|Don't ask to ask, just ask
But what about those times when you don't know someone in the company who can help get you past HR?Find a good recruiter. Seriously. A few years ago, I moved from .us to .nl. I had zero contacts in .nl, but I had to find a job. On a monday morning, I had contact with a recruiting agency - I explained by background, what I was looking for, and they assigned me to a recruiter most appropriate for my wishes. Before the end of the day, he had set up two job interviews for me on the following Wednesday. On Wednesday itself, he had set up another interview for me on Friday morning. Friday at noon, I had three job offers to pick from, and I started work the next Monday.
Half a year later, I decided to quit my job (three months before the company went belly-up). For a few weeks, I unsuccesfully tried to find a job on my own. So, I contacted the same recruiter - on a Friday afternoon at 4pm. By 7pm, he had set up two interviews for me on Monday morning. On Monday, there were two more interviews set up on Tuesday. On Friday, I had four offers to pick between.