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Mastering the art of the cold call

25th January 2022

If you’ve searched the job boards from top to bottom but still can’t find a role that suits you, it might be time to try a different approach. Don't wait for the job that you want, ask for it instead!

Cold calling or cold canvassing is a proactive way to seek out new job opportunities. Whether it’s via phone, email, or in person, cold calling helps you connect with potential employers who may not have any specific vacancies advertised. 

Reaching out to an employer not only shows initiative, but also shows that you’re motivated, and have a genuine interest in working for their business.  

Who do I contact?

Do your research and find the person that is relevant to the role you want. For example, if you want to be a barista, find out the contact details for the Cafe Manager. Don’t be afraid to call the business and ask who would be best to chat to, drop by and enquire in person, or jump on LinkedIn to do a quick search. 

Pick your moment

Choose a time and place where the employer can give you their full attention. How and when you do this depends on the job you’re applying for, e.g. if you’re aiming for a job in hospitality that involves customer service, try to avoid the peak times (like breakfast and lunch), and make the effort to catch up with the employer face to face. Whereas, if you’re wanting a job in logistics, it may be better to call mid-morning to quickly introduce yourself, then follow up with an email detailing your credentials.

It’s not always easy to pick an opportune moment, but don’t worry if it doesn’t work out the first time, regroup and try again.

First impressions count

Making a good first impression is important. When speaking with an employer for the first time (whether in person, via phone, or on email) make sure you:

  • Be confident and show your personality – be proud of who you are and what you have to offer.
  • Don’t rush – slow it down, take a few deep breathes and listen. The more relaxed you are, the easier it is to have a conversation and communicate everything you need to say. Do a few practice runs if you are contacting the employer via phone or in person. You may also want to write down a script to follow in case you get flustered, or need to leave a voicemail.
  • Tell them who you are and why you’re contacting them (but keep it brief). Here's a couple of simple introductions you could try: 

     "Hi Elaine. My name is Jacob. I wanted to touch base to see if there are any job vacancies that may be coming up at ABC Home Renovations. I noticed that you've taken on some new projects in my local area, and I thought my skills as an experienced labourer and landscaper may be of use. I'd love to chat to see how I could contribute to the team."

    " Good morning Caitlin. My name is Nataly. Lara from Dutton Imports passed on your details as the best person to speak to about a role in the Logistics team. I have 10 years of experience in warehousing and logistics and would like to chat to see if there are any current vacancies in your team."
  • Tell them how your skills and/or qualifications make you the right fit for the job – but only share what’s relevant to the job you’re applying for. For example, "I've been working in customer service for the past 5 years and have a personal interest in all things fitness and sport (especially tennis!). I'd love work with the SportsFit team to share my passion and help customers find the right products for their fitness journey."
  • Let them know you’ve done your research – “I noticed on your website that you provide nutrition services and cooking classes to disadvantaged youth. I’m also really passionate about making healthy living accessible for everyone” 
  • Check, then check again – make sure your CV and cover letter is free from spelling and grammatical errors. If you are contacting the employer via email it’s a good idea to get a friend or family member to proofread before you hit send. You can find more cold email tips + templates here.
  • Follow up – if don’t get a reply to your email, or can’t get a callback, change your approach. Is the email address correct? Is it better to reach out in person? Or should I give them a call to see if there’s someone else to talk to?

    If your initial contact goes well, use the opportunity to grab their email address (to send through your CV), schedule a follow-up call, or connect with a meeting in person. If the employer doesn't have any current vacancies it's still a good idea to send them your resume, and request they get in touch if any openings come up in the future. 
  • Ask for Help - If you're having trouble finding work, or need some support to find jobs that match your qualifications, call 1800 877 545 to speak with one of our experienced coaches, or enquire below.