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cold-calling companies in job hunt

In a recent thread, one poster stated that an applicant would be better off just cold-calling someone of import (department head/etc.) and 'chit-chatting with them about IT stuff for a bit', so that you've spoken with someone on the inside, who could you could then hand a resume.

I've never tried this, but it made me think: is this really a good idea? I've heard a lot of recomendations that say you should call the company and talk to them.

What the hell do you talk about? You have a (at least in theory, if he's a good manager, way I figure) very busy manager that you are calling for idle chit-chat?

Do you guys actually do this? I doubt it works any less well than random resume sending, but  does it work better? Or does it piss off the guy on the other end? I would think it would annoy me, personally. How do these conversations normally go? I've heard a lot of people saying you should talk to them, but no one ever said what they usually *say*... or are these trade secrets? ;)

Mike Swieton
Thursday, June 12, 2003

I would like some feedback on this too.  I have never cold-called anyone for a job, always gotten the job through pretty normal channels.

However there is a job I want now, which I saw on the company's website.  I uploaded my resume but haven't heard anything.  I think whenever you upload resumes through a website, they just go into some black hole of a database.  No one ever looks there until they've exhausted their other options, is my feeling.

So I was thinking about sending them a hard copy of my resume/cover letter and/or cold calling them.  I am just wondering what kind of success or experiences people have had doing this for programming positions.  How do you make the step to getting an interview?

Thursday, June 12, 2003

It makes you look really desperate if you do it wrong.

Informational interviewing, as it is called, is a delicate art.

see or

Thursday, June 12, 2003 or

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Maybe not cold-calling but you should send a resume to people in the department you want to work in. It worked for me when I graduated, but I wasn't entering IT specifically. You should also offer more than just programming or vocational skills. What industry knowledge do you have?

Thursday, June 12, 2003

I have "cold-called" employers.  What I did was called the employer and asked to speak to HR.  I'm put on the phone with an HR person.  I say something to effect of, "Hello, My Name is SoAndSo I am calling to inquire about the position XYZ you have advertised in/on this or that newspaper or website or if you have any internships or positions available at the present."  Be firm/be friendly when asking.  Learn to accept the answer they give and turn it into something positive.  They may say, "You can look at our website."  Now's your chance.  "Would you happen to have your website address." or "Would you mind if I mailed my resume to you."

Anyway, This usually starts the ball rolling.  So you get in with HR person and talk a little.  It doesn't have to be about anything.  Bullshit with them.  You have to know how to make conversation.  I find that HR people like to talk.  I don't know why they just do. (At least some of them.)  They are the person shielding you from getting at your source.  The IT department.  Sympathize with them get on their good side.  Make sure you get their name!  Let me say it again, get their name.  A persons name is most important to them.  Some people have a hard time calling other people by their name.  You must do this.  After you have chatted with them and gotten their name and talked about the position a bit and maybe the weather or what not - ask who you can send a resume to.  They may say send it to me.  That's ok.  That's great! as a matter of fact.  Now in your cover letter you can address that HR person as being someone you have spoken with about the position.  You might be thinking, well that's not someone in the IT department.  You would be correct.  But this HR person has the power to get you an interview with those people in the IT department.  If you are given a contact in the ad for the job, then use them to your advantage.  Don't annoy them, just be friendly and courteous.  Image you were that HR or IT person.  What would you want to hear?

All of these things are a matter of good communication, people skills and to a lesser extent luck.  How do you think recruiters get their leads.  Sometimes companies contact them and sometimes they call the companies, "Hello, This is XYZ from agency ZYX.  We would like to offer our services to you."  Well, you get the picture.

Safety Wire - Know how to twist it - It could save your life.
Thursday, June 12, 2003

>  Let me say it again, get their name <

Learn to both pronounce it and spell it correctly too.

Mark Wieczorek
Thursday, June 12, 2003

Mark, I take it this springs from personal experience? :)

Thursday, June 12, 2003

I actually enjoy having people attempt to pronounce my name, or knowing how to pronounce it, attempt to spell it.

But it's always impressive when they get it right from the get go.
Thursday, June 12, 2003

More effective is to be part of SIG's or discussion groups or something like that, where you come to meet and know people in your field. When jobs come up, they put your name forward.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

I have got quite a lot of contract work through cold calling but nowhere near as much as through referalls. At the end of the day you have got nothing to loose so give it a try.

Tony E
Friday, June 13, 2003

I think the idea is that 9/10 (or maybe 99/100) that you call will think you're crazy or wasting their time, but you might get the remaining 1/10 (or 1/100) at exactly the right time.  If someone is thinking about hiring someone new but hasn't committed or put up a listing, and you call with the right qualifications, you might end up being the first or only applicant for the position. 

Friday, June 13, 2003

Bingo SomeBody!

It's the same thing as picking up girls. The more you ask, the more you get lucky. Luck is just persistence and maintaining a positive attitude in the face of repeated rejection.

Dennis Atkins
Friday, June 13, 2003

Bingo SomeBody!

It's the same thing as spamming the world. The more you spam, the more you get paid. Money is just persistence and maintaining a positive attitude in the face of repeated rejection.
Friday, June 13, 2003

>> "Money is just persistence and maintaining a positive attitude in the face of repeated rejection."

It's also having something of value that someone else needs or wants.  Once you have that then it's a matter of persistence and attitude. 

Pinky and the Brain
Friday, June 13, 2003

It's not the same as spamming.  With spam there is nobody on the other end of the line that is taking an equal "win/win" stake with you.

If you call someone it is give and take... e.g. the personal touch, e.g. following up, e.g. taking the initiative.  Even if 99% of the time you might get "well we're not really hiring right now, maybe in the Springtime check back then ok?"... at least there's the 1% of the time.

Who would you rather hire, someone who is qualified, or someone who is qualified and is keen to work for you?

Friday, June 13, 2003

What about telemarketers?
Friday, June 13, 2003

Since losing my job on Valentine's Day, I've made it a regular practice to write personal letters of introduction to CEO's, VP's of Development, Development Managers, Principals, etc. and invite them to meet.

I don't ask for a job.  I just ask to meet and talk about what it is we both do and see if there is a natural pertnership or not.  Note that I use the word "partnership" - that removes you from the role of supplicant and makes you more of a peer, a fellow businessman.  I also have a 30-second "commercial" tht I leave on voice mails that gets me a pretty good callback rate.

So far, I've been managing to get enough contract work to earn about 75% of my old salary, and it hasn't taken much effort.  My biggest obstacle is the economy - most businesses just aren't spending much money right now.

So yes, you can cold call.  And you can write personal letters.  I've done both, and both have gotten me work.  Not every time, mind you - out of all the executives I've contacted, about 60% have called back, 30% have met with me and 10% have given me projects.

If you haven't read Influence by Cialdini, read it now.  In fact, read up on marketing and how to write sales letters.  Read as much as you can.  And then act.  You'd be surprised what happens when you take so simple a step as introducing yourself to people and asking what they do.

Saturday, June 14, 2003

Nice one Norrick, I like it!

Appeal to the executives greed and laziness :)

How many executives are sitting around thinking "What excuse do I have to expense lunch at the best restaraunt in town today?". Norrick to the rescue!

Saturday, June 14, 2003

> If you haven't read Influence by Cialdini, read it now. 

That book is so good it's scary. I honestly don't want that many people to read it, or at least a certain kind of people.
Sunday, June 15, 2003

"That book is so good it's scary. I honestly don't want that many people to read it, or at least a certain kind of people. "

Well, think of it this way...if everyone reads it, the techniques it describes will no longer be effective.

I just got an eMail from somebody asking me which sales & marketing books I read to put together my letters and voicemail messages.  I responded to the eMail, then thought I should share the wealth.

By far, the best book on writing sales letters (after all, when you write to an exec and ask to meet with him, you need to sell him on why it's in his best interest to do so, other than expensing lunch) is The Ultimate Sales Letter by Dan Kennedy.

Two other books by Dan Kennedy will get you into the mindest of selling yourself:  a) The Ultimate Marketing Plan and b) No B.S. Sales Success.

Then of course, you have the aforementioned Influence by Cialdini.

Then I suggest you read everyting you can get your hands on that is written by Zig Ziglar or Tom Hopkins.

All of these should be available at Amazon.

As technicians, we do not typically take to selling easily.  But if we're going to effectively convince people that our skills, our experiences or our ideas are worth money, we need to learn.  And since we're not "naturals", we need to read twice as much on the subject as someone who naturally understands these concepts would have to read.

Monday, June 16, 2003

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