Cold Calling Penguins

There’s no question that the Internet has changed the way we search for jobs. Email, social media, job boards – a world of career opportunities are literally just a click away. But all this easy job seeking comes at a cost – whether you’re sending a email, letter of inquiry, or a submitting a resume – you’re just another faceless applicant among millions of job seekers.

When we apply to jobs online, we lose a good portion of our personal marketing message. There’s only so much a great LinkedIn profile or Facebook page communicates about who we really are as a person. It’s not the same as actually talking to someone real-time. On the Internet, great applicants get overlooked and great talent gets lost in translation.

So how do we stand out in such an impersonal system? This article advocates using an old piece of technology to get you in front of a human being – the tried and true telephone.

After you’ve applied to some jobs online, it’s time to call some companies and hiring managers. You’ll be seen as more driven and proactive just by making the effort. However, picking up the phone and calling a stranger can be the hardest thing in the world. Compared to non-confrontational emails, social media messages, etc., selling yourself on the phone is a whole different ballgame. But those who make the extra effort reap the rewards. So how do you actually make the call? Read below for some tips:

  1. Research who to call: This is where your network and the Internet comes in handy. It wouldn’t make much sense to open up the phone book and blindly call the receptionist at all companies you’re looking at. You need the names of hiring managers and decision makers – and your network can help. You can do your detective work on a company’s website or any of the social media networks. Ask for referrals and probe around your industry for opportunities.
  2. Make a script: If you don’t feel comfortable with off-the-cuff conversation, make a cold call script just like salespeople do. This can range from a few scribbled talking points to a full on elevator pitch. If you can’t get through to anyone, leave a short voice-mail and move on. You never know who might call you back.
  3. Know your etiquette: If you do get someone on the phone, introduce yourself and state your reference. It’s also acceptable to say that you’re calling to check up on your application, and you wanted to chat for a few minutes. As a side note, make sure to conduct your job search on your own time…never use the company phone and don’t use your current boss as a reference. The best phone calls introduce yourself through a known relationship – you don’t want a cold call to stay cold – you want it to feel more like a warm introduction.
  4. Release your fear of the unknown: There is something very intimidating about introducing yourself over the phone…what if you choke, what if you run out of things to say, what if you get rejected?…Forget it – the only winning move is to let it all go. At the end of the day, none of these things matter. Your job search is your new sales job and you need to learn how to face rejection if someone doesn’t want your product(you). If you follow up with enough friendly phone calls, your introductions are going to pay off and land you a job.

Putting a consistent plan of cold calling into action is probably the best possible thing you can do for your job search. Be sure to approach it in a planned manner – have a method of attack and a list of contacts to run through. Also, be sure to take notes and keep organized. You will want to follow up with people in a timely fashion and take note of personal details about the people you talk to. Good luck out there!



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