GNcareers, from Gulf News

How to cover all the bases before you get on the phone

How to cover all the bases before you get on the phoneImage Credit: Supplied

Cold calling can be tough even on people who are comfortable with the concept of reaching out to new prospects in their daily business. So if you're new to this and to the job-hunting process, the idea of picking up the phone and calling a potential hiring manager — who hasn't posted a job — could be pretty intimidating.

Before you summon up courage and pick up the phone, there is a question to answer: Do you need to call employers who have not posted jobs? There is an argument for and against this, but what's important is to know that either choice you are making is based on what is best for your career hunt rather than what is easy or within your comfort zone.

To make this decision and take the necessary steps if you decide to proceed, consider the following points.

* Pros and cons

When calling a potential employer, you immediately establish yourself as interested, proactive and willing to go the extra mile. In addition, if a job opening is on the horizon, the employer may be tempted to skip the entire hiring process — which is costly in terms of money and time — and picking you up if you're deemed to be qualified. But that is the absolutely best-case scenario.

There are many disadvantages to this approach, however. One of them is name fatigue. If you are dropping your resume repeatedly on employers' desks, it may simply be overlooked when an actual job opening is available. In addition, if you may be deemed unfit at a certain point based on the pool of available jobs, you may get overlooked later even if the situation changes.

In short, getting in touch when the circumstances are not fully in your favour can have adverse impact on your potential.

* Research

Half the battle is getting to the right person. So do your research before you pick up the phone or send an email. What you are looking for is the person who has the power to hire or recommend you for hiring. Sending resumes all day long to emails that begin with ''info@'' could prove to be a big waste of time.

These emails are either unmonitored or swamped by junk mail. Try to figure out the structure of the company and find who may be the best contacts and get their exact names and contact information.

If unable to find this information online, you even may call and ask about who heads, for example, the accounting department, sales department, etc. Once you have a name, you should be able to personalise an email or get a direct number to call.

* Goals

Employers advertise job openings almost immediately. So if you're getting in touch when no job that fits your profile has been posted, you must clarify your goal. That can be your hope to be considered when something opens in the future — offering to take up some work on a contractor basis or part-time; etc.

The more specific you are about the purpose of your communication, more likely your offer is going to be considered. In addition, the employer is less likely to get that as a serious proposition.

This goal should, however, be in line with your expectations as well. In other words, don't offer what you won't be able to deliver. If you say that you're open to a part-time position, think of what that means if you combine it with your full-time employment in terms of time and commitment, or the financial impact if you transition to just part-time position.

* Etiquette

Unsolicited communication can backfire quickly. So if you do reach out to a potential employer, be respectful of this person's time. E-mail is typically the best method, but you do run the risk of having your email overlooked or deleted.

That is why it is a good idea to make a brief phone call to demonstrate your interest and, hopefully, get this prospective hiring manager to glance at your email.

Again, be very considerate and brief — yet positive and enthusiastic — when you call. With that in mind, you also should be prepared in case the phone call turns into an instant phone interview. So have your resume ready, be in a quiet place and ensure that you have the time to stay on the phone, if needed.

* Know the pros and cons of cold calling.

* Do research about the company.

* Having a clear proposition.

* Be ready to communicate over the phone.

Find out the 3 crucial steps to take before choosing a career

Source: Rania Oteify, Special to

The writer, a former Gulf News Business Features Editor, is a Seattle-based editor