Job seekers have a lot of networking resources at their disposal. Theoretically, it should be possible to either a) find connections that will introduce you to people to help with your job search or b) introduce yourself to those contacts via social media. Despite this access, sometimes a cold call is the only way to speak to important job search resources. Most people hate the thought of calling someone they donâ€™t know, but there are ways to prepare so you will be successful.
Here are seven tips to warm up your cold calls inspired via 100 Conversations for Career Success, the book I co-authored with Laura Labovich. (Learn more about how 100 Conversations for Career Success can help your job search.)
1. Always get the name of the person. Itâ€™s tough to try to get in touch with someone whose name you donâ€™t know. Trying to reach a company to speak to the â€œhiring managerâ€ for XYZ job probably wonâ€™t get you very far. Similarly, asking to speak to â€œthe person in charge of salesâ€ wonâ€™t inspire anyone to put you directly through.
2. Think about the best time to phone. Donâ€™t we all have friends (or maybe colleagues) who always call to ask for something at 4:45 on a Friday afternoon or first thing on Monday morning? No one really wants to hear from you at those times, especially someone who does not know you. Think about the best times to try to contact people you want to reach.
3. Know what you offer. Why should this person want to talk to you? Can you help him solve a problem? Itâ€™s a good idea to uncover company pain points in advance and to make a list of what you know that might be useful to your contact.
4. Ditch the pleasantries. Do you really care about the weather? Neither does your cold call target. Be cheerful, but get to the point and make sure you donâ€™t lose your contactâ€™s attention before you have a chance to get started.
5. Become allies with the phone gatekeepers. Most executive assistants consider it part of their jobs to prevent unwanted calls from reaching their bosses. Some will go to great lengths to screen calls.
6. Prepare a toolkit. Isnâ€™t it always easier to do things when you have a cheat sheet? Since youâ€™ll be trying to connect on the phone, you have the opportunity to write notes and have them handy.
7. Follow up. Itâ€™s your job to follow up with your contact. In fact, itâ€™s always best to keep the follow up in your â€œcourt.â€
When you prepare for cold calls and take control of the situation, youâ€™ll feel better about your job search and have more opportunities to succeed with your networking.
Read the entire post on my U.S. News & World Report column.