Features, Advantages, and Benefits
Before we get to calling individuals whom you do not know who might be interested hiring you, let me briefly discuss the idea of features, advantages, and benefits. As a first exercise, I want you to write a features, advantages, and benefits statement about yourself that you are going to use with a prospective employer.
A feature is an aspect of your career that makes you unique. It can be the number of years of experience. It can be grades in school. It can be things like hard work, determination, persistence, and dedication. A feature, in a job-seeking situation, is simply a unique fact about you that will be translated into being a good employee.
An advantage is something that this feature does to set you apart from the average. So, if you graduated cum laude from college and worked your way through college with two jobs (features), you demonstrated hard work and commitment above the average person (advantage). If you have been promoted three times in the last seven years (feature), you have demonstrated upward mobility, performance, and leadership (advantages).
A benefit would be gained by a company from hiring a person who brings unique features and advantages. So, the features of graduating at the top of your class, as well as working two jobs demonstrating your advantage to perform on a higher level than average, would show the company that you will perform in the same way for whomever you work for, and the company will benefit from your work.
So, now, write your:
You're going to integrate these features, advantages, and benefits in your presentation of yourself to a prospective employer.
By most sales standards, calling prospective employers you don't know is a "cold" call. Personally, I would rather name this kind of calls "warm" calls. That's because, for the most part, neither you nor the potential employer are really "cold." Both of you are warm people just trying to do your jobs. The call itself has been called "cold" simply because the person receiving it is not expecting to get it. The purpose of this call is to get you in front of a prospective employer who needs to hire someone. You are trying to get an interview regardless of whether there is a position opening. You are selling an interview, not necessarily selling the idea of getting a job. You are selling a "date" . . . not marriage. Don't confuse getting hired with an initial interview. All you're trying to do is to sell an audience with that person.
Close to 33% of the people whom we find jobs for are interviewed by hiring authority when they don't have an opening. As professional recruiters, our clients rely on us to inform them of top talent when the talent becomes available. Clients will interview them based upon our say-so, regardless of whether they have "open" headcount.
I do not recommend calling the H.R. departments unless you are seeking a job in the H.R. department. Most of the first-line screeners in an organization are taught to send anyone who is inquiring about a job to the H.R. department. H.R. employees are usually midlevel record keepers in 97% of the companies in the United States. The H.R. department is not going to help you find a job in the company. Its responsibility is to screen out most every candidate, unless he or she is perfect... and who is perfect? So, don't get relegated to the H.R. department.
So, pick up the phone and simply ask the name of the manager of the department you would normally work for. If you're in sales, call the sales manager. If you're in marketing, call the VP of marketing. Get the picture? Here is what you say.