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While I agree that “making the connection” is a good idea with many types of employers, especially in the private sector, there is absolutely no advantage in “making the connection” for that purpose with HR Specialists listed in Federal vacancy announcements.
I would be remiss if I didn’t remind readers that HR Specialists in the Federal government often times work hundreds of miles away from their customers, in Regional Offices that support many different agencies or locales. Indeed, in many cases HR Specialists are working on hundreds of vacancy announcements at various stages of the recruitment process and rarely have time to “connect” with applicants except to provide them with information and/or to reply to their questions sent by email. For purposes of Federal employment, the best connections one can make are done so AFTER the applicant is contacted for an interview.