Jobs: Emailing a Cold Contact vs. a General Email?

If a job posting says to email a general email address, like “”, is it wrong to do some research and find a hiring manager’s email and “CC” this person cold? Would it better NOT to email cold, but use this person’s name in the greeting of the email to said general email address - even if the named person may never see your email this way? What is the protocol by email these days? They used to always say be sure to get a name, but somehow by snail mail, that seems less presumptuous. Nowadays, is this taboo? Am I out of line and risking blowing my chances?

I think it completely depends on the manager and the type of job. A sales job, they’d probably love the gumption and follow through. A job for an accountant, where the hiring manager is overworked and is looking for someone who will follow process and stick to the rules - you might be torpedoing your chances.

In between there is the “find out who the hiring manager is, then use Linked In to find someone who knows her. As him to drop her a line - hey, I hear you are hiring for a lead ferret wrangler. My friend Jinx is interested in that job - and I watched him wrangle ferrets when we worked for Acme - he’s very good, hardworking, and knows a lot about ferret wrangling. Can you watch for his resume?”

Just follow the request in the job posting. The hiring manager doesn’t want to be contacted directly, that’s what HR is for. E-mailing me directly just tells me that you don’t follow instructions. You’re not going to get brownie points for googling me. If anything it’s going to creep me out a bit.

Your best shot is to follow the instructions, get the interview, and knock it out of the park.

Research the hiring manager, and send a personalized email. Now, the jobs I used to hire for were ones where I was looking for people who were innovative and creative, so just following rules was not going to get someone brownie points. It would be a plus to note how you found the name of the hiring manager, and how you can help the company.
It is recommended to research the company you are interviewing so that you can ask intelligent questions during the interview - so why not do it ahead of time? And why would you want your resume to be one of tens or hundreds to be looked through by HR? And maybe never even getting to the hiring manager. (I’ve heard horror stories.)
My name was reasonably easy to find, and I was never swamped with emails or even calls. Don’t worry about that. And I was always happy to get the hiring done so as not to be bugged to fill the slot and to be able to get on with my life. Someone placing themselves at the head of the line through initiative was a win for both of us.
No guarantee the person was a match, of course, but someone with initiative would be the first among equals.
Depending on your personality, you might not to work for someone penalizing initiative in any case - so being rejected for it could be a plus.

The answer is “depends”.

As a general rule, if you can find a hiring manager or someone in a senior leadership role and position yourself as someone who can solve their problem, they can make sure you at least get an interview.

The thing you need to be careful about is a) not being a pest and b) not being creepy.

“I saw from your linked in profile you are a manager at a strategy consulting firm. I’m finishing my MBA and I’m interested in learning more about that field. I’d like to give you a call over the next week or so if you aren’t too busy.” is ok.
"Hi, I’m looking for a job. After following you to work, I think I might enjoy working in your building. Can you give me the name of someone at your company who I can give my resume to? I will not take no for an answer. " not ok

Thanks for all your thoughts. Yes, I think it is best in this case to stick to the submission instructions.

A very good idea. Even with googling a name, you’re still not guaranteed that the person listed as hiring manager is still doing anything but rubber stamping a hiring decision made by another person in the company. If you googled jobs in my department, “J” is listed as hiring manager. However, “J” is too busy with other responsibilities and all hiring decisions are now being made by “A.” “J” will rubber stamp the final decision and send it on to HR. Emailing “J” directly will guarantee that it’ll end up in spam or deleted within 5 seconds.

No reason you can’t do both. If you don’t hear back from HR in some reasonable period of time, go to the hiring manager. Worst thing is he can ignore the mail or say no.
In the good old days HR would respond to each resume, but with cutbacks to that department and the flood of resumes thanks to electronic submissions, you are sometimes lucky to hear back after an interview.