When the economy is slow and you’re looking for a job you may be tempted to rely solely on your network — people you know, or better, people who know you. But as part of your strategy you need to learn to master the cold call or email. It could make all the difference in your job search.
It may seem counterintuitive where you have no connection to the company or hiring manager but trust me, cold messaging works if you do it right.
1) Get contact info
Start by narrowing down your list of options to the two or three places you’d like to work. Then figure out who you’re going to be working for. Get a name and contact.
Use LinkedIn and Facebook but do not make contact via social media. Email still ranks as the best way to make contact if you’re looking for a job. That being said both social media and company websites are excellent places to find contact info. Failing that, pick up the phone and call the company. Most will have no problem giving out an email address.
2) Research the company
You’ve gotten your future boss’ contact info, but hang on, it’s not time to make contact yet. Before you do, make sure you’ve done your research on the company. Is is privately-owned or has it gone public? What’s the last big project they worked on? Who are their target customers? What are their goals? And most important, what do they really sell — furniture or finance (like Courts, for example).
The info is out there. Start with daily newspaper online archives. Has the company’s CEO given any recent interviews?
These can help you take the pulse of senior management. When you are sure you know that you know what your future employer is about, it’s time to reach out.
3) Craft a compelling email
To master the cold call or email you’ve got to start with a compelling subject line. A friend once sent a cold email about a job to a company operating around the globe. Here’s how she started: Nick, I have the fundraising experience you need.
Where did it come from? From an interview she’d read in which Nick talked about needing to find people with fundraising experience. See why research matters? And don’t miss the way she used his name in the subject line. In fact, writing subject lines is an art in itself.
The body of your email should explore the money issue quickly. In slow economies companies are thinking about the bottom line every day so when you talk money remember this: you must either help the company make money or save money. That’s bottom line thinking.
Hey, what about my skills? I knew you’d ask. Reserve any discussion of your skills to a few bullet points. Focus instead on results. You have to sell results in this email or it won’t work. Make it about them, not you.
4) You have 15 seconds
Fifteen seconds. That’s all you got if you get through by phone. It’s one reason I personally prefer email to calling.
Email is non-invasive. It can be read when and wherever the person feels like reading. Even if a CEO doesn’t reply he might be moved enough to forward your email to his HR people. Email is simple.
But if you make that call and your future boss picks up, well, that’s a different story altogether. Like I said, you have just about 15 seconds to make your case. Luckily, the gems we shared about sending cold emails work for cold calling too.
You have to make it about them. Your future boss needs someone who makes money or saves money. Sell him on how you are the best person to make that time. Tell him you have the experience or that you’ve gotten good results before. Be likeable.
Ask to meet in person. Ask a question related to the business. And if no one picked up and all you got was voicemail, never, ever leave more than one message. You’re job hunting — not stalking.
5) Ask for the job
If there is one thing I’d like you to take away from this post it’s this: you don’t have because you don’t ask. So go ahead and ask for the job you want if you have your future boss on the line. This shows courage.
You’re taking a different approach from the legions of passive job hunters out there who only respond to advertisements.
Savvy HR managers and C-suite execs know that the people who ask for the job want it more and that makes all the difference in the world.
Talk of plunging energy prices persist. Just last week, NGC announced a hiring and wage freeze. Things appear sluggish but that is exactly why you need to wise up about your job search strategy. Forego the passive applications to advertisements posted to popular job boards and pick up the phone. Or grab a cup of coffee, fire up the computer and craft an email so spectacular they hasten to call you in for an interview.