Bypass the Gatekeeper


With everything being online and automated these days, when you apply for a job or position all you get is a “Thank you for your application” email from “” and you have to wait.

Or do you?

Recently I applied to be a Google Trusted Photographer on the side because I had multiple clients asking if I could do the 3D walkthroughs. These photographers are chosen on a need basis per major city across the country. I actually applied two years ago and only received the “Thank you for your application, we will notify you if there is a need for more photographers in your area” email and never heard anything after.

So I applied a week ago and received the same email. I leaned back from my computer and thought “I don’t have time to wait around for them.” So, I did as my reporting teacher always told me at Elon: GOYAKOD.

Get Off Your Ass and Knock On Doors.

In this case it was electronic doors, but I just needed to do some digging.

So I realized I needed to get in touch with someone at Google in order to get my application picked out of a pile. It’s all about that personal connection and having someone on the inside. Even if you have to create it.

I looked around the Google Photographers/Maps site and discovered there’s a blog. I found a pretty cool post where you could walkthrough the Emmy nominated sets like Freddy’s BBQ Joint in Netflix’s House of Cards or the castle where Downton Abbey is filmed. Then I located the author’s name, luckily first and last were included, who works at Google.

Note: If there’s not something like a blog, check LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for potential connections and common ground. It’s not unusual for me to have three tabs open on one person.

Now, I have a specific person to contact and common subject matter to discuss, now to figure out her email. I already know from the “noreply” email, that the back half of the address will be “” so now for the recipient name. Most places, especially larger businesses set up their email “first initial last” Why not give it a shot?

And that’s what I did.

Subject line is everything. If you want someone who doesn’t know you to read your email, you have to make them want to keep reading. A compliment is a good way to go. I went with “Love the Movie Sets!”

My body message went like this:

“Hey _______!

Wanted to say I love the idea to show sets on Google Maps! Very original.

I do have a question about Google Trusted Photographers, do you know who I should contact about that?

Have a good Monday!


I decided on “Hey” and an exclamation point because I had found her on Twitter and realized she was about my age (younger) and therefore I could present my email as more relaxed. Call it creepy/assuming a lot, but these are the inferences and resources we have to pull from.

She proceeded to respond and say “thank you” and that she was happy to help any way she could. The door was now open for someone to hear my case. I pitched my situation that I already had clients lined up for the Google Photography Service and just needed the chance to become certified.

Graciously, she told me to go ahead and apply again and she would have the application team on the lookout for my application.

Forty minutes later, I had an email saying I had been selected to continue with the training process to become a Google Photographer. BOOM.

That was all in one day. I went from possibly having to wait a month and losing a potential client, to securing a new position in a matter of hours.

All because of some quality research and persistence.

And that’s what it’s going to take to get that new job, new position or new client. The Internet opens up a whole new level of accessibility that didn’t exist five years ago. Especially if you start tapping into social media to reach desired clients, but that deserves its own post!

The opportunities are out there. You just need to pick a direction you want to go in and start your research to connect with that company. You are the only thing standing in your way.



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