Before my resume writing and coaching business, I ran an executive recruiting firm. This is where I learned all my best phone networking and cold calling secrets. I had to make hundreds of phone calls year after year. I learned what worked and what didn’t when “phone networking.” Related: The Jimmy Fallon Effect: 10 Qualities Of Great Networkers Now, I share what I learned with job seekers to help them approach job search related phone calls with ease, professionalism, and excitement. There's a trick to it – but it’s not hard to learn – even for shy and introverted types (like myself).
When you hear the words “cold call,” you probably associate them with the words “cold sweat.” Calling someone you don’t know, or even sending an introductory e-mail, can be terrifying for even the most expert networker. Of course, a cold call or e-mail isn’t ideal, but it can be necessary. Related: Top 10 People You Must Have In Your Network To Find A Job Your goal should always be to explore potential warm connections. When you find that person you’re dying to network with and/or talk to about a potential job, you’ll scour LinkedIn, Facebook, Google, and any other resource you can find to locate someone in your network who may be able to introduce you to your target individual. Unfortunately, though six degrees might work when it comes to Kevin Bacon, it’s not always possible to connect yourself directly with the individuals you want to network with. It’s these times when you’re going to have to take the big leap and do what the sales industry calls “cold calling.” When you only have an e-mail address and/or phone number, and no other connections, it’s up to you to make the best effort possible to catch someone’s attention and get the response you’re hoping for. In the world of technology, though, a cold call isn’t always a cold call. It might be a cold e-mail, a Tweet, or a LinkedIn message. However, there are tactics you can employ in order to ensure your voicemail is returned and to increase the likelihood of your e-mail or social media message receiving a response. Cold calling is all about being concise and clear while immediately establishing to your target that you are someone she will want to get to know. To keep your call or e-mail script simple, follow the formula G.I.R.L.S.
- G – Greet Your Target
- I – Identify Yourself
- R – Make Your Request
- L – Link Your Need to Their Work
- S – Suggest a Next Step
Example A – Voicemail:Good Morning, Patty. My name is Amy Mancini. I’m interested in learning more about what you do and your work at Ulta, and I would love to meet you for coffee. I have a long history in retail sales with Target Corporation and currently manage relationships with cosmetics companies on behalf of Target. I’m interested learning more about companies focused directly on beauty. You can return my call at 555-555-5555. I’d be happy to meet you for coffee before your workday begins anytime in the next two weeks.
Example B – E-mail:Subject: Coffee with a Connection in the Beauty Industry? Ms. Smith, Good morning! I hope this e-mail finds you well. I’m Amy Mancini, and I’m currently in cosmetics sales with Target Corporation and would like to meet you to learn more about your career path and your work at Ulta. I have a long history in big box retail sales and have recently considered transitioning to working inside a cosmetics company. Could we schedule a phone call or perhaps a coffee meeting in the next few weeks? I know your expertise in the industry and your experience at Ulta could be incredibly valuable as I begin to make decisions about the types of positions I’m looking for and which companies might be the best fit for me. I have a passion for cosmetics and retail sales, and with so many avenues within the industry, I know the next step for me is to focus my search strategically. Could I suggest meeting for coffee near your office next week? My schedule is flexible and I look forward to meeting you. Thanks so much! Amy In these examples, Amy has made her request clear, she’s been both respectful and complimentary to the receiver, and to close, she has made a request that lives appropriately between too vague and too specific. Just remember, G.I.R.L.S. – Greet.Identify.Request.Link.Suggest. – and you’ll never be afraid of a cold contact again. This post was originally published at an earlier date. Photo Credit: Shutterstock
How many times have you replied to a job ad via e-mail by shooting them a copy of your resume and cover letter? Related: 7 Features Of Effective E-Cover Letters I'm going to venture a guess and say at least 20 (but more likely hundreds of times) if you've been searching for any significant length of time.
Cover Letter MistakesHere are some of the most notorious cover letter mistakes we've seen and what you can do to greatly improve your chances of being noticed.
1. Attaching The Cover Letter To The E-mailWhat's wrong with that, you ask? Most hiring managers aren't going to open the cover letter and read it. They'll go straight to the resume instead. Want to ensure your cover letter gets read? Copy and paste it into the body of the e-mail. Whoever received the e-mail will be much more likely to read it if it's already right there in front of their face.
2. Writing Your Whole Life Story In The Body Of The E-mailDon't go overboard with details; keep it short. The hiring manager won't be willing to invest a lot of time reading your e-mail. Keep it short and to the point.
3. Providing Information Not Relevant To The PositionHere is a great example. When I want to bring an additional resume/cover letter writer on staff, I'm not looking for someone with technical writing expertise, article writing skills, or journalism savvy. Those forms of writing aren't relevant to what we do here. I want a writer who has extensive expertise and certification in resume writing. If someone goes on and on in their cover letter (or in the body of the e-mail) about all their other writing experience, they will lose my interest. Instead, I want them to tell me about their most relevant experience as it relates to my needs. I want them to tell me about any resume writing experience they have. Give the hiring manager a brief overview of the most relevant experience you have, appropriate to the position they are trying to fill. This will pique their interest—rather than lose it.
4. Excluding Information They've Specifically Asked You To IncludeDepending on the position, the employer may ask you to submit a sample of your work, portfolio, hours of availability, or even salary requirements. Whatever it is they've asked you to include, make sure you include it in your cover letter. If not, you will most certainly be removed from consideration for failing to follow instructions. Following instructions and acknowledging everything the employer has asked you to address in the job ad not only saves the employer time but makes you look good. I can tell you this from experience because 9 out of 10 applicants will fail to address every stipulation the employer has listed. It happens to us all the time.
5. Not Using A Cover Letter At AllWe've received e-mails from applicants, and the body of the e-mail provides either little or no information whatsoever. Some simply state, “Here is my resume for your review." You are selling yourself short by not including at least a brief introduction. Especially if the employer outlines specific requirements. Take the time to write, “I see you need someone with availability to work nights and weekends; I would enjoy working these hours and am available to do so." Or, “I have included a sample of my work for your consideration along with my resume. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me."
6. Forgetting To Tell Them Why You're The Best FitLet me tell you about one of THE BEST cover letters I've ever seen: I could tell this person put effort into it—and she took the time to specifically and meticulously review our job requirements. She scrutinized our requirements and detailed in her cover letter how she had experience meeting those needs. It was applicable, relevant, and attention getting. It was probably one of the only cover letters that actually made us want to read the corresponding resume.
7. Using A Boring Closing StatementInstead of using the same old boring line, spice it up a bit. One of the more daring cover letter closings I have read closed with, “Call today, don't delay." I applauded her boldness and had to call her. The closing was confident, feisty, and it certainly grabbed my attention. Not to mention the entire cover letter addressed everything she brought to the table as a potential employee and how these elements were relevant to meeting our needs. What I am trying to get you to see is boring the hiring manager with details not relevant to the opening—or not making the most of the space and time you're getting is really to your detriment. Instead, take the time to write something catchy, relevant, and targeted to the position for which you are applying. Sure, it may take a few extra minutes to tweak your cover letter—but in the end, if you get the interview, won't it be worth it?
Related Posts5 Parts Of A Cover Letter (A.K.A. How To Write A Good One!) How To Get An Employer's Attention In 20 Seconds 3 Tips For A Persuasive Executive Cover Letter
A cold call cover letter is sent by a job seeker to a company, hoping that they might get a call for an interview (even though they haven’t applied for a job). In order to be effective, a cold call cover letter needs to be short, relevant and thoroughly researched. It should only be targeted to the company you’re writing. The advantage of sending a cold call letter is that the prospective employer might have openings in the future for which he might consider the job seeker who has already submitted his qualifications. Follow these steps to write an effective cold call letter:
Step #1: OrganizeAlthough a cold call cover letter is written to a company that doesn’t have any current job openings, it is still good to personalize your letter so that it doesn’t look like a form letter (or junk). Organization makes the letter writing process simple and increases the chances of receiving attention from the prospective employer. Select the companies you want to approach and inquire about job opportunities. Group the companies according to their industry or if you will move somewhere else in the future, then categorize the companies by region.
Step #2: Address The ReceiverResearch the website of the company to find out the hiring manager’s name or contact the HR department to get the names and titles. Always remember to write a personal salutation at the beginning of the letter because it shows your etiquette and that you took time to search for the name of the hiring person. Avoid using an unfriendly greeting, as it will make your letter sound informal and it won’t grab the interest of the reader.
Step #3: IntroductionThe introduction of your letter should begin with an attractive statement that involves the reader’s interest. If you’ve graduated recently, go ahead with your letter, writing your academic qualifications and achievements and follow up with one or two sentences that show you’re ready to begin with your career. If you are an experienced professional, write a strong introduction based on your skills.
Step #4: BodyShow your interest in the company by stating any of its recent developments. For example, think that you’re a nurse who is applying at a hospital which is building its separate branch for cancer patients or if you are a writer who would be willing to apply at an academic firm which is expanding its assignment writing services for college and university students. Write the body of your letter in such a way that it reflects your plan and creativity. You can start like this: “I’m excited about the opening of your new branch for cancer patients or academic literature department as the study of that particular field is one of the areas I’ve specialized in and in which I am highly capable. I would like to join the team of professionals to provide the best expertise in the region.”
Step #5: ClosingThe closing paragraph of your letter is as important as the introduction. Conclude with a statement that you’ll contact the company to confirm the receipt of your resume. Mention your contact information including your email and contact number. Enjoy this article? You've got time for another! Check out these related articles:
- Networking: The Art Of The Cold Call (Or E-mail)
- 5 Tips For Effective Phone Networking
- Video Tip: Cover Letter Effectiveness Test
Last week, I received an info interview request from a total stranger as a direct message on LinkedIn. And despite my very busy schedule, I decided to take his call. Over the weekend, I asked myself, “Why did I agree?” Let’s take his e-mail apart and put it into four essential elements so you can use them in your own LinkedIn networking communications. Networking with strangers on LinkedIn can give you great results if you're deliberate in the process. First, here’s the e-mail I got over LinkedIn from J.:
Hi Joshua, I noticed we are both connected to M. F. – how do you know M.? I first met her at J.P., and she actually photographed my wedding. Small world. I wanted to touch base with you because I saw an open position at J.R. I thought would be a great fit for me. I’m located in Portland now, and do social media strategy for a digital marketing agency here in town. It’s a fun role, but you know how agencies are – fingers in a lot of different businesses, but no ability to truly own a marketing program. It looks like I would be able to do that with the Marketing Communications Manager role that is posted. Would you mind if I called you some time this week to hear about your experience at J.R. and your perspective on the marketing organization there? I’d really appreciate it.
1. Lead With Something In CommonMy interviewee, J., began his e-mail by pointing out our mutual friend M.F., and although I know M.F. from my sister’s college days, what really got my attention was M.F. was the photographer at her wedding. Now, with LinkedIn, there is a danger the first degree connection isn’t really a close friend. I went through an Open Networking phase and about 100 people in my LinkedIn network are complete strangers to me. So don’t assume just because they’re connected, they know each other. J. took a calculated risk. However, he mitigates that risk by further sharing a personal tid-bit…he’s married. And as another recently married guy, I can very much relate to his situation. (i.e. He has my sympathy.)
2. Get To The Point - FastJ. wastes no time for BS or apologies. He’s writing to me because he saw an open position at a company I have a relationship with and thinks he’d be a fit. Notice he says, “I saw an open position.” He doesn’t assume I know anything about this position. In fact, it was news to me. And so I can infer he’s not assuming I’m any kind of decision maker. I know this is going to be a purely informational interview. Furthermore, he concludes the e-mail by re-affirming that he’s just looking to hear about my experience with J.R., the company and my perspective on their marketing organization. My guard goes down because I know he’s not going to put me on the spot or ask me for more than just my opinion.
3. What Makes Him Qualified?Without bragging, J. makes it clear that he’s a serious candidate, not one of those job fisherman. He tells me he already works at an agency. And that even though he enjoys the agency, he’s looking for more. He wants to “truly own a marketing program.” It might occur to me, after all, that if he already has a job, why is he looking to make a change? That concern is assuaged.
4. What Do You Want From Me?He concludes his e-mail with, “Would you mind if I called you sometime this week...” meaning, I won’t have to do anything except wait for a phone call and talk to him. Sounds easy. I would have even mentioned the exact amount of time such a conversation would have taken, “Would you mind if I called you this week for just 10 or 15 minutes?”
Other ObservationsYou may have also noticed...
- The e-mail was VERY short. It took me less than 30 seconds to read it.
- He named the position he was after by name, he did his research and I know he won’t waste my time
- He is sensitive to and grateful for my time, “I would really appreciate it...”