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Is It Better to Use Email or Phone to Reach Potential Employers?

By Gerald Walsh ©

Most job seekers have a list of organizations they might like to work for. Ideally, you have a personal connection in those organizations—someone who can “open the door” for you.

But often you do not know anybody who works there, so you must take it upon yourself to make the contact.

How should that contact be made? By phone or by email?

Most job seekers rely on email as their preferred way of connecting with potential employers. The problem is: it is not very effective.

That is because most managers are overwhelmed by emails and only have time to respond to urgent ones. There are people who literally have thousands of unread emails in their inbox which means there is a good chance your email will not be read.

Here is what I think you should try. Drop the idea of using email and pick up the phone. Yes, the good old-fashioned phone!

Now, I understand that making telephone calls to a potential employer is one of the most difficult things for any job seeker to do. This is especially true for those of you not accustomed to using the phone to sell things.

But think of it this way: the telephone is a great way to establish a personal connection even if you end up leaving a voice mail. That’s because the person on the other end gets an immediate impression of you from your phone manner and tone of your voice.

And since most people are afraid of using the phone, the fact that you are doing so demonstrates a degree of confidence that others may not have. This quality will not go unnoticed by the employer.

Do some basic research on the company—such as figuring out what its key challenges and issues are—and prepare some key talking points, without coming across as too scripted of course.

Try to find a location for the call that is private, quiet, and free from distracting background noises. Music or traffic will come across as unprofessional.

Lastly, maintain a record of the calls you make including date, person you contacted, summary of what was said, and next step. You do not want to overlook a key follow-up date or activity. And always follow-up the call with an email (yes – an email is fine here!) thanking the person for their time.


Gerald Walsh is an executive recruiter, career coach, public speaker and author. During a 30 year career, he has interviewed more than 10,000 job candidates, completed hundreds of successful searches for a range of organizations and guided many individuals – from young professionals to senior executives – to successful career change. He is the author of “PINNACLE: How to Land the Right Job and Find Fulfillment in Your Career.” You can follow Gerry on Twitter @Gerald_Walsh and LinkedIn.