Cold calling means contacting companies directly to find a job. It can be scary at first, but most people react well and offer encouragement. If you are polite, very few people in business will bite your head off for trying!

It's likely you'll get knocked back by a lot of the people you call, but don't give up, focus on the next call and the success you might have. Cold calling is worth all the trouble in the world if it pays off in the long run and gets you a job, or even just an interview, or a resume drop off – even some valued information or advice.

Before calling, try to find out the name of the person you need to speak to. You may have to be persistent to get past receptionists and personal assistants. If the person you need to speak to isn't available, find out when they will be available and offer to call them back.

If you manage to talk to someone about the kind of job you want, and there is a job available, find out what you need to do next.

  • For entry-level positions, cold calling can be a numbers game. The more companies you call, the greater the odds of finding an opening.
  • The Yellow Pages is YOUR Employment Directory! There are literally THOUSANDS of businesses listed there, so it should be your constant companion in your job search!
  • If you are phoning prospective employers, make sure you are in a quiet area, have a pen and paper handy, with no disruptions.
  • Try dressing up and sitting up – no PJ’s on the couch! It will help you get in the right frame of mind.
  • Try and avoid mobile phone numbers as people can often be either travelling when you call, out of range, unable to hear etc. Try a landline first. Turn off call waiting.
  • Practice your phone call and techniques on family or friends – be positive, enthusiastic and clear as to what you are wanting. Plan what you will say about yourself and why you want the job.
  • Have your resume near you, ready and updated.
  • Keep a notebook of all the places you contact, by face or by phone. Write down names and telephone numbers and note details of your conversations. See the ‘Employer Contacts Sheet’ at the end of this section.
  • Always call back exactly when you say you will.
  • Use your manners, don’t mumble or say ‘um’ or ‘er’, speak clearly and as confident as possible, use the person’s name, don’t interrupt and give detailed answers to any questions.
  • Always say thank you.

But what do I say??

Sometimes the hardest part of marketing yourself is not the actual doing, but what you might say – try having a script prepared to help you. On the following page you will find an example of how your own script may look like, use it as a general guide. Don’t forget that you will need to tailor it to your own needs and also the way that you are responded to. You don’t have to put a plum in your mouth and use extravagant grammar – be natural, be relaxed, be confident.

Cold Calling can also be done in person. Use the ideas above to support your visit but also include:

  • Dress to impress (including hygiene!)
  • Write notes after each visit.