With the Internet and email, cold calling can seem like a thing of the past. However, sometimes you might need to call a company to see if they are hiring, if a position is still available, or if there are any opportunities to interview for the job.
A cold call could be the first interaction you have with a prospective employer, and there are a few things to keep in mind so that you are confident and well-spoken.
Before you begin calling employers, research the field or industry you are interested in. Read job advertisements that catch your eye, and then use an Internet search engine to look up companies that are similar to the one in the advertisement. You can also look up companies in your field in the phone book or through association websites and publications. This will help guide you through your cold calls rather than starting to call employers at random.
Research the company before you give them a call. Learn about the company’s structure, such as if they have a human resources department or a hiring manager that could be a good contact. If you are unsure that the company does the type of work that you are interested in pursuing, you can call the receptionist or front desk at many companies and ask if they have a specific department or team for that purpose. For example, if you are interested in marketing, you can call the receptionist at the company to see if they have a communications or marketing department. This is a great way to ask for a contact name that you can then use to make your cold call.
Try to find information about work schedules and a typical workday at the company. This will help you determine the best time to call. Different types of companies have different peak times during the day, and you want to call when you have a good chance of reaching someone that will have a moment to talk to you.
When you are ready to start calling, make a quick list of the things you want to remember to say, although it is best not to write out everything like a script. If you are reading straight off a piece of paper, your call is not going to sound natural and at ease.
Begin your call with a simple introduction of yourself but include specifics about why you are calling. For example, you can say “Hello. My name is Sally Brown. I was wondering if there was someone that I could speak to about any marketing positions currently available at XYZ company.” Try to stay away from small-talk questions such as “How are you today?” or “How is your day going?” You want to make the most of your time on the call and get right to the point.
Try doing a mock call with a friend or family member. Practice makes perfect, and although you may feel awkward at first, this will help build your confidence. Ask for their feedback after you call them and for any suggestions they may have to help your calls go smoother.
Keep tract of those companies that you call. You do not want to become disorganized and accidentally call a prospective employer a second time.
Successfully cold calling prospective employers is definitely a skill that can help you during your job hunt. With research, preparation, and practice, you will be one step closer to your next job.
This is a regular column written by the N.M. Department of Workforce Solutions. For more information, go to dws.state.nm.us.