To cold call… or not to cold call… that is the question.
I’m sure other people have had this problem at some point during their early (and quite possibly middle and late) working lives. As wikipedia so concisely defines; ‘Cold calling is the marketing process of approaching prospective customers or clients, typically via telephone, who were not expecting such an interaction.’
I had a conundrum today when I was walking around Oxford Circus. I had had an ‘informal chat’ with a potential employer scheduled in the morning and I had planned to ‘visit’ others during the rest of the day as I was in the area. Although far from being an expert, I do understand some of the fundamentals of job searching;
- Get your foot in the door
- Research the company and adjust CVs and cover letters accordingly
- Show enthusiasm, confidence and intelligence
- Nepotism always helps
Blah blah blah the list goes on.
Most people generally ‘pop in’ to employers such as pubs or shops, but for the slightly more specialized industries (eg media), the process can be a little more convoluted.
As we all know the economic situation is not really helping, and is causing people to tumble over one another to try and get noticed among employers. Most (if not all) companies have websites with a ‘contact us’ section which provides us jobhunters with an email address and some even have recruitment pages which more often that not, say ‘there are no current vacancies, please come back later’ (how thoughtful of them). We therefore send our well written cover letters and CVs in a delightful pdf format to as many email addresses as we can find and pray for a response.
FACT - Emails are fantastic. They are being used alot. A person in a company receives LOADS every hour from colleagues and clients. They are busy people (lucky them), they do not always have the time to reply to our humble pleadings for attention.
After a wise person told me this, I changed my tactic slightly. Instead of sending emails, which get deleted and ignored, why not go back to the old-fashioned way of using letters?
Letters are SOLID (they can be thrown away maybe, but can’t be lost in the digital labyrinths of inboxes), they are pretty (think of all those Christmas’s and birthdays when you catch sight of lovely letters with handwritten envelopes?), they don’t give you a headache and the potential employers receive a lot less letters than they do emails so they’re more likely to stand out.
Even with these wonderful techniques of getting noticed, the employers are hard to please. The replies that you DO get are generally; ‘thank you for your interest in (insert company name), we have no vacancies right now for (insert position)s but we will keep your details on file and should an opportunity arise, contact you accordingly.
Well, fair enough I suppose. But what are you meant to do after a period of time goes by and these vague replies are the only ones you get?
There IS a way of maintaining employers’ attention and keeping you within their radar but it’s not as straightforward as simply sending a letter or email.
TALKING to them.
Actually TALKING. A slightly more nerve-wracking concept for people like me who can churn out some good-looking written stuff easily enough with Microsoft Word (with the nice synonym option and spellchecker to help us along!), but have a lot more trouble expressing themselves on the spot. Confident people will not understand this.
Do we ring them a week or so later after our application form has been sent? Or maybe we knock on their door and say, ‘I was just passing by and decided to say hello…’?
I hung around outside my chosen target for 2 minutes, then went into a nearby WHSmiths to have a think.
I mean, something about actually GOING INSIDE uninvited when these people are busy just frightens me a little bit (remember I’m talking about the more specialized industries here, not the pub down the road). They don’t have the time to listen to you gabble about some application. They’d probably be more IRRITATED than impressed by your initiative and forced enthusiasm.
And what are you meant to say to the buzzer on the door??
(insert name of company): “Hello?”
You: “Hi there, erm I was just popping by to ask about job vacancies?”
You: “Hi there, my name is … and I was just wondering if I could talk to someone about my recent job application?”
You: “Hi there, I’m selling these fine leather jackets”
You: OPEN SESAME!
But then again… what have you got to lose? The worst thing that can happen is you mess up your carefully rehearsed script and make a fool of yourself… Hmm that’s pretty bad actually… but they arn’t going to crucify you!
At least they’ll remember you.