Calling Employers DirectlyMaking Cold Contactsto Find Job Openings
Now that you have developed your phone script, you need to know how to use it effectively. The first step is to identify companies to call. Try looking in the Yellow Pages under a category of businesses or organizations that need people with your skills. Just call them up and ask for the person in charge. Many people have used this type of cold contact to obtain interviews that would have been difficult to get any other way. Another approach is to use the want ads or Internet job listings to identify employers who might hire someone like you. For example, you may find that Metro Hospital is hiring maintenance workers. But you want to be an office worker. Could you call them? Yes, you could. You could contact the person hiring maintenance workers via e-mail or phone and ask for the person you should speak with about office jobs.
The most important thing to remember is that when you are cold calling an organization, your goal is to get directly to the person who is most likely to supervise you so that you have an opportunity to use your script. Most organizations have someone who answers the phone or an automated system to handle incoming calls. In both cases, the function of these systems is to screen incoming calls and get them to the correct person. But both of these systems can also screen you out, particularly if you don't have the name of the person you need to talk to. So here are some tips to increase your chances of getting to the person most likely to hire you. They have been refined over many years, and they work!
Talk to a real person if you can. You can get through most automated answering systems if you have the name of a specific person. If you don't, most such systems have an option that allows you to push the zero button or do something else to talk to the receptionist. Once you get through to the operator or receptionist, understand that this person is busy and will try to quickly screen your call. A receptionist's task is to either refer you to someone who can help you or to block your call from bothering anyone at all. Be nice to this person and ask for what you want.
Ask the receptionist to give you the name you need. If you don't have the name of the person you need to speak to, ask for it. For example, ask for the name of the person in charge of the accounting department if that is where you want to work. Usually, a receptionist will give you the supervisor's name, and your call will be transferred to him or her immediately.
Ask for the person by title. Depending on the type and size of the organization you're calling, you should have a pretty good idea of the title of the person who would be likely to supervise you. In a small business, you might ask to speak to the manager. In a larger organization, you would ask for the name of the person who is in charge of a particular department.
Avoid mentioning that you're looking for a job. If you tell the receptionist you are looking for a job, he or she may transfer you to the human resources department (if the company has one) or ask you to send a resume or come by and complete an application. Unless you want to work in the human resources department, you probably don't want to talk with someone there. If the receptionist will not give you a manager's name or transfer you to the person you want, say thanks and end your call.
Try e-mail. The Web sites of most organizations often list employee names and responsibilities. You can also send an e-mail to any Web address you can find for the company and ask for the name of the person in charge of the area you want. I've sent questions to Web managers or the general information address for the organization and had all sorts of questions answered. Write well and be pleasant and professional because e-mail is often forwarded to the person you are trying to reach. If one e-mail does not get you the response you want, try another e-mail to someone else at the organization.
Say that you are mailing something to the manager. If the receptionist won't connect you with a hiring manager, end the call and call back another day. Tell the receptionist that you are getting ready to send some correspondence to the manager of the department that interests you. This is true, because you will be sending the manager something soon. Say you want to use the person's correct name and title. This approach usually results in getting the information you need. Say thank you and call back in a day or so. Then ask for the supervisor or manager by name. You will usually get through to the person this way.
Call during lunch or after hours. If the receptionist is still screening you out, try calling when that receptionist is out to lunch. Other good times are just before and just after normal working hours. Less-experienced staff members are likely to answer the phones at that time and put you through. Plus, the boss might be in early or working late when the more experienced receptionist is not there to screen you out.
What Recruiters Do That You Can Do for Yourself
People who earn their living by finding talented workers for employers do a lot of cold calling and e-mailing. They call lots of employers to find out their needs and then look for people who can fill those needs. They do this by defining a need and creating a sense of urgency to fill it. In a similar way, your task is to create this need for the employer and fill it with you and your skills.
Recruiters know that most employers will almost always consider hiring good people. They know that there may not be a job opening now, but there may be one in the future for a good person. So they find out what is ideally needed, and then try to find someone that matches that need. If they succeed, they earn a fee.
You can do the same thing by learning as much as you can about an organization and then going after the needs of that organization. If they are growing rapidly and you think you can help them, tell them how you would do this. Get to the people in that targeted organization and present the skills you have that will help them solve specific problems.