An internal advocate is someone in a target company that knows you, and will advocate on your behalf with a hiring manager.
How do you create internal advocates?
Develop a list of companies you’d really like to work in/for/at.
Meet face-to-face with at least one person in each company – whether or not there are any openings. In fact, ideally, BEFORE there is an opening. This is where you alumni network can be a great asset.
Then, if there is an opening that never gets posted, there’s someone in the company who will suggest you to the hiring manager.
Or if an opening is posted (online job database, company website, professional association job bank, LinkedIn group, etc.) you can contact your internal advocate. “Hey, Susie, I see there’s an opening in the PDQ Department. I’m going to be applying online, but I’d also like to send an email to the hiring manager. Do you know who that might be?” What’s the worst that happens? Susie says she can’t help you. You’re no worse off than before. What’s the best? “Sure,” says Susie, “I can give you her name and email, and I’ll be sure to let Ms. Hiring Manager know that she definitely needs to interview you.”