The direct approach: phone and face-to-face
Would you send a letter to someone you liked to ask them out on a date? Probably not. So why then would you just mail your resume and cover letter to a workplace and expect them to offer you a job?
Sometimes in life you need to be brave and pick up the phone. Or maybe even talk to someone face-to-face.
Deliver your resume directly
Whenever possible, it's best to deliver your resume in person. That way you can get a feel for the workplace and the people who work there. You'll also be giving them the chance to meet you.
If you can, try to hand in your resume to the manager or employer directly, rather than to a secretary or receptionist. Your potential employer is more likely to remember you if they have seen you face-to-face.
The next best thing is to phone the organisation where you would like to work and ask to speak with the person in charge of hiring. This way you can ask some questions about the job and find out the name of the person who you should send your resume to. It’s more likely to be read if it’s sent straight to the person who is managing recruitment.
Staying in touch
It's a good idea to call the organisation about a week after you have sent your resume. This way, you can ask if they have had a chance to read it, at the same time as showing that you're really interested in the job. This brings you to the front of the employer's mind and could put your resume on the top of the pile.
Make sure you keep notes of what was said in all your phone calls throughout the job application process. Whenever they call you or you call them, make sure you have a pen and paper handy.
Keeping notes saves time because you don't have to go over things you may have already discussed. It also makes you look organised, which will help to improve your chances of getting the job.
Tips and tricks when calling potential employers
- If you call the switchboard and are transferred through to the person you want to speak with, ask for the direct number of that person so you can contact them directly the next time you call
- If you are expecting a call from a potential employer, always answer the phone politely: Starting off with 'Hello, this is…' makes a much better first impression than 'yeah, what?'
- If you’re feeling nervous about making a call, write yourself a short script that you can follow once you pick up the phone. (e.g., 'Hi, my name is ... I'd like to speak to … I'm calling to follow up on a resume I sent last week.'
Don't give up
It might be nerve-wracking when you start contacting employers in person and on the phone, and you might get some knock-backs at the beginning, but the direct approach does get easier with practise. So get out there, give it your best shot and don't give up!