Monday, July 14, 2008

Cold Calling

"Cold Call: noun. A telephone call soliciting business made directly to a potential customer without prior contact or without a lead."

Source: Merriam-Webster Online

Cold calling to potential employers can be a nerve-racking activity for many job hunters. The job hunt is often like personal selling, except for that you're not promoting a product in the job hunt. Instead, you're promoting yourself. This is particularly true when you're doing selling activities in your job hunt, such as cold calling. Cold calling is a vital activity during the job search, because you will often have to call people who do not know who you are, and a phone call gets more immediate attention than an e-mail. This is great news for salespeople who are skilled at the act of selling, but what about everyone else?

For these people, it helps to have a couple easy hints to remember in order to make your job hunt more effective.

First, always remember to smile when you're on the phone. It will show through in your voice

Be professional, respectful, and courteous, since this will make everyone's life easier. Above all, make sure to be interesting and engage the person on the other end of the call.

It is a common sales tactic to find and talk about a connection that you might have with the interviewer. This is a good idea, but don't get sidetracked.

(Also, this may be obvious, but never hang up on someone who says they may have a position for you.)

Get to the point quickly, don't waste their time or yours. Never just read your resume, they don't have that kind of time.

Know what you're going to say before you dial the phone. If you need to have a script ready, go ahead and write one. However, don't just read it with a monotone voice. Practice if necessary. (I'll talk more about practicing in a later post._

Just like you would in an interview, try to research the company and individual so that you know at least some information about the company and the person you are calling. This may give you a better approach than simply "Hi, I'm looking for a position in..."

Remember, if you reach an administrative assistant, your goal is to get connected to the hiring manager. If you reach the head honcho, you've invariably caught him at an extremely busy time. So don't waste time! Always be respectful and kind to the assistants, however.

Be ready at all times for an on-the-spot phone interview. I'll talk more about how to handle phone interviews soon.

Finally, here's a good site that has some general recommendations for cold calling in sales that may be helpful as you work on your job search.

Good luck on the hunt!

No comments: