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A lady cold calling for a job over the phone

Cold calling is when you contact an employer without waiting for a job to be advertised.

It’s cold because you don’t have a ‘warm’ introduction. The employer isn’t advertising a job, and you don’t know anyone at the business. You’re using your own initiative to ask about job openings.

You could cold call:

  • over the telephone
  • by email
  • in person

You could also use any combination of these three.

Although email may seem like a quicker or less stressful option, it’s also easier for people to ignore or delete. When you call on the phone, there’s more chance you’ll end up speaking to someone who makes hiring decisions. And when you’re speaking to an actual person, you can find out lots of useful information. You can ask about the best way to get a job with them. You can also ask what they look for in their staff.

Sometimes just showing up in person is the best approach, it’s your opportunity to shine! Show that you are different from the others and prove that you really do want to find employment. Share with them how much you already know about their business!

Here’s some cold calling tips for job seekers to help prepare you before taking the plunge.

Keen to see the Scripts? Click here and we’ll take you there >>

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Cold Calling Tips

Make a list of contacts

Make a list of everyone you know who could help you find a job. Put their contact details on the list too.

People you could put on the list include:

  • relatives
  • friends
  • members and coaches of teams or clubs you belong to

Next, you need to:

  • Get in touch with everyone on your list.
  • Tell them you’re looking for work.
  • Ask them for contact details of people they know who could help you, or employers you could contact.
  • Add the contact details for these people and employers to your list.

You should also think about:

  • employers in your local area
  • companies you’d really like to work for

Look up their contact details online and add them to the list.

Do your research

Before you make a call, do some research about the employer’s business.  You can use online searches to find out as much as possible about the employer.

Find out what’s involved in the kind of job you’re looking for. Write down the reasons why the skills you have make you the right person for this job.

If you can, find out the name of the person you should be talking to. They might be the manager, the business owner or someone from the human resources department.

Ask for them by name when you call. Use their name when you talk to them.

Write your script

Know what you’re going to say before you make the call. Make sure you’re clear about why you are calling.

It’s also a good idea to have a specific thing to ask for. For example, you might ask about doing work experience with the employer. You might also ask if they have any vacant positions at the moment.

Having a script in front of you when you call makes this easier. A script is a written list of the things you’re going to say during the call.

A script helps you remember what to say. It also helps you to speak more clearly and confidently.

The script should include:

  • introducing yourself
  • explaining why you’ve called
  • your experience / your strengths / your qualifications

Make some practice calls

Before you start calling, practise your script with someone you trust. Sit down with a friend or family member and pretend they’re the employer.

Run through your script with the person you trust. Then ask them if they have any suggestions for improving your script. Keep practising until you feel ready to make the call for real.

Work out the best time to call

Try to call at a good time. For example, don’t contact a restaurant around dinner time, or a retail store in the middle of a big sale.

Generally speaking, it’s best to call during the week (Monday to Friday) – not at the start or end of the working day, or during lunchtime.

That means making your calls:

  • between 10 and 11 in the morning
  • between 2 and 3 in the afternoon

Ask the person you’re speaking to if they have time to talk to you. If they can’t talk to you right then, offer to call them back at a better time. And make sure to call back when you said you would.

Get your gear together

It takes more than just a phone to make an effective cold call. You also need:

  • a pen and paper or a computer so you can take notes
  • a copy of your resume so you can refer to it if you need to
  • a copy of your script
  • notes you’ve made about each employer
  • a glass of water.

It can be useful to have the employer’s website or Facebook page open in front of you.

Take notes

Take notes about the calls you make. Write down every detail you can, including:

  • when you called
  • the name of the person you spoke to
  • their job title, for example manager, owner or human resources staff member
  • their contact details (email and direct phone number)
  • what they said to you
  • what you promised them you’d do.

You can use an ‘action grid’ to keep track of your calls. An action grid lists the employers you’ve called, what they told you, and what you said you’d do.

Using an action grid will help you avoid contacting the same person twice with the same request. Your action grid will also tell you if you need to take any actions after the call. An action might be to email your resume, or call again at a certain time. At the end of every call, you can update your action grid with information from your notes and add them to your job search efforts.

Confirm the next step

Before ending the call, run through any next steps you need to take. This is a good way to make sure you understand everything that’s expected of you.

For example, you could finish the call by:

  • saying you’ll send your resume and call back in two weeks
  • double-checking you have written down the person’s email address correctly

Once you’ve confirmed your next steps, make sure you write them down on your action grid.

Be persistent

Sometimes an employer won’t return your call or reply to your email. If you don’t hear anything for a week or two, follow up with another call or email.

Being persistent shows employers you’re enthusiastic and committed. It also sets you apart from most other cold callers, who drop out at the first hurdle.

Keep your promises

Prove you’re professional and trustworthy by doing everything you said you’d do. If you promise to email your resume or contact details, do it as soon as you get off the phone. If you said you’d call back in a day, call back in a day.

Use your action plan to keep track of the things you need to do. Keep a record of the dates you do them.

A man sitting at a desk making a call

Cold Calling Scripts

Here’s some example scripts of what you can say when looking for work.

General cold calling introduction (if you know who you want to speak to)

Good afternoon, I’d like to speak to _______________________________, please. My name is ________________________ and I’m hoping to find out about employment opportunities at ____________________.

Asking to speak to the HR Manager

Good morning. My name is _________. Can you please tell me the name of your HR manager? Would I be able to speak to them? Thank you.

Selling Yourself to the HR Manager

Good morning, (use their name if you know it). My name is _________________. I’m calling to ask about any opportunities for work at your company.  I’ve got a lot of experience working in _________________________ and _________________________. Are there any suitable openings at your company at the moment? Can I send you my resume in case any jobs come up in future?

Following up an email with a phone call

Hello, ___________________________. How are you? My name is ___________________________________. I’m just calling to check that you received my email with my cover letter and résumé attached. Would you like me to provide you with any further information?

Returning a missed call

Good morning, I’d like to speak to ________________________________, please. My name is _______________________________________________ , I’m just returning her call about my enquiry about work at _______________________________________________ .


We hope these Cold Calling Tips and Scripts for job seekers have been helpful for you. If you’re an ETC customer and would like to practice some cold calling – reach out to your Jobs / Youth Advisor on 1800 007 400.

Are you keen for some more tips on what to say when cold calling for a job? Check out this video by Job Postings which has some helpful advice >>

 

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