Using the Telephone to Get Interviews
Many people find the assertive phone techniques I present in this section intimidating. Most people worry about making such phone calls, and they find all sorts of reasons to avoid making them. True, making phone calls to people you don't know is more difficult than sending the same people e-mails. Why? Because e-mails are far less likely to result in a direct and personal situation where you would feel foolish and rejected. But is avoiding more challenging situations worth it if doing so prolongs your job search? I think not. So try to face your fears and let the logical part of you help overcome your resistance to using the phone.
Making these calls does require you to overcome some shyness. But once you get used to it, making direct contacts by phone is quite easy, and it is often necessary to effectively follow up on an initial contact you had to make by e-mail.
Using the telephone in combination with e-mail is one of the most efficient ways of looking for work. You don't spend time traveling, and you can contact a large number of people in a very short time. Once you learn how, you can easily make personal contact with more than 20 employers in one morning. Most phone calls take only a minute or so. And most employers don't mind talking to a person they might be interested in hiring.
To get yourself accustomed to making this kind of phone call, I suggest that you start by making calls to your warm contacts. Then call the people they refer you to. This network of people is often happy to help you. Even people you pick from the Yellow Pages will usually treat you well. The experience of thousands of job seekers is that very few potential employers will be rude to you. And after all, if you do encounter somebody who is rude, you probably wouldn't want to work for that sort of person anyway.
Job seekers get more interviews by using the phone than by any other method. For example, you can use the phone to
Call people you already know to get interviews or referrals without delay.
Follow up by calling leads you initially get from want ads or the Web, when the only initial contact provided is via e-mail.
Stay in touch with prospective employers and with people in your network who might hear of openings.
Make cold calls to employers whose names you get from the Yellow Pages and the Internet.
The simple-to-use phone techniques I describe in this section can make a big impact on how many job leads you get. Many people have used these methods to get two or more job interviews in just a few hours of work each day.
Creating an Effective Phone Script
Another use of your JIST Card is to use it as the basis for a phone script. You will learn more about how to do this in this section. Many job search programs use the phone script approach I present here, and the experience of the many thousands of job seekers who have used this approach has been that it takes from 10 to 15 cold-contact phone calls to get one interview. That may sound like a lot of rejection, but most people can easily make 10 to 15 calls in less than an hour. In two hours of making phone calls, most people in these programs get two or more interviews. How many job search methods are you aware of with that kind of a track record?
The phone script I have presented here assumes that you will contact a person who does not know you and who may or may not have a job opening. An example of this situation would be if you were making cold calls to organizations listed in the Yellow Pages or online.
As you gain experience making phone calls, you will adapt what you say to specific situations. (For example, you would want to adapt your phone script for use in calling people you know.) For learning purposes, I suggest you write and use your phone script in the specific way I outline below. This effective approach has been carefully crafted based on years of experience.
I have divided the phone script into five sections. As I review each section, complete the related section in the Phone Script Worksheet found later in this chapter.
1. Introduction. This one is easy. Just fill in your name on the Phone Script Worksheet. Write your name as if you were introducing yourself.
2. The position. Always begin your statement with "I am interested in a position as... ." It takes you only about 30 seconds to read your phone script, and you don't want to get rejected before you begin. So don't use the word job in your first sentence. If you say you are "looking for a job" or anything similar, you will often be interrupted. Then you will be told there are no openings. For example, if you say "Do you have any jobs?" the person you are talking to will often say "No." And then your presentation will come to a screeching halt in less than 10 seconds.
Tip: Make certain that you have a carefully written JIST Card for yourself to use as the basis for writing your phone script. There are no shortcuts here, so go back and write your JIST Card and use that content for what follows.
Remember that in the new definition of an interview, you are not looking for a job opening; you simply want to talk to people who have the ability to hire a person with your skills even if they don't have a job opening at the present moment.
Fill in your job objective on the Phone Script Worksheet to complete the Position statement. If the job objective from your JIST Card sounds good spoken out loud, add it as is to your worksheet. If it doesn't, change it around a bit until it does. For example, if your JIST Card says you want a "management/supervisory position in retail sales," your phone script might say "I am interested in a management or supervisory position in retail sales."
3. The strengths and skills statement. The skills section of your JIST Card includes length of experience, training, education, special skills related to the job, and accomplishments. Rewriting the content from this part of your JIST Card for use in your phone script may take some time because your script must sound natural when spoken. You may find it helpful to write and edit this section on a separate piece of paper before writing the final version on your script worksheet. After completing this, you should read the final version out loud to hear how it sounds. You should read it to others and continue to make improvements until it sounds right.
4. The good worker traits and skills statement. Simply take your top adaptive skills, which you pinpointed in chapter 2 and are listed at the end of your JIST Card, and make them into a sentence. For example, "I am reliable and hardworking, and I learn quickly." These are some of the most important skills to mention to an employer, and putting them last gives them the greatest emphasis and may influence the employer to give you an interview.
5. The goal statement. The goal of the phone script is to get an interview. So I suggest that you be direct and use "When can I come in for an interview?" as your goal statement. The reason is that this assertive approach tends to work. If you say, for example, "May I come in for an interview?" (or "Could you please, please, let me come in to talk with you?"), the employer has an opening to say "No." And you don't want to make it easy for the employer to say no. Employers can reject you without your help.
Use the Phone Script Worksheet to write out your final draft, but write rough drafts out on separate sheets of paper until you are satisfied with your script. In writing your phone script, consider the tips that follow:
Write exactly what you will say on the phone. A written script helps you present yourself effectively and keeps you from stumbling while looking for the right words.
Keep your telephone script short. Present just the information an employer would want to know about you and ask for an interview. A good phone script can be read out loud in about 30 seconds or less. This is about the same time it takes to read a JIST Card. Short is better!
Write your script the way you talk. Your JIST Card is a good basis for a phone script, but it uses short sentences and phrases, and you probably don't talk that way. So add some words to your script to make it sound natural when you say it out loud.
Use the words I use. As you write your phone script, avoid being too creative. Over the years I refined the words provided in the Phone Script Worksheet. In order to avoid specific problems, I suggest you use them as they are presented.
For example, do not write or say, "Good morning, my name is___" because that will build a bad habit, which you will realize all too late on one overcast afternoon. I have learned the best words to use through years of making mistakes, and there is no need for you to make the same ones. Start my way, and you can change it to your way after you have mastered mine.
Practice saying your script out loud. I know that your neighbors may think you are nuts, but reading your script out loud and perhaps in front of the mirror etches it into your mind in a way that reading it to yourself cannot do. It has something to do with neural pathways and cognitive retrieval stuff. It also may be something more spiritual, having to do with the way we define ourselves. However, the fact remains that reading an honestly prepared phone script out loud helps you accept that all the good stuff your phone script says about you is true. Having this information etched into your subconscious also helps you in an interview.
Phone Script Worksheet