Unless you’re one of those people who can sell ice to an Eskimo or who has an overwhelming passion for making people want to buy what you have to offer, the idea of cold calling may just leave you feeling more than a little anxious, if not outright terrified.
Don’t worry, I hear you. Sales is so not for me. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that I despise it. Unfortunately, the reality of the matter is that in every single job interview what you’re actually doing is selling yourself. You’re trying to convince a company that they simply have to hire you. (Unless you couldn’t care less and are desperate for any old job, in which case I wish you luck because the chances of you being hired are slim to none).
And that’s all fine and dandy when you’ve applied to a job advertisement that the company or a recruitment agency has placed, and you match the skills and requirements.
But, what if you’re not seeing the types of job adverts that you WANT to apply to? What if you like the way a certain company does business and what their company is all about, but they haven’t got any current job positions advertised, what then?
That my friends, is when cold calling comes in.
Now don’t panic. It’s not nearly as scary as it sounds. If you’re anything like me and hate picking up the phone to call people, relax. Emails are a much better option here. For one, you can refer back to them. It also doesn’t put a company CEO or HR manager on the spot, which is exactly what a telephone call would do. Remember that people are busy and emails are a lot less intrusive.
Okay, now that you know what cold calling for jobs is all about, and you think that this might be something you’d want to do now or in the future, I’m going to show you what I’ve found to be the best way to score that job using this method.
Why do I think I’m qualified to tell you about this? Because I’ve landed two jobs in my career this way, so without further ado, let’s get started!
Cold calling tips to land your dream (or near perfect) job
- Make a list of your skills, qualifications, and all the career fields that you’re interested in working in – and that you’ve previously worked in. List as many as you can under each column heading (Skills / Qualifications / Fields).
- Look at what you’ve written down and using that info, on a separate tab or piece of paper, make a list of possible job positions that you think you’d be perfectly suited for and which you’d enjoy doing.
- Now that you know what you’re good at and what you want to do, you need to look for companies that you’d want to work for. Google is your friend here. Otherwise, check out prominent job listing sites. These sites charge companies to advertise jobs, and more often than not, give some info on the company and their website address. These are good companies to look at because it means that they want quality employees and aren’t just looking to save some money by placing free job ads.
- Make a spreadsheet with these companies. Include the contact person (very important), website, email address, and any other information you want to add such as the number of years that the company has been in business, their industry, etc. Do some research on the company.
- Browse each company’s website. While browsing, ask yourself, “Why would I want to work for them?” and “Why would they want to hire me?” for each company.
- Narrow down your list to your top 3 companies, followed by your next few favourites. Focus on contacting at least one company each day, and no more than three. The reason for this is that you aren’t going to send out generic emails. They need to be tailored to each company.
- The most important thing out of everything here is going to be your introduction email. Because the job isn’t being advertised, companies won’t feel obliged to open each CV just in case it’s the “right” candidate. YOU have to convince them in your first few sentences that your CV is worth taking the time to look at. This introduction email doubles as your cover letter so make it excellent. Next week I’ll put up a sample of a cover letter that you can use which combines a couple of ideas that are already online (which I found very stuffy).
- And then of course the CV is your next big impression. Your CV is your golden ticket to winning the interview. Here you’re going to want to highlight certain parts of your CV which are applicable to the job that you’re trying to get an interview for. I’ll show you how to do this over the next week or two as well.
- If your hard work has paid off and you’re invited for an interview, you’re going to want to start researching whatever you can about the company beforehand. Also, make sure to go over interview questions and answers so that you’re well prepared. Plan what you’re going to wear, and calm yourself down before the interview (I highly recommend a few minutes of meditation!). We’ll talk more about the interview stage after the next couple of posts on CVs and cover letters.
- If on the other hand you don’t get invited for an interview, don’t give up. It’s normal to feel discouraged and it’s impossible not to feel a little down after all your hard work. But, you know what? Sometimes that’s just life. You can’t win them all, so don’t put yourself down. Pat yourself on the back because honestly, it takes guts to reach out like that. Applying to job advertisements is easy. Anyone can do that. Cold calling companies who haven’t advertised – not so much. Take a day or a few days break from emailing to refocus and then try and then contact a few more companies.
Cold calling is a bit scary at first, but think about this: you’re never going to know unless you try, so why not give it a go? You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
It’s a fact, most good jobs aren’t advertised because they’re already snapped up before they even make it to the advertising stage. You just never know. Anyway, I’d much rather be competing against a handful of other candidates than thousands of others and get a job that I actually want, wouldn’t you?
Image credits: Salvatore Vuono and Stockimages, freedigitalphotos.net