POSTED BY: Don Oehlert
Managing Partner, eCareerCoaching.com
“Practical advice on your next career move.”
You may be curious as to the meaning of today’s title block. Well it’s simple, really. It refers to cold calls.
As some of you know, on Friday morning, I presented “Personal Branding During the Job Search” to a group of job seekers that are currently working with the workNET DuPage folks here in the Chicago area.
One of the questions we received from a member of the audience was about making cold calls into employers looking for the right person to speak with regarding a job posting.
Can’t you just hear the arctic wind howling right now, as you read this? The cold wind deflecting down the back of your neck and halfway down your spine? The snow building up in your face?
As I’ve mentioned before I’ve been on the sales team for over 40 years and I can tell you that, at one time, you could cold call into an organization in the hope of making some sort of a sale. At least you could set up a meeting with the right person.
Yes this tactic had some usefulness in it’s time, but in this day and age, I submit that strictly cold calling isn’t a very effective use of the job seeker’s time. In fact, most sales organizations will tell you that it’s about 1% effective.
That means that it’s ineffective 99% of the time.
Stop holding on to the promise that 1% holds, I opine. Now, should you call into a company that you really want to work for – and you’re a perfect fit for a position there? I would then say “yes, you should try – but that call should never be completely cold.”
Now it’s down to just a cold breeze right?
What does that mean?
Well simply put, there are so many ways to find out who is who inside a targeted organization that you should be able to find someone that will sponsor you into that target company.
Now you can feel the tropical breeze start to blow on your face, can’t you?
Here’s the thing. A warm call is when someone you know, somehow, knows someone you need to know, somewhere you’ve never been.
If that contact of yours knows you’re good at what you do, and the way you do what you do, they’ll be more willing to make an introduction to that new person at your targeted company.
Now assume that you don’t know someone outside the company that can introduce you to someone inside the company. What you do then is you have to dig deeper.
Oh I suppose you can just give it a shot, cold calling into a company that is. You can try just for the fun of it. Hey – you may be that lucky 1%er. Somebody’s got to be able to call into the hiring team’s offices.
If you are lucky, somehow you find the right person. Next you have to ask whether you can come in for an interview for a job posting you’ve identified. I wouldn’t make a career out of looking for a job this way, but it may work – you never know. My point is, don’t waste too much time on cold calling.
Warm those calls up.
One way to network your way into a totally new company is by figuring out where the executives spend their time. Please don’t become a stalker, but you can become a detective, spending some time figuring out:
- What conferences (when those come back after COVID) do they attend
- Where do they hold offsite meetings?
- What professional associations do they belong to?
- Do they attend BBB meetings?
- Heck, where do they eat lunch? (Wait, no, that’s what a stalker does.)
If you are good at what you do, and you have a person offering to sponsor you, that person will be more than happy to introduce you to someone inside the targeted company.
Also keep in mind
- Take a moment, and make sure your work ethic and attitude really is where it needs to be
- “Your attitude determines your altitude.” – Jim Fergle, workNET DuPage
- Make sure you do good work
- Make sure you thank the person that brokers the introduction
You are riding the coattails of the person making the introduction. They are counting on you to make them look good, too. Part of their reputation is riding on your shoulders as you walk into that meeting.
I’m not saying this to put undue pressure onto you – what I’m doing is asking you to keep them in mind as you meet these new (to you) people. Make sure you are professional at all times.
Along those same lines, don’t ask just anyone for a referral – their reputation may be bad, and then your candidacy will suffer as a result.
Upshot? Find a way to warm any call up. Use LinkedIn (a LOT). Use your network contacts. Join job clubs – then go to them – often. Give before you get. Also remember that it takes time to create a reputation inside your job clubs. Some people have very high expectations of their first job club meeting. Not much will probably happen there, the first time.
Just know that people probably won’t open up their contact notebooks the first time they meet you. That’s OK – you probably wouldn’t open yours the first time you meet someone new, either.
The Golden Rule. Apply it everywhere.
To get to know yourself better from a personal standpoint, please drop us an email for your free copy of our “Finding Your True North” instrument. In it are 36 questions that will help you understand what makes you tick, so that you can better prepare for a job search, or decide whether you should go for that promotion.
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