Tips | Cold Calling

What is Cold Calling?

Cold calling is the practice of contacting potential employers directly by phone, without any prior contact, to find out about potential opportunities. This is best accomplished by identifying and understanding your skills, and how they are relevant to the employers you approach and the jobs they may have available. 
 

What's The Purpose of Cold Calling?

Statistics indicate that most jobs available at any given time are not advertised – combined, these opportunities are known as ‘the hidden job market’. To find these jobs, different approaches to job searching are required, one of which is cold calling.  

Cold calling can be successfully combined with networking if you have a list of personal contacts that are in a position to help you or can refer you to someone else who may be hiring. See the Effective Networking Tip Sheet

 

Effective Cold Calling Strategies

 

1. Getting Started 

Cold calling may seem intimidating, but the secret to success is being prepared and organized. Be sure to: 

  • Update your resume identifying the skills and qualities you would like to highlight to employers and the relevant experiences that support them 

  • Start an organized list of the companies you want to contact, including company information gathered from research, and questions you plan to ask. 

  • Develop a system (notebook or agenda – print or electronic) to record when and who you speak with, what was said, and when you will be following up (if you make a successful contact) 

 

2. Finding Contacts 

Locating good contacts is critical when looking for a job. Keep your eyes open and be creative. Places to look for contacts include: 

  • Directories that identify and organize prospective employers according to industry, career and/or geographic area. Numerous directories are available in the UTM Career Centre library and on the UTM Career Centre website. 

  • LinkedIn is a great resource to locate companies and people who  work in these companies 

  • Professors, family, fellow students, neighbours and friends, all of whom can provide access to their personal networks—you might be surprised who they know! 

 

Once you have compiled an initial list of companies, determine who specifically within the company you should speak with. You want to speak to the person most likely to be responsible for hiring in your area of interest. To do this: 

  • Research the company, either online through their website, using directories/other publications, or with information interviews. See the UTM Career Centre Information Interviewing and Company Research Tip Sheets

  • This research will also help generate good questions to ask when you call. 

  • Pre-call the company’s reception number if you have difficulty finding the names of individuals in charge of specific departments (*Remember, you are only asking reception for the name of the individual, not to say that you are looking for a job or want to know if they’re hiring. If you are asked the reason for your enquiry, say that you are doing some research on the company or wanting to address a letter to the hiring manager. Be sure to confirm the correct spelling and pronunciation of the contact name plus their job title). 

 

3. Prepare your Marketing Script or Pitch 

Before making any calls, you want to prepare a script (or pitch) to give your conversation some structure and ensure that important details are not forgotten (contact name, title, company information, questions). The script should not be thought of as something you will ‘read’ but rather as something to help you make the best use of your time on the phone. 

 

Your marketing pitch should be no longer than 20 seconds, tailored to the company and should include: 

  • an introduction using your full name and addressing the employer by “Mr.” or “Ms.” 

  • an introductory question asking whether it’s a good time to call or if you could schedule a better time if they sound busy or respond negatively. You might also add that you don’t plan to take up too much of their time because you know they are busy. 

  • brief details about your relevant background/experience, an explanation that you are looking for a new position or are hoping to work in a new environment, and that you would appreciate any advice or information regarding positions and hiring within their company. 

Note: be prepared to expand on these details if the employer asks for more information about you and have your resume in front of you for reference. 

 

4. Making & Managing the Call  

When you make the call, you’ll likely be connected in one of the following ways: 

  • directly to the employer -proceed with your Marketing Pitch, after confirming if it’s a good time, and remember to take notes while you talk. At the end of the conversation, be sure to thank the employer for their time and ask if you can follow up at a later time. After the call, be sure you’ve noted all important information and determine if a follow up is appropriate 

  • to a voicemail – leave a short message with your name, the date/time, and a short message based on your script; leave either a number at which you can be reached, or mention a time when you will call back. If you leave a contact number, be prepared to take their return call at any time at that number (have your notes and resume with you). 

 

UTM CAREER CENTRE RESOURCES 

  • Book an appointment with an Employment Strategist or Career Counsellor to plan your networking approach and practice your 30-second introduction 

  • Tip Sheets: Effective Networking, Career Fairs, Company Research, Information Interviewing, and more can be found on the Career Centre Website 

  • Check out books on the job search and interviewing in our ebook collection found on the CLNx website and then go to Resources.  

 

Pease note that this information is subject to change. It is best to refer to the original sources for the most up-to-date information. (Updated June 2021)