Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Job Seekers Should Try Cold Calling

If you’re looking for a job, you know firsthand it is not an easy process. You likely have used familiar job search tactics such as networking and applying to advertised job postings, but have you tried unsolicited cold calling? If the answer is no, you’re not alone. The thought of cold calling can range from uncomfortable to downright scary. However, cold calling can be a successful way to uncover the “hidden job market”—job openings that companies aren’t advertising. Although any job seeker’s ultimate goal is to land a job, your purpose for cold calling should be to initiate a professional relationship and ask for an interview. After you muster up the courage for cold calling, follow these tips before you start dialing:

  • Identify target companies and contacts: Make a list of target companies and identify contacts within those companies who would most likely hire people in your area of professional expertise.

  • Do your homework: Research your target companies and contacts. Try to find some news you could reference in your call, such as the company acquiring a new client or the contact being recognized for a professional accomplishment in a trade publication. This can be a nice ice breaker.

  • Plan and practice what you’ll say: Plan what you’re going to say and practice it a few times before calling. However, your call shouldn’t be so scripted that it doesn’t sound genuine.

  • Vary the times you call: It may take several attempts to reach your targeted contacts. Vary the days and times you make the calls. Try less hectic times, like early mornings, lunch hours, and evenings, when people may be more apt to answer their phones.

  • Be persistent and patient: Both persistence and patience will be necessary, as you will make numerous calls before successfully obtaining an interview. If you can’t get a formal interview, ask for an informational interview and email address for submitting a resume. And don’t be afraid to follow up in a few months to check on job opening status and to maintain professional contact.

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