Calling on long-ago contacts and others to learn of any possible job opportunities is nobody’s idea of fun. But that is a fact that works in your favour.
People respect you for making the call because they know it isn’t easy to do. It takes initiative and some courage, and everyone appreciates that.
As we said in the last blog, looking for a job is like having your own company. What is your product? Your services as an employee — whether you are looking for full-time employment, contract opportunities, or temporary work.
Most companies have to do some degree of cold calling. Your company is likely no exception. With that in mind, The Bagg Group offers seven tips for when the time comes to pick up the phone and promote yourself.
Remember, this is a call between equals. You have something valuable to offer – your skills. If you feel awkward about calling, the person on the other end will pick up on your embarrassment. And your discomfort will make them uncomfortable. At that point, they will want to end the call as quickly as possible to put you both out of misery.
Be professional, confident and friendly, and the person on the other end will respond in kind. The more at ease you are, the more at ease the recipient of the call will be. The end result will be a more productive, useful exchange of information.
Set the stage: Ask the person if you’re catching them at a good time. Most will respond that they are busy (no one can afford a lengthy chat at work), but will ask the purpose of your call. You may want to say that you have a “quick” question to reassure them that you will be respectful of their time. People get impatient and annoyed if you talk too long.
Research before you call: Look online for any professional information on the person you are calling, on their company, and trends in their market. Making a relevant comment or providing some information of value establishes good rapport. And if you have any common ground-perhaps you worked for one of their clients – be sure to emphasize it.
Seek information, not luck: Calling old and new contacts is an important way to identify opportunities, but also to expand your network and get people to think about you if anything comes up. Don’t ask only if there are openings at the person’s organization. Instead, set a wider net. State the kind of work you’re looking for, and ask if they’ve heard of any opportunities in the field, or if they know of anyone you might contact.
Script your message: Write out how you will open the call and what you want to say, and rehearse it until it sounds natural. Remember, you have to communicate three things clearly: The kind of work you do, the kind of work you are looking for, and what you are asking of the person you are calling.
Have a cheat sheet by your side: Keep your resume in front of you so that you can quickly refer to key experience and achievements. Anticipate all kinds of questions and write out bullet point answers to have at the ready.
Cold calling is always a numbers game. The more people you call, the higher the chance you have of reaching your objective. It’s work. And like any work, set a schedule for yourself and stick to it. Then give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done.