Five tips for cold calling about a job

Making cold calls about a job can be very daunting for many people – you feel like a pest and it’s hard to phone someone out of the blue when they haven’t advertised a job opening – but cold calls can be an effective way of making contacts and tapping into the hidden job market.

All the usual rules of making job calls apply, but cold calls come with their own set of guidelines.

1. Find companies you would like to work for

Research companies and find ones you would particularly like to work for. Choose companies not just for the industry but because they have the right culture for your personality and working style, and would appreciate someone with your skills and abilities. Also choose companies that would offer good career progression and training.

2. Find contacts

Use company websites, Internet searches and networking sites like LinkedIn to find key contacts who you can ask for by name.

If you haven’t been able to find a specific contact, ask to speak to the hiring manager or manager for the department you’re interested in.

3. Prepare and practise

Write out your ‘script’ and practise it multiple times. It’s better if you can say it naturally and confidently rather than having to read it verbatim.

4. On the phone

Before launching into your spiel, ask if it is a convenient time to talk. If it isn’t, arrange to call at another time that is more convenient for them.

If they have a few minutes, explain that you are very interested in career opportunities at their company, give a brief overview of your background (but keep it short since they weren’t expecting your call and may not appreciate too much of their time being taken up unexpectedly) and ask if you could make an appointment to come in and speak with someone in person.

5. Follow up

Follow up with an email containing your resume and cover letter, and thanking them for taking the time to talk with you. With any luck, your call and resume will result in an appointment to speak with someone whom you can ask in-depth questions about career opportunities with the company. This meeting will give you an opportunity to describe your professional background, strengths and achievements, why you would like to work for them, and how you could benefit their company.

Don’t be discouraged if the cold call doesn’t immediately seem to lead anywhere, however. The important thing is that you’ve made contact, and that could come in useful one day. It’s all about establishing relationships and expanding your network.

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