In the age of online job applications, human connection is still key.

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Looking for a full-time gig? Like internet dating, job hunting is a numbers game — and your odds go up the more you toss your hat in the ring. But don’t think you’re going to land a job just because you are filling out online apps like the rent is due (because maybe it is).

In talking with recruiters, hiring managers and business coaches, it’s clear that contact is key. Hunting down a viable connection within the company that’s hiring is more valuable than submitting résumés to 10 jobs a day as a faceless online applicant.

Think about it. There’s an actual human slogging through the applicants and résumés. Even the most engaging copy and relevant qualifications can get lost in the shuffle. And there’s often an internal candidate at the head of the pack. What’s a job seeker to do?

Reach out and touch someone. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

Make contact

Making a personal connection is one of the most effective means for landing a job. Spend some time on LinkedIn and company websites looking for a way in. Do you have a first or second connection you can tap to make introductions to a hiring manager? Reach out to your tribe and investigate who might have a professional or personal connection to the company.

If the company contact isn’t the hiring manager, ask some questions about the organization and its culture. Does he know who the hiring manager is for the role and where they are in the hiring process? If the company is considering a lot of candidates, you need to be sold in by your contact. Ask if he’d be willing to deliver your résumé to the hiring manager, make introductions or vouch for you during the application process.

Do your homework

As eager as you may be, research the company and the role before approaching the hiring manager. Make that first impression count. Convince her why you’d be a good fit and a great investment. It’s much easier to demonstrate this in person than on paper or online fields.

Hiring a new employee is a risk and if you can demonstrate that you are the right hire through your personality, confidence and competence, you can alleviate any concerns the hiring manager may have. Remember the ultimate goal: A company wants to hire someone who can master the job, not just keywords on online forms.

Jennifer Worick is a veteran freelancer/contractor, publishing consultant and New York Times bestselling author. Email her at jen@jenniferworick.com.