What do you mean: find yourself a job through ‘cold-calling?’ Oh, pul-lease. Didn’t that go out with the Fuller brush salesmen in the 1960’s? How can any self-respecting job seeker these days stoop this low? Well: read on! (If it makes you feel any better, call it ‘unsolicited job hunting.’)
To be successful you’re going to need a long, long list of prospect companies. You may want to group these by industry or by location, depending on which is most important to you. The idea is that you’re looking for companies for which you see yourself working happily.
Once you’ve compiled this list, start at the top and get your dialing finger ready. What you’ll be doing is calling each and every firm to see if you can pry the name of the Hiring Manager out of the receptionist. A word of warning here: he or she may have instructions from the higher-ups NOT to release that name. Likely as not, they will want to send you along to the H.R. office. This won’t help you.
After filling in the names of each hiring manager, you’ll need a kick-*** cover letter! The best strategy here is to say something about each company that will make it abundantly clear that you know something about its product line and how it operates.. Be sure to enclose a professional looking resume. (i.e. avoid cluttered, crowded text.) Use interesting vocabulary to attract attention to yourself and be sure to highlight one or two skills that you can offer.
Next, wait a few days and contact the people to whom you sent a letter/ e mail and ask them for an interview. Of course, you’re bound to run into the usual complement of people who will tell you that their company isn’t hiring at the moment. Don’t despair. Ask them to set up what’s called an ‘informational interview’ so that you can learn more about the firm in preparation for a time when they ARE hiring. BE PREPARED FOR REJECTION!
Once you book a meeting, you’ve got a chance to ‘wow’ them with your skills and personality. (Even though you are presenting this as an information interview, be sure to do your homework ahead of time and come prepared with intelligent questions about their new product line or their history as a firm.
Your ultimate goal is to meet as many people as you can, on the theory that SOME one, some where, might just see you as a perfect fit for a position in his/her department.
But, don’t just make these contacts a one-time thing. Continue to send periodic letters, asking (politely) whether the hiring situation has changed. You’d also be well advised to enhance your own skill set by taking a class or two. This will give you a good reason to communicate with them once again.
Finally, don’t forget the value of a simple thank you letter expressing your appreciation for the time they spent with you. Persistence, persistence, persistence…is what will win the day!