Sending a resume or application to an employer can only achieve so much. At some point, job seekers need to be proactive and initiate contact with those employers. One of the most obvious ways to do that is with a simple phone call.
Unfortunately, far too many job seekers are reluctant to call a stranger to ask about possible job openings. For many, that cold call may seem like an unwelcome intrusion. In fact, some job seekers assume that cold calling could reduce their chances of getting a job. Fortunately, the opposite is true.
Why Cold Calling for Jobs Works
It's hard to land a job. The fact is that employers take note of candidates who have initiative and drive. After all, those are highly-prized qualities that most companies look for in potential employees.
By making that cold call, you can show an employer that you’re driven, assertive, and prone to getting things done. At the same time, you can achieve your goal of showcasing your skills – possibly even before your resume is read.
(We wrote a good post here on how to cold email for a job)
Of course, none of that will matter if your cold call is made without a concrete plan. In this post, we’ll explain how to cold call for a job and provide tips to help you receive the best results from that call.
Tips for Your Job Search Cold Call
The following tips can help you organize your cold calling for maximum results:
Cold call after sending your resume
It’s wise to email a copy of your resume and cover letter to the employer before you call. Include a line in the cover letter letting the decision-maker know that you’ll be following up by phone.
Then, when you do call, you can tell the receptionist and decision-maker that you’re following up on a letter. Hopefully, the company will have already reviewed your qualifications. If not, then the cold call could provide a great opportunity to spark their interest. Some people will look for your email while you have them on the phone.
Make sure you’re calling the right person
Don’t just call without a plan. Take time to research the company and get the right name to call. As a rule, you are better off contacting managers than human resources personnel, so try to find the name of the appropriate department head.
If possible, reach out to your network to find someone who can help you obtain a referral. That could provide you with an immediate way to garner interest during your call.
Remember that persistence pays off
Be prepared to make several calls. You will likely be forced to leave voice mails and may only occasionally reach a live person on the first attempt. Leave messages for a callback but let the decision-maker know that you will follow up by phone.
Finally, try to wait five to seven days before following up, and limit yourself to no more than three or four cold call attempts per employer.
Well, if they’re ignoring you after receiving your resume and three or four phone calls, chances are they’re either not hiring or simply aren’t interested in talking to you. Move on.
That’s why it’s important to cold call several employers a day. When you’re searching for a job, that cold calling routine will broader your job search net and maximize your chances of catching someone’s interest. It will also help to ensure that your cold calling skills are developed and maintained throughout your search.
What to say while cold calling for a job
But what should you say when you make that cold call? How exactly should you approach the conversation? We’ve outlined the basic steps to ensure that you can properly prepare for what may be the most importance phone call you’ll ever make:
Introduce yourself with an opening statement that can serve as something of an elevator pitch. Try to keep your introduction’s length to no more than 30 seconds and make it concise and understandable. For example:
Good afternoon. My name’s John Smith, and I’m following up on a recent communication with your office about potential job opportunities in your department. I’m a graphic design and branding specialist with eleven years in the industry and am extremely interested in joining your company’s design team. Do you have a few minutes right now, or is there a better time to reach you?
If your contact has time to talk, then share your qualifications. Don’t just list them either. Talk about your specific areas of expertise and include examples of how you’ve used those skills to add value to your previous employers’ companies. And if your contact is busy right now, try to schedule a day and time to speak.
If you lack certain experience or qualifications, create a few quick rebuttals that can overcome those potential objections. Again, try to keep the focus on what you can do for the firm.
Close strong and include a follow-up request. Ask if there’s a possibility to meet in person to discuss future opportunities. That’s especially useful if there are no current job opportunities.
Always thank the contact for his or her time and be sure to ask whether there’s any additional information you can send to help them in further considerations. You may also want to email a thank you note as well. That’s always a good way to make a great impression – and may even help them keep you in mind for future job openings.
Finally, don’t limit your cold call efforts to employers. You should also try cold calling network contacts and others, to develop leads on potential jobs. The key is to view cold calling as another tool in your job search toolkit and commit to making them part of your daily job search routine.
Cold calling is still around because it's still valuable. If you can catch the right person at the right time, you may be able to talk your way into an interview! Practice your phone etiquette, always remain brief and polite, and keep your expectations realistic.
The ZipJob team is made up of professional writers and career experts located across the USA and Canada with backgrounds in HR, recruiting, career coaching, job placement, and professional writing.