Conflicting opinions and feelings abound on the subject of cold calling- especially in the human resource department. As a job seeker you generally hear that cold calling hiring managers on jobs is a no-no. On most job descriptions you will see “please no calls about this job.” However, there may be times where cold calling helps you snag the job. Here are some tips for deciding whether cold calling can work for you, and on how to make a good cold call.
Right now, cold calling is especially tricky because the human resource department is usually flooded with dozens or even hundreds of applications for every opening. I’ve personally seen several job postings in my job search with “no phone calls please” at the bottom. In addition, many hiring managers- and other people- do not appreciate or like cold calls. Check out this comment thread on Ask a Manager, to see how a variety of people feel about cold calling and unsolicited resumes.
We can learn two things from this. First, be prepared for an abrupt dismissal and rejection if you decide to make cold calling part of your job search. Second, it is important to consider who you are talking to and what you are saying. Cold calling works best if you know the company well, and have specific ways in which you know you can contribute to the company. Understand that your cold call is taking time out of someone’s busy day and what you have to say had better be worth it.
With that in mind, an email to a company that has no current job postings that suit your needs would be a great way to make a connection in your job search instead of a cold call. Phone calls can also work, but they are much more obtrusive to the aforementioned human resource department and busy people. A company without job postings is also nicer, because you’re less likely to get funneled back to the human resource department and get a “fill out an application like everyone else” response.
This brings up a point from The Job Search Guy: avoid the human resource department when making your cold call. Your cold call should be to someone who would potentially be your coworker or boss; someone who doesn’t already deal with job seekers all day long. (You can see how the hiring managers at Ask a Manager feel about cold calls.) Your call should be to someone who will understand why your sales pitch would really help the company. Even better, your call should be to someone whose life might be improved by your potential hire. “You want to fix our website, which my clients complain about all the time? Yes, please!”
With this in mind, The Job Search Guy further suggests peaking your contact’s interest rather than straight out asking for a job. Research the company, and send a short email with a nice combination of praise and constructive suggestions. Add in a good sprinkling of your own background and how your skills would be a great fit for the company. End by asking to discuss your comments at a later date- by phone or in person. Don’t ask for a job and don’t send a resume. You’re schmoozing and don’t forget it! And, if at first you don’t succeed, learn from your mistakes and try, try again. Good luck!
Thoughts about cold calling? Leave a comment below, or send me a tweet: @ithinkther4iamb
IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by ellyjonez