Creative Job Search: Direct Employer Contact (page 2)
A goal of a job search campaign is to meet face-to-face with employers (interviews). The more interviews you have, the greater your chances for success. If you are not getting interviews, it is unlikely that you will have job offers. Most job seekers prefer a passive job search strategy. They submit an application or resume and wait. When they don't hear anything, they repeat the process. On the other hand, successful job seekers are pro-active in their approach. They take the initiative to make direct contact with potential employers. Contacting employers directly is fundamental to a successful job search.
Direct employer contact requires preparation, confidence and persistence. Many people are uncomfortable with this approach. They are afraid that they will offend the employer and hurt their chances for employment. A certain amount of concern is healthy; it is important to be considerate of employers and respect their time. But also remember that you have something they need. You're not asking for a handout - you're selling a quality product! If you don't take the initiative, no one will take it for you.
Direct employer contact works for advertised jobs. Even if an advertised job discourages direct contact, it is to your advantage to take the initiative. A wise policy is to first follow the advertised directions, then make direct contact. For example, if the advertisement states, "send a resume," send your resume - then follow it with a phone call.
|Michael found a position in the newspaper that went to extremes to discourage direct contact - it was a blind advertisement with only a P.O. box. Determined to do more that just send his resume, Michael called the Post Office where he got the name of the company. After researching the company, he called and asked for an interview. Not only was he granted the interview, he subsequently won the job. To top this, Michael was not skilled in sales or a polished communicator. Michael had a severe speech impediment and was partially paralyzed.|
Direct contact is the logical conclusion to a successful networking campaign. As your networking pays off in referrals to employers, you will have to make direct contacts. But you have the advantage of using the name of your referral to soften the contact.
You will also want to make direct contact with employers who are not advertising and to whom you have not been referred. This is called cold calling. Cold calling is difficult for many people, but it is an extremely productive job search strategy.
Basic Principles of Direct Employer Contact
- Preparation is critical to success. Research the employer, the industry, and the job.
- Direct contact may be in-person or by phone. However, the ultimate goal is an in-person interview.
- The goal is to present your qualifications directly to the hiring manager.
- The goal is not to talk with the Human Resource Department, unless you are looking for a job in Human Resources or they are the hiring authority. However, you should respect the Human Resource Department by complying with the hiring process.
- The goal is not to submit an application or resume. Although, if an application or resume is requested, graciously comply and continue your direct contact.
- When you make direct contact, do not begin by asking if they are hiring, or by saying you are unemployed. Capture their attention with your qualifications and ask for an interview.
- Plan your follow-up. If granted an interview, this is your next step. Otherwise come to an agreement with the employer about when you will call back.
- Sell your qualifications, send your resume and plan your follow-up even if an employer is not hiring. You never know what will happen tomorrow.
- Whenever possible, the next step is your responsibility - not the employer's. For example, if an employer says, "We will call you in a couple of weeks," you could respond with, "Would it be all right if I call you two weeks from today?" If they say "yes" then you have agreed on your follow-up and the responsibility is yours.
- Expect rejection! It goes with the territory. Don't take rejection personally.
- Maintain a good attitude and a healthy sense of humor.
Nothing in the world
can take the place of persistence."
Reprinted with the permission of the Idaho Department of Labor.
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