Even today it's possible to find jobs by 'cold calling' employers. In fact, it's a worthwhile exercise given that as much as 80% of current vacancies aren' t advertised.
And if 80% of jobs aren't advertised, you won't know about them unless you ask!
But if asking opens up 80% more opportunities, why wouldn't you?
To help you, here are our Top Ten Tips on cold calling employers.
Do your research
Before you pick up the phone to an employer, do some research. Find out about the Company, who you need to talk to and what position they hold in the Company. You might find this on a website, or through the Company switchboard or secretary.
2. Plan your call
Write down what you are going to say and what you want to get out of the conversation. If you're looking for a particular job, write this down too, in case you're asked.
3. Be professional and friendly to whoever answers
It's important, particularly in a small firm, to develop a good relationship with the Secretary or Personal Assistant. He or she may decide whether you get to speak to the boss or not. Ask the person's name and use it in the conversation -- it strikes up a rapport.
4. Try a little familiarity
If someone else in the Company gave you the name of the person to speak to, you could do well quoting them. You might say "Good Morning. My name is Sandra Jones. James Smith in Finance recommended I give Sally Brown a call. Is she there?" It might get you past the first hurdle!
5. Don't lose the contact
Once you're talking to the decision-maker, explain who you are and why you're calling. Then give them an alternative -- ask whether it's a convenient time to talk or offer to call back later. Whichever option they choose, they enter into a psychological contract to talk to you which is difficult to break.
You might say:
"Good morning Mr Jones (wait for an acknowledgement, if there's one). My name is Jennifer Penny. James Smith in Finance recommended I speak to you about possible Accountant positions within your Company. Can I ask if it's convenient to talk, or would you prefer I called back later?"
6. Deliver your sales pitch
If you're given the go-ahead to talk, speak slowly and confidently but add some energy and enthusiasm to your voice. If you win their attention within a minute, you're on your way (since research shows it's more difficult to cut someone off after the first minute).
7. Build rapport
Once you're into conversation, try to speak at the same speed as the other person. If one person talks very fast while the other speaks slowly, it can feel strange and you're off to a bad start.
Provide any information about yourself and your objectives in small chunks and give the other person a chance to respond. Don't hog the conversation.
8. Keep them talking
The longer you keep someone on the phone, the stronger the psychological bond between you.
Even if the conversation doesn't result in an offer of an interview, you can still learn a great deal which can help you find jobs next time. And if the person you're talking to can't help, ask them to suggest someone who can.
9. Stay positive in your quest to find jobs
As you look to find jobs, keep a note of your calls and the responses. Be prepared for most people to say 'no' early on, either because they're too busy or don't have the budget for new recruits. It's nothing personal.
And if somebody is rude to you, politely bring the conversation to an end and move on. You have other opportunities to explore.
10. Be persistent
You may have to make a lot of calls to secure a few job interviews and find jobs but carry on. You'll get more confident and shrewd with each attempt.
For more help and advice on how to find jobs, why not check out our