How to Identify and contact potential employers
through cold calling
is cold calling
Why is cold calling successful
and is it still relevant?
What is the difference between cold calling
How to identify a company
to cold call
cold calling is bound to fail
How to contact the company by phone
/ prospecting letter
The purpose of a cold call letter
Who do you address the letter to?
Letters via leads
calling, often called cold canvassing, means
contacting prospective employers, over the phone or through the mail,
(not email at this stage) who have not advertised a position. These jobs are
referred to as the hidden job market. For 30 years or more it has
been said that about 80% of jobs are not advertised. Yet I have never seen
any good research that shows this information is still relevant. (Please let
me know if you find it).
Having said that my own research, while running job
search training workshops, shows it is actually more than that. Between
90%-100% of my job seekers in each group found their last job through both
networking and cold calling, although there was a resistance to cold calling
and networking was purely accidental as the job seeker did not recoginse
this as a job search method. It just happened.
So if your job search
is planned, it is statistically highly possible that you will find a job
through either cold calling ot networking. These methods, will
work for a company executive to a labourer.
However, as I stated in networking,
many jobs, in my experience, were short term and not career jobs. This may
be the fault of the candidate themselves or the nature of the recruitment
method. An organised targeted approach needs to be undertaken if you wish to
get a job of your choice.
goal will be to obtain an interview for any future vacancies.
Your next personal goal will be how to progress your career, or just
keep your job once you have a foot in the door.
Cold calling has been a successful
way of finding jobs in small businesses in the light industrial areas since
the industrial revolution in the 1980's, and
include jobs factories, warehouses and industries that employ a lot of semi
skilled staff. It is also successful in mining and in the
construction industry although for safety reasons you may not be able to get
That is not to say it isn't effective in professional occupations -
it is. You must have skills that are utilised in the company, so you need to your research thoroughly to ensure the
company is relevant for your career prospects and matches the skills used in
are many common techniques used in both networking and
cold calling. Having said that,
smaller companies, word of mouth (networking) comes second to
and slightly more than advertising through newspapers. This
section is primarily about contacting potential employer's through personal
contact - door to door or through the mail
or snail mail as it is called. Not email. 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
Why is cold calling successful and is it still relevant?
Even more relevant as small business is under
threat and they will cut costs on advertising vacancies.
Some small businesses keep an active list of people who have cold
called and will ring them if a job becomes vacant.
You may be in the right place at the right time and it is a foot
in the door.
Recruiting is expensive and time consuming and many smaller employers
put off starting the recruiting process and consequently
pressure is put on their employees, which turns to discontent.
So a jobseeker who has cold called can be seen as a solution -
even if originally seen as short term.
Some smaller businesses would rather use a labour hire company to do
their employment because they just do not have the time to
go through the hiring process. Also they do not want to deal
with any in industrial problems if someone is not suitable. But
they will often fill casual jobs.
They will take jobseekers who cold call and will give them a
trial. They will never offer a permanent job. You must prove
that you are competent and reliable, so this is a foot in the
Employers have told me they are impressed with people who take
the initiative by cold calling.
Lastly in companies where there is a skill shortage they want to
keep in touch with experienced people who cold call. They will consider themselves lucky that they have
attracted a good candidate.
Cold calling sounds a daunting task and if you haven't done it
before it can take a lot of persuading to ask jobseekers to cold
call, especially door to door. However once they get good positive feedback they are keen to
continue with this method of job seeking together with other methods
of finding a job.
Having said that
cold calling does not work as effectively in larger businesses.
people are just too busy to take call. Their time is already taken
up by email, meeting and other distractions.
you feel you can learn the cold calling process, I fully recommend
you also read
Networking: The difference is in the approach. With
networking you already have a contact within the company and usually
a referral by someone in your network. So your initial company is by
phone. With the networking approach you are asking for advice and
leads - you never ask if they have any vacancies unless you have
heard through someone you know that the company is hiring.
Cold calling is just that.
You do not have an introduction within the company so you are going
in cold - in person or over the phone. I argue that you shouldn't be
going in cold because you would have done your research on the
company you are calling. You have a goal and a particular job in
can be done by personally visiting the business, especially small
businesses in industrial areas such as engineering and mechanical
workshops where it is easier to find the owner.
For larger companies
your contact, cold calling is by phone initially and usually
followed up by an interview or a written job application. In this
respect your follow up letter or email is similar to your networking
When you cold call in person you
may have to fill out an application form.
There are many common techniques used in both
cold calling. Having said that, the accepted wisdom in that
smaller companies, word of mouth hiring (networking) comes
cold calling and slightly more common than
advertising through newspapers or any other way of recruiting.
Getting past the receptionist or
When cold calling by phone or in
person, getting past the receptionist of switchboard operator,
referred to as gatekeepers, to speak to the contact you have
identified is the only real hard part of cold calling.
You want the "gatekeeper" to be in your corner. You don't want to be
forced to leave a message. You must speak to your identified contact
in the organisation personally. When you cold call personally
you need to convince the "doorkeeper or gatekeeper " to take your
resume as well as an application form if you have been given one,
and pass it on to your contact. So you need to learn some good
communication techniques that will keep the gatekeeper on side.
You may have to ring four times to find the person you want to speak
to. You must get them to like you and want to help you. We have
provided cold calling scripts.
How to Cold Call
Use these cold
calling tips to make your cold calls more effective
Who do you cold call?
you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there”
L., Johnson D., and Marsh W., How To Manage and Market Yourself,
Cassette Learning Services, Bulleen, Victoria. 1989, p97
Ensure the company is one you want to work
Remember that all companies, and some more than others, have an
organisational culture that is
You need to be able to fill a company's needs. This is why research
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”.
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.
your market by doing research
there a specific industry that utilises your skills?
Where do you
find out this information? See
Your research will be used to target the right industry to make
your job search task more manageable.
The more time you spend doing this exercise the more focused you
It will cut your job search time by 80% - more or less no matter
what method of job search you use.
person will go about identifying their market in different ways
depending on their prior knowledge and occupation.
will require a lot of research.
an employment profile of your state or regional
Keep good records
the information you collect must be written down and organised. You
need to have 2 types of contact sheets. One for your research and
one for your cold calls. This cold calling sheet must show the date
you called, who you spoke to and his/her job tile, the result of the
call and if you need to follow up with a letter or another phone
call and when. Then you diarise it.
Use the Google search box
to look for industries that interest you. For mining use the
search term "companies + your region ", or "Mining + recruitment+
companies show you what skills they require and some may allow you
to submit an application so they can keep your details on file. At
least they will show recruitment methods. Don't let this stop you
from contacting them. Remember cold calling is successful because
you may be in the right place at the right time.
Researching newspapers - From a different perspective
Read all sections -
Finance, Professional Appointments and Situations Vacant.
Employment Opportunities look
at all the vacancies, not just jobs in your skill area.
If a company is
employing a Project Manager, for example, they may have won a
new contract. The advertisement will give you insight into the
company. Most companies give you an overview of their company. This
includes company values, type of projects they do etc. These are good
companies to cold call. Look at their websites for more information.
they expanding? Into what area?
they won a new contract?
occupations will be necessary to fill this contract?
Usually jobs will be out sourced. Who is doing the hiring?
do you contact the hiring agency? The company will actually
provide you with this information if you phone them.
vacancies placed by employment agencies/search firms and see what
their specialist areas are. This is not necessarily for cold calling
but for another essential part of your job search. Ring and ask if
you can register for future vacancies. Agencies don't tend to so
this until they get a job but some labour hire companies will.
See- Recruitment methods
sources for cold calling research include: -
Internet - Most companies are online. Look for companies who have
employed people with your skills in the past.
it a listed company you can find information at the Stock Exchange.
Career and Employment
Opportunities for the full list.
When cold calling is bound to fail
How to contact the company by phone
Before you contact the employer make sure you have
- An up to date resume that sets out your areas of
experience and conforms to a modern acceptable resume style
See example resumes
- The name of the contact in the company. Remember the
Human Resource Manager isn't always the best contact. They only
usually know about jobs when they become available. See further
- Know your goal for each call. What do you want to
- Prepare and practice a cold calling script that sets out
you skills/experience that will fit the organisation. You
must practice this script so it doesn't sound like you are
reading it. You really need to look at
networking part 2 for this. The only difference is your goal.
- Pen and paper and record sheet need to be kept by the
phone in case employer's ring you.
You need to build a
relationship with your contact for cold calling to succeed.
Don't waste a contact by saying the wrong thing. Be clear of the
cold calling process. Also
some useful tips can be found in Networking that can be
The most important cold call script is to get past the
receptionist. (the gatekeeper) You must reach your contact. If you don't reach
the decision maker all is lost.
Your phone calls must have the same components as listed below
for cold calling letters.
A cold calling letter must have these components:-
Contribution you can make
Your qualifications and experience
for an interview (ask if you can meet with the employer).
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
The purpose of a cold calling letter
to get the employer to meet you in the event that positions may
become available in the future.
ask the if the company if they have any current vacancies.
Letter writing tips
Use a strong
opening sentence -
letters 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
You might also say you "I noticed 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?
As stated above, 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
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, for example. Remember, if you
don't personalise the letter and address it to a specific person you
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
This is a slightly different process. You would not normally ask
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
Sample Cold Calling
Resume Application letter - Cold Calling
Used primarily for career change or people returning to the