Knowing where to look

Now this being an underground guide for how to get ahead, I’m not gonna go over the traditional job search techniques like personal networking, informational interviews, and online applications. There’s a million websites/books on those and they’re better at dishing great advice. Rather, I’m gonna expand on some underhanded techniques that’ll get you a few bites here and there if you’re really stuck.


The facebook of working people for job searching. No pictures or wall posts or apps, but it’s pretty useful. Add as many friends as you have and the best feature on there is being able to see their connections. I went through all my contacts and began seeing where their friends worked. From there I began looking up their company websites and looking for job postings. You’d be surprised how easy it is to begin a dialogue with someone you don’t know about job searching. People within a company know infinitely more about how to best apply for their company than an outsider does.

Venture Capital Firms
There are millions of start up companies and it seems some pop up out of no where everyday, but where do you find these companies? Venture capital firms. A great suggestion by a colleague of mine over at Abbott Vascular.

VC’s are a phone book for start ups and you just need anything to help you expand your scope. I’ll show you one that I used in my job search:

Here you’ll find hundreds of vc’s and each of them list who they’re funding and who they’ve funded in the past. From the first vc, you look under “portfolioand you’ll find links to dozens of small time companies. From there you get a glimpse of what kind of companies are in your area and what they do. Unfortunately 8-10 of them show little to no information but a scant few do have legit job postings. If you’re planning to cold call or email a million companies anyways, this is a great way to get started.

Cold Emails

In this day and age, the economy is so bad that there are hundreds of applicants for a job. Think you’re unique? Doubt it. The following is a response I got from a cold email to a start up:

Thank you for applying to the Product Engineer job at CellASIC. After a tough screening process you have been selected as one of 5 out of nearly 150 applicants for an interview. Congratulations! Please let me know what times you are available next week (March 9-13). Times between 9am and 6pm are fine.

That’s right 150 other applicants. I had a friend working in HR in the norcal area and he mentioned how he simply discarded applications without a cover letter. It did not matter if they were born for the job. If you cannot do it the right way HR will move onto the next hundred that’s waiting. So how do you get past the first hurdle which is the human resources department?

Emails always look infinitely better if they’re coming from within the company. Any email with the company name after the @ sign is always received better than a @gmail or whatever you may be using. Here’s the trick. Send an email to the VP of the company you’re interested in and have them screen your email. If they’re not interested, you wouldn’t have gotten past the first HR hurdle anyways. If your resume does look attractive, they will be sure to pass it on to HR, because nobody wants to pass up a good candidate. The hard part is finding those email addresess of higher up management in the relevant department you’re working for. If you know absolutely no one in the company it is a minor hurdle.

I’ll work you through a real-life example. I was interested in microfluidics and stumbled upon a company called Microchip Biotechnologies Inc through one of the VC listings method above.

  1. Typically, companies will have their company names as email tags. I looked up their ‘contact us’ site and found the end of their emails:

    Under ‘About Us’ -> ‘Management team’ I find the name of their director of engineering, Roger McIntosh.

  2. The next part is tricky, you need to know how companies phrase their emails. All companies like to keep things standard so it could any iteration of R.McIntosh, RMcIntosh, Roger.McIntosh. Go back and google “”. Soon I find a site that lists “Barney.Saunders@microchipbiotech“. There we go!

I send an email to Roger.McIntosh@microchipbiotch and a few weeks later I get this:

Thanks very much for the inquiry.
I have forwarded this to the relevant people here at MBI.
– Best Regards, R

It’s all about maximizing the bites you get. Any way in door is a good way to start a dialogue!


  1. yo~ interesting and informative read. but all i really wanted to comment on was that you apparently sent your email to roger.mcintosh@microchipbiotch 😀

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