because both of these departments usually have inbound lead forms and people on the other end ready to pounce on those emails.

We can also use our LinkedIn method here and target salespeople. Salespeople almost always have their corporate email listed on their LinkedIn because it’s a free win for them. If someone is looking for their product and then finds them on LinkedIn, boom! They just got an effortless inbound lead.

Once you have the format, you can use to confirm your target email address:Email Address Verification Example

Research, Research, Research

Now that you have your potential influencer, it’s time to do some research so you can effectively reach out and build that relationship!

Start with the usual suspects – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. and look for common points of interest. To be honest, most people are better at this online research thing than I am, so I’ll get back to the meat here.

One thing I will say is, don’t skimp! The more you get to know this person beforehand, the better your chances are of landing a referral from them.

Some people have said to me, “Austin, isn’t this a little weird? I feel like I’m kind of stalking this person.” I totally get it. However, this information is critical for quickly building a strong relationship and getting that referral!

Also, in my experience, people tend to expect that you’ve done some research on them. The key is to understand what is kosher to bring up out of the blue and what isn’t. People are OK with you checking out their LinkedIn, but they may be a little weirded out if you mention that picture from Saturday’s Bar Crawl that you saw on Facebook.

My general rule of thumb is this: if it exists on LinkedIn, it’s fair game to bring up. If you found it somewhere else (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) use a different method. For example, if I see that my influencer is a skiing fanatic, I may bring up that I went on a ski trip a few weeks beforehand.

Finally, if you want to take it to the next level, take a page out of Meredith Castin's book and work to get involved with organizations/activities where you might meet your potential connections.

Things like Toastmasters, Meetups, and Volunteering events are a great way to connect. Many companies tend to have events that are open to the public so keep an eye on their social media and website for those!

Sending The Email

Now that you have your potential influencer and their contact info, it’s time to reach out.

Not only is this one of the scarier parts of this process, it is also one of the most pivotal. To help you get past that hump, I’ve included the exact email scripts that I used to reach out to people.

Hopefully, your research uncovered an angle you can use to personalize the email and make the outreach about them. This could be something like:

  • A non-traditional background
  • An interesting career pivot or move
  • A current project they're working on
  • An article they wrote
  • Something from their personal website
  • Etc.

For example, if you were going to email me, you might dial into the fact that I transitioned from healthcare into the tech space.

Here's the email you'd write for that:

Subject: Quick Question

Hi Austin,

My name is [Your Name] and I found your info while I was looking for people who made the jump into tech from a non-traditional background. Your experience transitioning from healthcare to Microsoft really stood out to me.

I'm sure that transition wasn't easy! I'd love to hear more about your journey, some of the obstacles you faced, and ask you a few questions.

I know you're busy and your time is valuable, no need to respond in depth. If you do have a few minutes to chat, I'd be really grateful. If not, no worries! Either way, have a fantastic week.


[Your Name]

Awesome! That email is enticing because it focused on me and my background. I'm going to be much more likely to reply to that than someone who's just firing off resumes.

However, you're not always going to find an easy angle like a non-traditional background. Sometimes people don't have a ton of info online or in their profiles. In that case, you just have to give it your best shot.

Let's pretend that I’m reaching out to Tim who works at Google, but doesn't have a lot of info online. Here's what I'd write:

Subject: Quick Question

Hi Tim,

My name is Austin and I currently work at Cultivated Culture. I was browsing through LinkedIn and came across your information – I hope you don’t mind me reaching out of the blue here.

I saw that you have extensive experience in Google’s Technology B2B vertical and I’m very interested in learning more about that space. I would love to have the opportunity to run some questions by you, as well as tap into any advice you may have given your knowledge of the industry.

I know that your time is extremely valuable so please don’t feel to need to respond in depth. If you do have 5 minutes to chat, I would really appreciate it.



There are a few key points to the emails above:

  • Address the person you are emailing by name
  • State who you are and make it personable
  • Include some flattery that positions the person as an “expert”

As for the subject, Fast Company did a study where they emailed 1,000 C-level executives from Fortune & Inc 500 companies. They found that the subject line “Quick Question” made up 66.7% of total replies. That was good enough for me so I tried it out and saw similar results.

All of this said, the script is just a framework. You will most likely need to tweak your emails to fit the situation. When that time comes, I recommend checking out Sam Parr's incredible guide on how to cold email like a boss (Sam has started conversations with Jeff Bezos and Brian Lee (aka Jessica Alba's co-founder) via cold email!). It’s the same guide I used to help craft my email templates.

Now hit Send!

Prepare For Your Meeting

In order to prepare, we have to know what we’re preparing for. The goal of your meeting is to position your influencer as an expert, make them feel special, and build a relationship.

You will not and should not mention anything about the opening at their company. People innately enjoy helping others and if you follow the steps above, they will bring this up naturally.
You will want to prepare a list of questions that gets them to open up about themselves and the company. I like to ask them several softballs to get things warmed up and then hit them with a few questions they are guaranteed to remember.

Here is a quick set that I’ve had success with in the past (I've found the last one really seems to stick):

  1. I saw you worked at [Previous Companies]. How did you end up going from [First Industry] to becoming interested in [Current Company]?
  2. You hear a lot about [Current Company] in the news, but I’d love to hear more about why you love working there. What’s your favorite part?
  3. What is one totally unexpected lesson you’ve learned from working at [Current Company]?

The “Million Dollar” Question

Regardless of the questions you choose, there is one that you must always be sure to ask:

“What is the biggest challenge your team is facing right now?”

Really dig in here, get them to be specific. This information is going to be critical in helping you land a referral from this person, as well as getting the offer further down the road.

Your Homework: Prove Your Worth With A Value Validation Project

Okay, so you met with your influencer, things went great, and you identified a major pain point that the team is having. Now we're going to focus on that last part.

Of all the job search strategies I've tested, there's one that stands above the rest.

I call it a Value Validation Project (or VVP for short).

VVPs are kind of like a resume on steroids. You find a pain point or opportunity, then you create a deliverable that illustrates:

  • The research you've done on the company
  • The problem or opportunity at hand
  • Solutions or ideas to help the company win
  • Your background as evidence for why you're the best person to execute on these ideas

These projects are super effective for a few reasons.

First, you get to share your message in your own words and on your own terms (not is some weird resume jargon).

Second, the value you're providing is insanely relevant to what the hiring team is looking for. You're literally giving them ideas that they'd expect from the person they hire.

Third, no one else is doing this. Creating a VVP will completely set you apart.

So how do you do it?

Over the next week you are going to research the crap out of your influencer's problem. Then you are going to come up with a solution and draft up a proposal for how you would solve it. Your proposal should include:

  • A summary of the problem (to illustrate that you understand their pain)
  • A step-by-step framework of how you would solve this problem
  • A brief outline of how your skill set positions you as an asset to implement that solution

If you want to see some examples of VVPs that worked, this article has 12 of them.

Additionally, I put together a Value Validation Starter Kit with the exact deck template I use with all of the clients, as well as 4 examples for different scenarios (solving a problem, highlighting an opportunity, showcasing past experience, and asking for a promotion / raise). You can check that out here.

If design isn't your thing, no worries! Put all of your info into a word doc and then head over to Upwork where you can hire a graphic designer to make your proposal look amazing. If you've never hired on Upwork before, here's a guide that will get you started.

Following Up With Your Proposal

Now we're going to reach back out to our influencer with the proposal.

Here's the template I used:

Hi [Influencer],

Thanks again for taking the time out to chat last week!

I spent a lot of time thinking about what you said regarding [team's biggest challenge]. In fact, I created a short framework that should help you solve it! Please find that attached.

If you have some time, I would love to chat about it in more detail.

Please let me know if you have any questions, I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts!



It's very important that you do not mention the open position in any of your emails or the proposal. Be patient and wait for their response. When they do get back to you, they will not only bring up the opening but they will ask you if you're interested. Kindly accept and play it cool. You’re in!

But What About My Resume & Cover Letter?

Resumes and cover letters are definitely an important part of the job search, but people tend to place too much emphasis on them. If you're following the steps in this article to build relationships and add value , your resume won't matter nearly as much because your contact will already have a full understanding of the value that you bring to the table.

That said, you should spend some time optimizing your job search materials so they're ready to go when your contact offers to refer you in.

To help make sure your resume is on point, I created this resume builder that's free to use:Screenshot of free resume templates in my free resume builder tool

Next, check out my guide on writing resumes that will actually get you hired.

That will give you a great foundation and you can build off of it with these articles on writing highly effective resume bullets, accurately conveying your skills on your resume, and writing a resume objective that will boost your chances of getting hired.

Finally, this guide on writing cover letters will help you spin up a final draft in less than 30 minutes so you can move on to the next part of the process – interview prep.

Want To Land A Job Referral In The Next 14 Days?

My free Job Referral Toolkit covers all of the tools and steps you need to make connections and land a referral at your dream company.

Click here to get the Referral Toolkit totally free!

Part 2: How To Breeze Through The Interview Process

Ok, now we've got the in. Our influencer passed along our resume to HR and they reached out to set up a phone screen. Once we get past that, we'll be on to interviewing with the team, and then getting the job! Easy though, we still have a lot of work to do.

The Universal Interview Template

Interviews can be daunting, especially at companies like Google, Amazon, or Uber. I'm sure you've read the horror stories about crazy questions they ask people like “Quick! How many golf balls can fit inside a school bus,” or, “how many gas stations are there in Manhattan?”

The truth is, most of these companies have done away with those questions. They crunched the numbers and found that the answers didn't correlate with high employee performance (shocker, I know). In fact, Google's own Senior Vice President of People Operations called them a “complete waste of time.”

These companies have since reverted back to the standard style of interviews, which is great for us because it makes it much easier to identify patterns. We can essentially “guess” what questions will be on the test and prepare answers that will blow our interviewers away (it works way better than it did in college, I swear).

Here is the process I used to prepare for each interview:

Nailing The Basics: Questions You'll Get In Every Interview

One of the easiest ways to be a better interviewer is to prepare for the most obvious questions. You may be saying “well duh,” but you'd be surprised by how many people spread themselves too thin by trying to prepare answers to every possible question.

99% of the interviews you go on will follow the exact same template. If you can master the format, your confidence will skyrocket and you'll be prepared for almost any situation you get thrown into.

The Universal Job Interview Format:

  1. Tell me about yourself (your experience, why you're interested in this role, etc.)
  2. A mix of behavioral questions, which we'll dive into shortly
  3. What questions do you have for me (the interviewer)?

Let's tackle each individually.

Tell Me About Yourself!

This is your first impression. More importantly, it’s the only part of the interview that you totally control. Do NOT rattle off your resume like a grocery list.

In order to nail this part you need to craft an interesting story – your story. You want it to be concise (around 2-3 minutes) and you need to think about what you want to convey. I recommend:

  • Choosing 2-3 themes to build your story around (for me, those themes were Persistence, Agility, and Success)
  • Including quantitative metrics whenever possible
  • Addressing the question of why you want to leave your current position (they are going to ask you this anyways, addressing it early shows that you're aware it's a concern of theirs and helps put them at ease)

To help get you started, here is what my story looked like. To give you some context, I was a biology major who was interested in landing a job in digital marketing:

Growing up, like most people, I wanted to be a doctor. I went to [college] where I majored in biology and planned my course to medical school. Not long after, I decided that pre-med wasn’t for me. I wanted to get into digital marketing, and I wanted to be in New York. I set my sights on this goal and created a plan that would get me there.

In 2013, I graduated with my biology degree and took a job in medical device sales where I worked from 5:30am – 12:30pm covering surgical cases in the operating room. Then, every day, I would come home and study digital marketing until 8:00pm. In order to gain relevant experience, I got certified in Google Analytics & AdWords and created my own consulting firm that focused on using search engine marketing to generate leads for private golf communities. We were able to increase home sales by an average of 20% while reducing the cost per lead by around 10%. Armed with my new credentials, I began to look for positions in New York.

Eventually, I was offered a position at my current company (a promotional analytics company in New York). During my tenure there I have grown my book of business by 467%, spearheaded the creation of an internal group dedicated to marketing the company on the internet, and helped close the 2nd largest deal in company history.

However, the company has restructured several times since I was brought on. I've had 3 different managers over the past year, as well as 3 titles with different sets of responsibilities. I'm looking for something a bit more stable and has been somewhere that I have wanted to work since I got into this industry. I'm really excited to have this opportunity.

Pro Tip: You are telling a story. Don’t be afraid to embellish a bit. I’m not saying you should lie or make up stories, but you want to sell yourself and you can bet your butt that your competition isn’t afraid to inflate their credentials. It doesn't hurt to practice either. As blogger Ryan Robinson adds, “rehearsing and building upon my story over the years, is one of the ways I've honed my ability to write a blog post that tells a compelling narrative about why my clients should hire me.”

Behavioral Questions

Next up is the dreaded set of behavioral questions. The ones meant to tease out your thought process and your ability to be a “team player,” as well as why you're interested in this specific role. This is the part where our educated “guesses” are going to come in handy.

The behavioral section is broken down into two parts that I call Standard Questions and Company Specific Questions. Let's start with the former.

Standard Questions

You are going to be asked a variation of one, if not all, of these questions in every single interview you go to:

  1. Why do you want to work for us?
  2. Tell me about a time you exhibited leadership
  3. Tell me about a time where you had to work as a team
  4. Tell me about a time you've had to work with a difficult person, or difficult people
  5. Tell me about a time you failed
  6. Tell me about a time you overcame an obstacle
  7. Tell me about a time when you had success

If you can answer these 6 questions, you could handle 9 out of 10 interviews with no other preparation and be totally fine. Just follow the same set of rules I mentioned above in the Tell Me About Yourself section:

  • Craft a concise story
  • Make sure to include quantitative metrics that illustrate your success
  • Anticipate and address objections

Company Specific Questions

These are questions that fall in the middle of the 7 listed above and “why are man hole covers round?” Never fear though, we can anticipate these too.

Head over to GlassDoor. If you've never heard of GlassDoor, it's a great resource for any job seeker that includes salaries, reviews, and interview information for almost any company in the world.

First, you are going to search for the position you're applying for. In keeping with our theme, we'll search for “Google” under Companies & Reviews:

How To Get A Job Anywhere With NO Connections - Google Glassdoor

Next, we're going to click on the “Interviews” Tab:

How To Get A Job Anywhere With NO Connections - Google Interviews Tab

Then scroll down and click on “Filter Interviews” which will bring up some advanced settings. Here we'll type in the title of the job we want (Account Manager, in this case) and the location (New York, NY). We'll also select “Received Offer” because the people who didn't receive offers tend to be slightly, ahem, biased:
How To Get A Job Anywhere With No Connections - Candidate Interview Reviews

This will pull up a list of reviews from everyone who interviewed and received an offer for that position. The general comments are really helpful, but we want to focus on a section called Interview Questions towards the bottom. I usually comb through 10 – 15 of these and add all of the interview questions into a Word doc so I can answer them later:

How To Get A Job Anywhere With No Connections - Account Manager Interview

 Now you have your second set of questions to prepare for!

What Questions Do You Have For Me?

Finally, once they are done peppering you with questions, your interviewer will ask if you have any questions for them. In my opinion this is the most crucial part of the interview.

Why? Because so many people neglect it. If you can ask some questions that are even slightly outside of the box, I've found that really sticks with the interviewer more than any other part of the meeting.

After every interview I've been on, I asked for feedback. Without fail, the interviewer made a positive comment about the questions I asked. The good news for you is that I asked the same exact questions in every single one! Here they are:

  • What is your favorite part about working here?
  • What is the biggest challenge you are facing right now?
  • Let’s say that in one year, you are looking back on this hire. What has that person done to exceed expectations on every level?
  • Ask about a current event (for example – I saw that [Competitor X] came out with this product. How do you see that affecting your business?)
  • What is the most unexpected lesson you’ve learned while working at ?
  • Tell me a little bit more about you, what do you like to do outside of work?

The first four are fairly standard questions, but the last two really seal the deal. Don't be surprised if you get a “wow, I've never been asked that – give me a second” when you drop the unexpected lesson.

The final question opens up a personal dialogue with the interviewer that allows you to establish a connection that moves you up from “interviewer-interviewee” status to “personal conversation” status. Plus it will give you great content to put in your thank you email.

Say Thank You!

While we're on the subject, be absolutely sure to send a thank you email to everyone you interviewed with. Also include a personal touch to each one (something that you gained from that last question).

Many people I talk to say “but I don't have their email Austin!” Ask for it!! At the end of every interview always, always ask for a business card or write down the person's email in your notebook (you did bring a notebook, right??).

If you do end up in that bucket, try using the techniques I outlined above for finding people's emails and you should be fine.

Want To Land A Job Referral In The Next 14 Days?

My free Job Referral Toolkit covers all of the tools and steps you need to make connections and land a referral at your dream company.

Click here to get the Referral Toolkit totally free!

Part 3: Following Up & What To Do If They Say No


I Haven't Heard Back In 3 Days!

Whoa, whoa easy there. This is one of the most common mistakes I see from job applicants. I understand how nerve wracking it is to sit there and wait while everything is completely out of your hands.

One of the toughest things I had to learn throughout my interview process was that, while this is a HUGE deal to you, it's really just another agenda item on the hiring manager's schedule.

They will get back to you, and if they don't? You don't want to work for someone who doesn't have the courtesy of replying to the people they do business with.

So When Can I Send Them A Reminder?

The rule of thumb for following up after an interview is one business week. If you interviewed on a Tuesday, wait until the next Tuesday to email them (as JT O'Donnell says, never send a nudge on a Monday!). When you do, don't push or be blunt. Keep it short and sweet:

Hi [Interviewer],

I hope you had a great week!

I wanted to quickly follow up and see if there was anything else I could help with regarding the application process. If so, please let me know!



That's it. If they don't respond to that after another 3-4 days, you have your answer and it's time to move on.

What Happens If They Say No?

Ugh. The worst case scenario. Don't get down just yet though, we're not done here!

I have this quality where I have trouble accepting “no” as an answer. When I was interviewing with Google, the initial screener told me that she wasn't going to put me through because she “didn't think I was qualified, and didn't want to waste the team's time.”

I was not happy. So I sent her this:

Hi [Recruiter],

Thank you again for carving out the time to speak this afternoon. I really appreciate your feedback, and I wanted to add one final note:

I completely understand your concerns regarding my experience with [skill]. You are correct that I didn't have much experience with that at [previous company]. That said, this doesn't stem from an inability to produce results, but rather a lack of opportunity to do so.

While my experience on paper may not match up to the initial expectations of the position's description, I have do have two qualities that work in my favor: I am an extremely efficient learner, and am also very effective at translating those learnings into practice. Second, I'm much more tenacious than your average individual. My career has hinged on these two qualities.

I left college with no digital experience and a biology degree – all of my digital knowledge was obtained through self study. I spent 8 months selling myself without the on-paper experience to back it up. When I was finally given the opportunity to apply my knowledge in a business setting, I playing a critical role in landing the company's 2nd largest deal in history. I am confident that I can have the same success in this role. I have the resources necessary to learn what I need in order to be successful at , and am prepared to do whatever it takes to make that happen.

I understand that  interview process is extremely challenging, and that only the top talent ends up with an offer letter at the end. I also believe that I am worthy of a shot at that letter. [Company] is known for hiring people who excel at the intangibles, as well the ability to learn new things and apply them to existing knowledge. That is my forte.

I am not asking for an offer. I am simply asking for the opportunity to speak with the hiring manager to make my case for the position. I'm sure you will find the best person for the position, I would just like to have a legitimate shot at being that person. If you give me that chance, my next set of answers will not disappoint.

Thank you again for your continued consideration.


Nowww that may be a little aggressive…

Ok, it was pretty aggressive. But she wrote me back an hour later and pushed me through to the next round! Mission accomplished.

The moral of the story here is, don't give up if you get a “No.” Try to identify why you were turned down and then send a note to hiring manager addressing those items (feel free to copy mine!).

Now, What Are You Waiting For?

There you have it. The exhaustive, step-by-step guide to landing an interview and then getting an offer from the company of your dreams. What are you waiting for? Get out there and start researching!

If you have any questions at all, please feel free to reach out. I made this site and this guide to help you land your dream job. I can't wait to connect with you. Until then, cheers!

Want To Land A Job Referral In The Next 14 Days?

My free Job Referral Toolkit covers all of the tools and steps you need to make connections and land a referral at your dream company.

Click here to get the Referral Toolkit totally free!

Austin Belcak

Austin is the founder of Cultivated Culture where he helps people land jobs without connections, without traditional experience, and without applying online. His strategies have been featured in Forbes, Business Insider, & Fast Company and has helped people just like you land jobs at Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Twitter, & more.

121 thoughts on How To Get A Job Anywhere Without Applying Online
  1. Brian Andersen says:

    Thanks for this great article. I am sure to read this more than once.

    1. You’re so welcome Brian, I’m glad it was helpful!

  2. sudharsan sun says:

    Super thank u so much ..

  3. Badea says:

    I couldn’t be luckier, I got the chance to know about you and learn from you!

    1. I’m the lucky one to have you reading Badea!

  4. Daksh says:

    Amazing Work done on this post, I Love this post.

    1. Thanks for the kind words Daksh! Super happy to hear it was helpful!

  5. ddoverseas says:

    Nice article. Very informative. Thanks for sharing this article. 

    1. Thanks for giving it a read!

  6. herrskjortor says:

    Hopefully I’d be as great as you someday

    1. You’re going to be even better!

  7. Sheila says:

    Really good read!

  8. Eunice Kwava says:

    Thank you that was helpful

    1. You got it Eunice, happy to help 🙂

  9. Natalie says:

    Various tips in this article have given me props in interviews and on my job search.

    “What is the biggest challenge your team is facing right now?”

    Works like a charm. Appreciative.

    1. It’s all about asking the right questions to the right people Natalie — I’m so happy to hear the strategies in here helped make a difference for you!

  10. Amna Sheikh says:

    Connections are important but i think if you have experience working with good company you can easily find a job through online jobs portal but yes your resume need to be really really good.

    1. Right now the chances of landing a job if you apply online are about 1-2% Amna. Sure, you can land a job that way but that’s a tough game to play. On the other hand, referrals make up 40%+ of hires, the largest channel by far! I like those odds a lot better.

  11. leila says:

    Thank you very much! This is really very helpful!

  12. Shook says:

    Oh my, after reading this, i had the same feeling when i finished watching Christopher Nolan movie. Mind blowing.

    1. Haha that is high praise!! I’ll take it – happy to hear that the strategies were mind blowing!

  13. Julie says:

    Wow that is one very thorough article, I think you covered everything there thanks. One thing I always say to people is always try to find a job in an area you enjoy and are passionate about, if you do this you will enjoy your life so much more.

    1. That was my goal Julie! I wanted to make sure I packed everything into one place so it was easy to find and reference.

  14. David says:

    Amazing. Amazing. Amazing read. It almost seems like there is nothing left to ask because they all have answered in this one article. Invaluable insight and knowledge gained.

    1. Awesome! That was my goal when I was writing it, I’m so glad it landed that way David!

  15. Arnab Chakraborty says:

    Thanks for the amazing article . I really liked it.

    1. You got it Arnab! Thanks for reading!

  16. Sveta says:

    Thanks so much. This article is brilliant!

    1. Aww thank you so much Sveta!

  17. Michael Kampf says:

    If you don’t have a Company email address, you can’t access Viola Norbert. Any other suggestions.

    1. Thanks Michael! Check out, you don’t need an account to use it 🙂

  18. Abraham says:

    Excellent post, thanks for taking the effort !!

  19. Hamna says:

    Thank you informative and practical.

  20. hima says:

    Hi I have a question, If I have the influencer on my linkedin network send to him message directly or send him in gmail?

    1. cultivatedculture says:

      I always recommend using email over LinkedIn. That’s not to say LinkedIn won’t work, but I’ve had much better results on email. Make sure you’re using an email tracker and following up too!

  21. Deric says:

    I really like this, but when we ask for the 5 minute chat, I assume you mean phone or should I try to meet him in person?

    1. If you can get in person, do it! That said, most people will want to do via phone which is totally fine.

  22. Do you mind if I quote a few of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources back to your site?
    My website is in the very same area of interest as yours and my visitors would genuinely benefit from
    a lot of the information you provide here. Please let me know if this alright with you.

    1. Not at all! Feel free to share!

  23. That’s great article you have written over here, that’s what i needed the most right now because as an engineering student i am looking for some guidance about how to get or search for jobs so thanks a lot for this wonderful article. I am sure i am going to follow these guidelines.

  24. Anonymous says:

    I read this article on a Thursday, the following day I got a rejection email from a company I applied to. I took the bold step and contacted the director of the company, not the hr that sent the rejection. I sold myself to him, stating the values I would add to the company. To my surprise, I got a reply asking me to come for a chat. After the meeting, I got an offer. I could not believe it. It is good to be a bit aggressive when you need something. Thanks for the idea.

    1. savannah says:

      I despise the gatekeepers, but sometimes you can’t get around the lil darlings that have no business hiring for companies because they really REALLY have NO idea how to pick a quality candidate. I found a really good article in trade mag. Contacted the guy who wrote it, wanted to work for him. He referred me to HR and they basically blew me off. Went to a mixer thing and met the VP of marketing told him how much I liked his company, would love a chance to work there. He tells me to send resume to HR. They blew me off again. Got an email asking WHY I didn’t follow through and I said I had. But couldn’t get past the gatekeeper. Finally got an interview. HR person “forgot” the interview and I sat in the lobby WAITING. Saw the VP and he asked what I was doing, I said got stood up by HR person, she forgot that she picked a time to interview me. He was TICKED, they showed me around, got to meet people and then HR shows up. Isn’t prepared, I try to engage and she is not even paying attention. By the time I got home I received an email saying blah blah blah, no thanks. So I forwarded it to the VP, she got fired, but I still couldn’t get on with the company. The article guy left and started his own company in another part of the state. HR-basically sucks in many companies but you have to get through them to get on with a company.

      1. Right on Savannah! That’s exactly the kind of process we’re talking about here. The online application and recruiter game is insanely tough in today’s market. There’s just so much competition and tech has made it so easy for people to blast in applications, it’s not worth it. Like you said, finding the decision makers and building relationships is the way to make it happen.

  25. Reginald says:

    A+! I got tons of winning tricks from this article. Thanks!

    1. I’ll take that grade any day Reginald, thanks so much!

  26. Haider says:

    Excellent read! Thanks for sharing!
    Quick questions here:
    1. You mentioned about finding the right person. I am curious to know your thoughts on reaching out to the recruiters?
    2. How much do things like what day of the week, and what time of day you send out your email, matter.

  27. Anon says:

    Question, so should I not apply to the open job position I found online? Because what worries me is that precious time is spilling by while I wait for one of my contacts to get back to me, schedule an interview with that person, respond, be interviewed, and all of that. Should I still apply to the job in the meantime? And then they can refer me after we get in contact? What’s your advice there?

    1. You can definitely still apply online if you’d like Annie. It’s always good to cover your bases, you never know! That said, I would make sure you’re spending 90% of your time working to build those relationships and add value. It’s easy to get caught up on the online app, but we’re still looking at super slim success rates there so you’re better off spending the majority of your time on stuff that yields results.

  28. Sophie says:

    THE single most helpful advice I’ve ever seen on the Internet. EVER. Thank you!

    1. Whoa, that is high praise Sophie! You rock!

  29. Pradeep says:

    Thank you for offering useful advice. The emphasis is on “useful.” Career experts extol the virtues of networking but rarely present a realistic strategy. There are formidable obstacles to networking: The most fundamental obstacle is the likelihood of a stranger helping you. I am curious to know the percentage of successful job applications aided by complete strangers. Yes, I understand that the relationship needs to be cultivated but when applicants – especially those who are unemployed – don’t have much time, is contacting strangers a productive use of time?

    Thank you very much Austin for these useful and extensive advise.

    1. That was incredibly frustrating for me too Pradeep. Everyone would tell me to go out and network, no one would tell me how to network. I’m glad to hear this post shed some light there!

  30. Louisa Radice says:

    How do I go from admiring a company from the outside to identifying a specific role within it and tailoring my application accordingly? It seems that I would need inside knowledge to target a particular role, but how do I get that inside knowledge without working there? Catch-22.

    1. You’d get it by having conversations with the people who work there Louisa! You’re totally right that we’re limited on info as job seekers. The way to get in the door is via those conversations and you can start having them by following the outreach steps in the post here.

  31. Caroline says:

    Just the perfect summary for people who are looking for a job! 👏👏👏👏
    I also write a blog (based on my own experience to look for a job as a new immigrant in Israel). What you wrote here is a very complete guide! Congrats! Will get some ideas to write a new post, based on the Israeli needs – will mention you, of course!
    Thanks for sharing! Sharing is caring! 🤜🏻🤛🏻

    1. Yes! I’m so glad to hear it was helpful and shareworthy. Thanks for spreading the word Caroline!

  32. Amruta says:

    I loved this post . I already read each post thrice to thoroughly understand it . Now it’s time to start my research. Thank you , Austin

    1. Taking action is the most important step Amruta!

  33. Sagan says:

    I really like this!

  34. Ezra Mikhel says:

    Wow! So much useful information! Thank you very much for doing all the heavy lifting with all these resources.

  35. David says:

    I so wish I had found this site soon. Very informative. I’ll be re-reading while applying everything untill I get that dream job I so yearn for. Best regards Austin!

  36. Peter says:

    This is mind blowing and expository. it brings to bare the entirety of landing the job.

    Thanks a lot

    1. That was my goal when I was writing it, I’m so happy to hear it landed that way Peter!

  37. Hi Austin,
    What an amazing and in-depth guide you brought òut here.
    I am sure this will be a best bet for any job seeker.
    You really covered almost everything a seeker needs to know.
    I am book marking it to read again some points in detail.
    Will surely share with our youths who are in search of jobs.
    A job well done.
    I found this on one of my friends Twitter post and she herself said it’s one of the best on the subject I ever read.
    Thanks for your efforts Austin.
    Keep it up.
    Keep sharing.
    Best Regards
    ~ Philip

    1. I’m glad you stumbled across the post on Twitter Philip! I’m super happy to hear it was helpful and provided some actionable strategies to help you get started.

  38. Charlette D Sauer says:

    Excellent article. Very helpful advice. Thank you for posting this.

    1. You’re so welcome Charlette! I’m super happy to hear it was helpful.

  39. Gintare says:

    Great article and very useful recourses here! Would love to know more about how you or anyone else chose the themes to build your story around and why. And some advice on how to do it? Should it be related to the specific job or to my personality? Or a crossover of both? Thanks!

    1. Sure thing Gintare! The best thing you can do is be open and authentic while working to tie your story into why it matters for the job. There’s a lot of research out there showing that people buy into stories and they buy into your “why.” If you are clear about why you’re here and what you bring to the table, that’s going to be your best bet!

  40. Denise Hastings says:

    Outstanding article, but even more….this a a great tool for every job seeker. Thanks for all the info. It will be an important reference for me as I finish up my Bootcamp and start the job search.

    1. Thanks so much Denise! I really appreciate that. A lot of people I work with are coming out of bootcamps and use this same strategy so you’re in the right place!

  41. j0 says:

    holly article , i read just 10 line of your post and my phone ringed , hr manager invite me for interview and i got a job!

    1. Haha the universe must have been on your side more than the article there – thanks for reading!

  42. Jennifer says:

    This is the most comprehensive and practical article on finding a job that I have read. It goes beyond the usual (and often useless) advice that’s spewed all over the Internet (“attend networking events,” etc.) and provides realistic and tangible methods. As a late-40s job changer in Seattle, most of the jobs out there are in the youth-dominated world of tech. Since I come from the non-tech world, my connections are few and far between. I am 8 months into my job search with only a handful of interviews to show for it. I have been relying on job board postings on LinkedIn and indeed. I know I have to do things differently if I am to expect different results, so I am grateful for this advice. I wish I would have found it sooner. Thanks, Austin!

    1. I’m so happy to hear that Jennifer, that’s exactly what I was going for when I wrote it! When I was job searching, I got super frustrated with all the fluffy advice that had no real actionable steps which is where this came from. Keep me posted on progress as you put it into action!

  43. Jennifer says:

    I actually already put it into practice, and it worked like a charm! The person I reached out to on LinkedIn replied with, “We actually have an opening right now on my team. Check out the job description.” Hoping it turns into an interview. Fingers crossed!

    1. Yes!! This is what I love to hear Jennifer! Huge kudos to you for taking the advice and putting it into practice — that’s the hard part. I’m sending all of the positive vibes your way!!

  44. Kwasi says:

    This article is unmatched!
    It has all the answers to the questions I’ve been puzzling myself with.
    Thank you very Austin

    1. Awesome Kwasi, I’m so happy to hear it! Thanks for giving it a read!

  45. Ankur Somani says:

    Hi Austin,

    Its quite an exhaustive article that covers in detail the step by step process. The templates attached are extremely helpful and well crafted. So far I tried different templates which haven’t worked for me. Will start putting your advise into practice and hopefully something should work out soon.

    Looking forward to connect with you and speak to you.


    Ankkur A Somani

  46. MONDAY MATHEW says:

    Thank you so much I got values!!.

  47. Moperf says:

    I really thank you!
    I am sure that implementing these strategies is very effective, Great job, many thanks again!

  48. Rajat says:

    Great article! I am giving many interviews lately as not satisfied with my current job and i have no connection outside hope this helps!

    1. Thanks Rajat — keep us posted!

  49. Xavier says:

    What an amazing article, I will start asap to implement this.

    I have a question. I am targeting mainly 1 company, with multiple divisions (it is in the healthcare sector)

    When you reach out to multiple people from the same company, do you ever mention to them that you were talking with someone else ? And do you share the same value add proposal that you have prepared if they work in the same division ?

    1. Great question Xavier!

      First off, it’s totally fine to reach out to multiple people — you should to improve your chances! In my experience, word about this stuff doesn’t travel too fast around companies before anyone meets you. When was the last time you chatted with a colleague about a random email you got from a stranger?

      The talking typically starts after you meet with someone and, if you have a good conversation, it should be positive. Conversations will usually go like this:

      “Hey so I met with someone named Xavier who might be a good fit for X role.”

      “Oh I think they emailed me too, you liked them?”

      “I did, it could be worth bringing them in for an interview.”

      Now you’re coming off as proactive and you have buy in from your contact.

      For the VVP, you should definitely aim to tweak it based on who you’re sharing it with but the overarching project should be the same!

  50. Xavier says:

    Amazing thanks so much for your fast answer !

    So I have now prepared a list of 25 names mainly in that 1 company that I target. I am starting a 2nd list for another company. I have highlighted a couple of interesting angle to contact some of them (easy as some of them have written articles on LinkedIn…)

    My challenge, is that they are in some ways competitors to the company I work for. Any good suggestions on how to approach them in the cold email ? I am unsure what would be a smart way to do that. I do not want to sound like I am fishing for competitive info. I understood that we should not mention at the beginning that we are looking for another position…

    Thanks for your advice.

    1. The best way to approach cold outreach is by making the email about the other person. Find something about their experience, their career path, etc. and use that to reach out.

      You never want to make the outreach about the job you’re after and you don’t want to fish for info yet. The sole goal of your email is to get them on the phone.

      An example of the above might be someone who came from another industry or background. You could say:

      “Hi [Name],

      My name is Xavier and I found your info while I browsing LinkedIn for people who made it to [Industry] from a non-traditional background. Your experience really stood out to me!

      I’d love to learn more about your journey and some of the challenges you faced along the way. If you have a few minutes to chat, I would be incredibly grateful.

      I know you are busy and I know your time is valuable, no need to reply in depth. If you don’t have the time, I totally understand. Either way, have a great week!


    2. Kelly says:

      Not trying to pry – just want to remind you of an important tip. Before contacting senior level managers or others that have similar position at the company you wish to join, make sure you’re not violating your current companies’ non-compete policies. And of course if you’ve left your current role and signed a 6 month to 1 year noncompete agreement, please be sure to take the terms of the agreement seriously. I have witnessed and worked on my cases where the noncompete was violated and the professionals are always shocked at being caught and the damages they have to pay are devastating.

  51. Xavier Luc Clement says:

    Thanks so much ! And happy new year to you.

  52. Thanks for sharing the article its really helpful waiting for next article

    1. See you on the next post Ranvijay!

  53. Rajesh Gupta says:

    Thanks for amazing information it’s very useful

    1. You bet Rajesh! Thanks for reading!

  54. Sanjay Singh says:

    Nice Blog you sharing a good information I like

  55. Thanks a lot I rally thankful to you waiting for next Article

    1. See you on the next one Yuvraj!

  56. Sun says:

    OMG, I have found such a great treasure!
    Thanks a lot for sharing these practical tips! To be honest, I know quite a lot already, which I have paid for. Wish I could have found your posts earlier! Please keep posting!

    One question, if one doesn’t have experience in that field or company business, how can one draw a good proposal? You might make a fool out of yourself. That’s my biggest concern.

    1. I’m so glad it was a helpful read Sun! You can find out more about creating that proposal in this article.

  57. SeGe says:

    This is one of the most comprehensive article about job finding without applications. Thank you for the resources!

    1. You’re so welcome SeGe! Thanks for checking it out, I’m super happy to hear it was helpful!

  58. Emma says:

    Hi, Austin,

    Just want to leave a message to let you know that I really appreciate your free tool. I used your tool to check my resume almost every time I submit my resume to companies. I also used the free tool to find people’s email. Although I haven’t land a job yet, I really appreciate all the contents you made!!!

    1. This made my day Emma! Thanks so much for letting me know, I’m so happy to hear that the tools have been helpful!

  59. Jessica says:

    Should you always use someone’s email instead of messaging on LinkedIn? How do you approach the “meeting up” aspect when you don’t live anywhere near the company (and covid) – should the goal be meeting on the phone? Or chatting on email?

  60. Huru says:

    Thank you for sharing; this is a tremendous article. I agree that the preparation stage is regarded as the most difficult challenge of all time. I was having trouble preparing for an interview a year ago, but with the help of an app called Huru, I was able to prepare perfectly for my job interview and develop more confidence. I was hired as a result of Huru’s efforts as well as my own.



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