Many successful job hunters talk to hiring managers informally to find out what problems need fixing before they apply for a job. They establish rapport sell their experience and skills at solving those problems. Cold-calling is a good way of making direct voice contact to have the discussion. It isn't the only way, but it is a proven, effective way.
Certainly some people have greater knowledge of how to engage in cold-calling than others. But many people who were never trained in the skills, like me, have learned through good coaching and lots of practice. Cold-calling requires script preparation, skills development, the right mental attitude, and the commitment to practice and try. It is one of the most effective ways of getting hired.
What I like about cold-calling is this:
It Works – It establishes rapport with the hiring manager. It enables identification of the hiring manager's specific needs and provides an opportunity to showcase how you can help. It generates interest.
It Enables You to Edit Your Resume and Cover Letter – Armed with the reasons why the job is open enables editing your resume to be responsive to the hiring managers' hot buttons. It also makes writing your cover letter a 'walk in the park'.
It Gives You the Competitive Advantage – Cold-calling demonstrates you are willing to do what others won’t. You are different from the others. Differentiation creates competitive advantage.
It Trains You for Interviewing – Skills learned in cold-calling have huge benefits for interviewing. You learn to be quick on your feet and maintain composure under stress. Nothing sharpens communication skills like cold calling.
It Builds Confidence – Rejection to cold-calling is not uncommon and should not be taken personally. What you learn from rejection is how to become better at cold-calling and interviewing.
It Builds Your Network – Networking is critically important. I believe 'Who you Know' may not be as important as 'Who needs to know You'. Everyone you speak to is an addition to your network. They may know of other positions you might fit.
It Identifies Hidden Jobs – Cold-calling is useful for identifying unadvertised opportunities. Some people identify a company they would like to work for without knowing if a job exists. They use cold-calling to identify needs and generate a hiring manager’s interest. Sometimes that exposes hidden jobs.
It Enables Follow-Up Opportunities – Cold calling creates follow-up opportunities. Sometimes now is not the right time, but sometime in the future may be.
It Trains You for Warm-Calling - Warm-calling to hiring managers you were referred to uses the same skills as cold-calling.
The takeaway is this: If your job search is not making progress and you are looking for alternatives ways of searching, seriously consider cold-calling. Be willing to learn and practice alternatives to camping on job boards. Think of cold-calling as an informal way of speaking with a hiring manager, not as a quasi-interview. Don't think of cold-calling as a hard sell technique. Hard selling is likely to create a negative reaction. Making calls in an informal manner without pressuring the hiring manager leads to success. Handled correctly even the most adamantly opposed managers can be won over. Learning and practicing are key.