Phoning about a job – speculative phone calls
It may be time to develop some ‘cold calling’ skills. Frightened of phoning? Don’t let it stop you.
Phoning potential employers on the off-chance that they might offer you an interview, or read your CV, isn’t easy. But it can pay off – if you’re prepared to do some research.
As you know, employers often fill vacancies without advertising. So, it can be well worth contacting them directly about any future employment opportunities. This is particularly true if you are applying for:
- popular Modern Apprenticeship opportunities where you need to find an employer to sponsor your training, like the construction trades
- entry level jobs in sectors that rarely advertise, like the media and creative industries
- specialist companies or organisations that attract a lot of interest, from airports to computer games developers.
Here are some hints and tips to help you get started.
Hints and tips
First, you need to do some research. We recommend our article on Researching companies and organisations.
- Use your research to make a list of the companies and/or organisations you plan to call.
- Keep a record of the employers you call. List their address, phone number, what they do, the date you contacted them, the name of your contact and the outcome of your call.
- Find the most relevant telephone number and contact name. Getting through to the right person is absolutely essential!
- Check how to spell their name if you’re not sure.
- This could be the owner if it’s a small business, the human resources manager or the head of a department. You may be able to find the right contact name on their website, or by phoning reception and asking them who deals with recruitment.
- Spruce up your CV and prepare a basic covering letter. Keep both on hand while you’re on the phone. It can help you to answer any questions the employer asks.
- Plan what you’re going to say and write it down. Keep it short and to the point. See the examples below.
- Have a pen and paper handy so you can take notes.
- If they don’t have time to speak to you when you phone, ask them when would be the best time to call back, or if you could email them or drop by for a chat instead.
- Be prepared to leave a message if you get through to an answerphone.
Things to think about
- Consider what day and time you choose to call. The worst days to call are usually Mondays and Fridays – especially Monday mornings and Friday afternoons.
- Don’t call at lunch time, for obvious reasons.
- Phoning in the morning is a good idea, particularly if you are contacting small businesses that work on jobs at different locations.
- You’ll need some peace and quiet to make the calls.
- Speak clearly and be polite, even when it takes a while to get through to the right person.
- You’ll get plenty of rejections but that’s normal; just one offer of an interview or one CV in the right hands could make all the difference.
When an employer is prepared to keep your CV on file remember to tailor it for their company.
Here are a few examples of ways to start your calls.
“Hello, my name is Amy McDonald. I’d like to speak to the person responsible for recruitment please.”
“Good morning, my name’s Usman Anwar. I’m interested in finding out about your accounting apprenticeship programme. Who would be the best person to speak to?”
“Hello, I’d like to speak to the human resources manager please. My name’s Lewis Campbell, I recently sent in my CV and just want to check that it arrived safely.”
“Hello, Mrs Green? My name is Alison Turner. I’m looking for a Modern Apprenticeship in retailing and wondered if you might be recruiting in the near future.”
“Hello, can you put me through to Recruitment and Staff Development please?” “Hello, I wonder if you can help me. I’m about to leave school and I’m looking for an entry level job in administration. Are you recruiting at the moment?” “Can I send you my CV in case openings come up in the future?”
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