Add Cold Calling Techniques to Land Your Career Move
Making cold calls on companies can give job seekers the chills! As a hiring manager and job search professional for over 30 years, I have yet to meet one job seeker who is comfortable making cold calls for jobs, sending e-mails to a perfect stranger, or corresponding with people they aren’t personally connected to. However, when done well, cold calling works and there’s no downside to it.
By the way, today’s version of cold calling does NOT mean dialing for jobs! Do NOT pick up the phone and interrupt someone’s work day. Today’s job search cold calling is sending extremely well–done e-mails describing your credentials.
Many of my clients tell me how hard it is to click the ‘connect’ button in LinkedIn, and they are not even talking to a real person yet! Imagine reaching out to someone who is in an executive position, and introducing yourself, and then asking if there are career opportunities to discuss. It’s just not easy, but it can produce results. Tony, a client of mine, learned to tackle cold calling like a champ. After working with me, he sent out 25 very well–done cold call solicitations. He got three requests for phone interviews. One landed in a face–to–face interview, resulting in a job offer.
Cold calling is a long–established job search activity. And, like every other job search action, it should become a normal part of your job search to-do list. Recruiters, HR officers and senior executives are always on the lookout for great talent. Honestly, after making numerous cold calls you probably won’t get many responses. But that one person who gets back to you could change your career path forever.
Here are three common scenarios when cold calling may be effective:
- You see a job advertised but don’t know anybody at that company. You don’t want to just apply because you know the odds are high your application will go into a black hole. But you want to win the job by networking! You can cold call someone to be your job advocate.
- You see a job advertised and you do know someone at that company remotely or via LinkedIn. They may not be the hiring manager but at least you have a connection. You only need to find one who will help you out!
- You know someone who works at a target company, based on your career goal, but you don’t know if there are any relevant positions. As a matter of fact, you don’t see any posted on their website, but you happen to know one person who works there.
Making a cold call would work for all the above scenarios and others. Great, but how do you do it? Begin by following these three steps for making cold calls.
- Start by writing great e-mails. If you know anybody at your target company, regardless of their position or level, contact them via e-mail. Use LinkedIn and other sources to find their e-mail address. Make sure you send a professionally written request through e-mail that they can forward to someone else in the company, if necessary. Always attach your credentials (cover letter and résumé).
- Research and use social media. Before you start cold calling, go online and spend time researching the companies you are targeting. Try to find a contact name and e-mail within your desired department or division, rather than sending a cold call cover letter into human resources. Take accountability to research before you cold call.
- Always be prepared before you write the cold call e-mail. What if you get a call back to have a conversation? Are you prepared to answer questions like “What kind of position are you looking for?” or do you have a scripted, concise response to “Tell me about yourself”?
Making cold calls to land your ideal job is not going to be easy, but nothing ever is. As you get more comfortable with cold calling, be sure to incorporate it into your normal job search process. Remember to always be friendly, courteous and clear when making cold connections. The more precise and specific you are about why you are calling, the better the chances of them engaging with you. And with all job search activities, be prepared; write down what you want to say and have your goals in front of you.