In our hyper-connected society, there are more ways than ever to find out about jobs, including social media and the web. It seems like when you see a posting for companies you admire, they are rarely something you’re a fit for. Some roles at these companies never even make the posting stage, and instead are filled by offline connections, so you’re never even aware that they have any.

Traditional wisdom is that if you send your resume to the general application file, you’ll never hear anything. Is there really an effective way to reach the HR department at a company you wish to work for?

We asked Sarah Paul, Director of Human Resources at Govan Brown Construction Managers for some tips to reaching your dream company and at least getting the interview.

Sarah told us, “One dirty little secret some companies use to minimize hiring costs is to not see or select candidates who are sent through a recruiter when not solicited, because it costs 25% of that person’s salary. If candidates approach hiring managers and HR reps directly, they could stand a higher chance of being selected.”

How do you contact these companies, or the hiring managers? “You can start by telling your friends and business associates you’re looking for a connection to that company. You will be surprised how often you can find some in that way” says Paul. “If the person who connects you to the company doesn’t know the hiring manager or the HR representative directly, you can always ask them to check the directory. Be bold. It’s your career.”

Often, you can find out the contact information from other job postings for the same company. You can look the company name up, and see if there is a contact name or e-mail. Send off a personalized resume, and try to follow-up with them soon after.

Lastly, one of the best ways to find out what you need is the lowest tech option: The phone. Most companies have a published phone number. If you’re very nice to the receptionist, you can find out the Human Resources person’s name and contact information so you can get your resume in front of them as soon as possible to be considered for future roles.

“If you call me before I’ve posted a role, I might not even post it, if you’re a strong enough candidate. At the very least, you can get in before anyone else for an interview” says Paul.

In job searches, sometimes just the act of being clever and proactive can set you above the crowd. Doing a little extra leg work to get to the right people can pay off in roles that might never make it to the posting stage at the company of your dreams.