Cold Calling - Tips for Success

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Job ads sometimes get hundreds of applications, but a cold call at the right time can find you a job before it's even advertised.

Phoning a business out of the blue to ask about job vacancies isn't easy, but cold calling could help you crack the hidden job market.

Use these handy tips to improve your cold calling skills:

> Before the call
> During the call
> After the call

Before the Call: 2 Things

Cold calling isn't just picking up the phone and dialling. It helps to prepare before you call. Here's some things to consider.

1. Do Your Research

A little bit of preparation can make cold calling easier.

If you know the name of the person you want to talk to, ask for them by name when you call.

If you don't know their name, try asking to talk to the human resources manager or the work experience co-ordinator. You could even just ask to talk to someone about jobs available at the company.

If you're calling about a specific job (or kind of job), do some of research on the company and what the job involves. When you call you'll be able to show how much you know and prove you're right for the job.

Remember to be polite. People are more likely to help if you're polite.

2. Write a Script 

Writing out what you want to say can stop you forgetting what to say and help you speak clearly.

Your script should highlight your skills and experience and why you stand out from the crowd. Don't use the same script every time - change it to suit each company you call.

You might be transferred to different people in the same organisation - remember to introduce yourself each time and explain the reason for your call.

Examples of Cold Calling Scripts

If you're talking to a receptionist, try something like:

"Good morning. My name is _________. Can you please tell me the name of your HR manager? Would I be able to speak to them? Thank you.

If you're talking to the HR Manager, try something like:

"Good morning (use their name if you know it). My name is _________. I'm calling to ask about any opportunities for work at your company.  I've just completed my degree in ________, and I have a lot of experience in _______ and ________, which is an area I know your company specialises in. I've also worked in _______.  Are there any suitable openings at your company at present?  Can I send you my CV in case any jobs come up in future?"

For more examples of cold calling scripts check out our Cold Calling Interactive Guide.

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During the Call: 5 Things

So you've managed to get someone to talk to you - nice one! Here's how to make the call count.

1. Stay Focused

You've worked hard to get to speak to someone, so don't waste this chance. Here's some tips on staying focused:

  • Find somewhere quiet to call, away from interruptions or distractions
  • Don't put the person on hold to answer another call
  • Let your family and friends know you don't want to be disturbed

2. Dress to Impress

Getting dressed and sitting at a table or desk will help you get into the right frame of mind. Your voice also sounds more confident and professional when you sit up straight or stand.

3. Mind Your Manners

Politeness is the easiest way to make a good impression on the phone.

  • Speak clearly - Try not to mumble or 'um' and 'er' too much
  • Smile - Smiling when you talk adds warmth to your voice
  • Excuse yourself - Put the phone down if you need to cough or sneeze 
  • Use names - Find out the person's name (ask them if you have to) and use it
  • Say thank you - Before hanging up, thank the person for their time, no matter what the end result is

4. Take Notes

Taking notes will mean you won't have to go over things already discussed if you speak a second time. It will make you seem more professional and organised too.

Before you hang up, summarise any action that needs to be taken (e.g., confirm you'll send your CV).

5. Be Persistent

If you didn't get what you wanted, ask for contact details of someone else who may be able to help.

If the person you want to speak to isn't there, leave a message or ask about the best time to call back.

If the organisation won't give out phone numbers, get an email address or ask if you can leave your number.

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After the Call: 2 Things

Once you've made the call, you're almost done. Now it's time to make sure your hard work isn't wasted.

1. Keep Your Promises

Prove you're professional and worth employing by doing everything that you said you would, and doing it quickly.

If you said you'd email your CV or contact details, do it as soon as you get off the phone! If you said you'd call back in a day, then don't call back a day later than you agreed.

2. Follow Up

If someone said they'd call you back but you don't hear from them after a week or so, give them another call. Chances are they've been busy. They'll be impressed by your enthusiasm.

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Give it a Go

Cold calling is never easy, but with confidence, politeness and persistence it can make things happen.

For more tips on cold calling, check out our Cold Calling - Tips from the Experts video and Cold Calling Interactive Guide.

Good luck!