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The Cold Calling Process


Tips on identifying and contacting  potential employers through the cold calling process.


What is cold calling in the job search context?

Cold calling, often called cold canvassing, means contacting  prospective employers, over the phone or through the mail, who have not advertised a position. Your goal will be to obtain an interview for any future vacancies. These will be the prospective employers you identified in your research who employ people with your skills and qualifications.


An even more effective method of looking for work is through Networking.  However, job seekers shy away from it. Nevertheless, it has been proven that job seekers want to know about more about cold calling and this section will give you some excellent tips to cold call effectively. 


If you feel you can learn the cold calling process, we fully recommend you also read  How to network.  It really is easy if you follow our proven method. In fact it is easier than cold calling and more effective. There are many common techniques used in both networking and cold calling. Having said that, in smaller companies, word of mouth (networking) comes second to cold calling and slightly more than advertising through newspapers. This section is primarily about contacting potential employer's through the mail. Go to Sample Job applications for cold calling letters. (There are 5 letters for different situations).  However, How to network gives you the skills to cold call by phone.


Use these tips to make your cold calling more effective


Who do you cold call?

 ·         Companies you have identified who have positions in your area of expertise.

 ·          Employment or recruitment agencies to seek information on their services; to

       find out if you can register with them for future job vacancies in your area of



Before you cold call it is absolutely imperative to do research.

It is better to make 5 targeted and personalised contacts that indicate you have done your research and it is likely that the company may be recruiting, than sending out hundreds of cold calling letters by email that will have absolutely no effect. This is spam mail and illegal as we see below. At this stage, this section covers cold calling by mail  (actually email), because this has been the only method people have used to cold call this company in several years. Cold calling by phone is similar to cold calling via networking, which is covered at great length. You should visit this section. HereYou will find resources advertised on this site that concentrate on how to cold call by phone.


When cold calling is bound to fail?

In this company we receive letters that fail all our letter writing processes, so

clearly no research has been done on the company. Here are some of the processes I refer to:-

  • They do not use the proprietor's name although it is readily seen on the home page and each subsequent page of our website. (see about us )

  • They often come from different countries!! So they haven't done their research as my country of origin, which is on my website - and they can find out very easily. (see here)

  • They tell me that they know I am always looking for talented people. That is news to me!!.

  • The purpose isn't clear. They don't actually ask if I will be recruiting in future or if we can use their skills. .As my theme all through this site is, they are self centered, concentrating on their own needs and not the needs of the prospective employer. This all comes back to research, research and research.

Question.  When it is a cold calling email considered spam mail?.


Answer.  A letter that is it is not following any of the above requirements.


Finally, people who cold call this company supply a resume that does not conform to our resume writing standards, that are clearly set out on this site.

We state clearly on our site how we write resumes. If they had read our site they would not have used fancy formats. This alone would lose them a job even if we had one. If they had read the site they would never have sent a resume that is so out of line with our standards.


Also our company will not open attachments from cold callers looking for work. We recommend electronically friendly resumes in Online Submissions, and yet we receive fancy resumes that break every rule of an electronic friendly resume.


Lastly they email their application.  This is in fact spamming unless they personalise it to this company to an individual  So this is another reason to do your research.


Before you tackle your research, or job search in general, it is much easier if you do an Action Plan.  See Action Plan  It saves time and can make your job easier.


How to identify a company to cold call


When you did your research you may have identified a large company that you can cold call.  However, if you are from Western Australia, for example, you need to be aware that the majority of the top 500 companies are based on the eastern seaboard and that the Perth office may only be a sales office with a small staff.  So further research is very important before you proceed.  On the other hand, large oil and gas and mining companies are based in Western Australia. 


Use the Google search box to look for mining companies + western Australia, or Mining + recruitment+western Australia to bring up companies that are hiring. Define your search
Custom Search

You will need to prepare a employment profile of your state or regional area.

Researching newspapers - From a different perspective

Read all sections - Finance, Professional Appointments and Situations Vacant

As discussed in Employment Opportunities look at all the vacancies, not just jobs in your skill area.  Look at advertisements for management and executive staff.

To entice these applicants the company will give a description of the company. These advertisements will give a good overview of the company values and level of skill they require plus remuneration. You may want to see if they have jobs in your area. Do this through research - not by cold calling, or at least not yet.


For example, if you see a mining company is recruiting a Project Officer you can investigate what is happening in that company.  Is there a new contract coming up? If so, when will they be recruiting, and how?.  Have they subcontracted out?  If they have, who are they and how can you contact them?  Look at the growth companies. Wait until they have completed recruitment for their current job.


Also have a look at the "Tenders Section". Find out what tenders have been let by govt and private companies for sub contractors. You can ring them at a reasonable time and see who won the tenders. They may be looking for staff. See Writing Tenders


Also note vacancies placed by employment agencies/search firms and see what their specialist areas are

 Other sources for cold calling research include: -

·          The Internet - Most companies are online. Look for companies who have employed people with your skills in the past.

·          Company Profiles/Business Reports – usually available through the company's office

·          If it a listed company you can find information at the Stock Exchange

·          Employer Associations.

·          Unions

Government websites.  Refer to Career and Employment Opportunities for the full list.

Ensure the company is one you want to work for

Remember that all companies, and some more than others, have an organisational culture that is results driven. You need to be able to fill a company's needs.


This is why research before cold calling is so important. If you are quiet and just like to get on with your job and have other qualities like experience, consistency and reliability, you need to ensure you do not apply to companies who are results driven to an extent that all employees are required to be “go getters”. 

Don’t try and be what you are not.  It will become apparent if you get an interview or during the three-month trial period, which will result in extreme disappointment and loss of self-esteem if they do not keep you on after the trial.

It all comes down to you knowing your weaknesses and strengths

Some skills can be learned and if it is important to you and you think you can benefit by further training or personal development, then you should consider investing in your future.

Take the Free Career Assessment Test  Future Proof Your Career.  It is a "Personal Career Analysis" to assist you find fulfilling work. This test creates a personalised career strategy for you that works with the latest employment trends of the knowledge age". 
Cold Calling Letter - called prospecting letter.

A Cold calling letter must have these components:-

     ·          A purpose

·          Contribution you can make

·          Your qualifications and experience

·          Ask for an interview

Note: Your resume must back up your prospecting letter. The employer must be able to see in your resume, the knowledge, skills and experience that are relevant to the job.  If you are changing your career your resume should still be relevant, however, the application letter should spell out how your skills are transferable to the position you are seeking.  The companies you are cold calling must be researched and well targeted, otherwise it becomes a meaningless operation.

The purpose of a cold calling letter

·        Is to get the employer to meet you in the event that positions may become available in the future.

    ·         Don't ask the if the company if they have any current vacancies.

Letter writing tips

Use a strong opening statement  - See Application letter for full details on opening statements.

You will  impress the employer if you say for example "I saw in the newspaper an interview with your CEO who stated you will be expanding into....area"  You might also say you "saw in the situations vacant that you are looking for executives for you new....project and therefore I presume you will also be recruiting. xxx in the near future". 

Always use an active voice rather than a passive voice.  i.e.  “I can”” I have” “I am capable of” Avoid “I am reasonably” ” I should/will be able to”.

Employers are afraid of committing themselves, and may get you in for “a chat”.  If they like you they will either refer you on or retain your details for future jobs. Treat this as a job interview.  Because it appears to be a casual chat, do not be tempted to divulge negative information or facets of your life that you wouldn’t want an employer to know, i.e. talk in detrimental terms about your former employers and colleagues, your previous company’s policies or financial position or your plans to travel or retire.  

Who do you address the prospecting letter to?

Your cold calling letter should be addressed to the Section Head if appropriate.  This will depend on the company as many sections of a company operate independently or the Recruitment Officer or Human Resource Manager.  This will require a phone call to find out the name of the appropriate person and their title.

Note:  In many cases the Recruitment Officer is the last option.  Many are only interested in positions that they advertise and do not look at future needs, or may not be well informed about potential human resource needs. Whereby, for example, a Section Manager or Project Manager may be in a better position to evaluate your potential and they know what human resources they will need in the future. 

This is relevant for any work that has been tendered for Mining and Engineering companies.

Letters via leads

In the case of an introduction from a friend or any other source this then becomes the outcome from doing some networking - planned or otherwise.  Again see our full workshop on networking. This is a slightly different process. You would not normally ask for a your friend for a job, but as stated, this is the outcome, and it is now a cold call but with a difference. 

You also need to mention who referred you. If someone did refer you, you will know specifically what areas they may be looking for someone or more about the company.

Utilise all section on applying for a job on this site

 Sample Cold Calling Letters   and   Letter Writing Guide





Postscript if you want to find out who owns the company if they are a small business go into" Who's is"  on the internet.


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On this page

What is cold calling?

Who do you cold call

You must do research

When cold calling is bound to fail

How to identify a company to cold call

Is the company right for you?

Cold calling  / prospecting letter

The purpose of a cold call letter

Who do you address the letter to?

Letters via leads



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How to Look For Work
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How to Networkk
Tips on How To Cold Call
Job Interview : Tips
Interview Process : Question and Answers
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Job Application Letter - Using Marketing Techniques
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