By Gerald Walsh ©
Last week, we spoke about the value of building personal connections—people who can help “open the door” for you.
But let’s say you are new to a community and do not have a long list of personal connections to give you introductions to potential employers. In that case, you are going to have to take it upon yourself to make those contacts.
The question is: how should that contact be made? By phone or by email?
Not surprisingly, most job seekers rely on email as their preferred way of connecting with potential employers. The problem is: it’s not very effective. That’s because most managers are overwhelmed by emails every day and only have time to respond to the most urgent ones.
There are people who have thousands of unread emails in their inbox right now. That means there is a good chance your email will not even be read.
Here’s what I think you should do. 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 can be a daunting task for any job seeker—especially if you are not comfortable using the phone to connect with people.
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—because the person on the other end gets an immediate impression of you from your voice and telephone manner.
And since most people are afraid of using the phone, the fact that you are doing so demonstrates a degree of confidence that others might not have.
To make the most of your call, do some basic research about the company including finding out about its key challenges and issues. Then, without sounding too scripted, write down the key points you want to make in the order you want to make them.
And always prepare a good opening that should include something like, “Is this a convenient time to speak?”
When making the call, find a location that is private, quiet, and free from distracting background noises. Screeching kids, music or traffic will come across as unprofessional.
And give thought to which type of phone you use. A landline usually has better call quality than a mobile phone.
Lastly, maintain a record of all the calls you make including date, your contact person’s name, a summary of what was said, and next steps. You don’t 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.
If you are looking for tips on how to use the telephone effectively in your job search and everyday life, you will find great resources at www.thephonelady.com.
To share your thoughts on this blog post, please write me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Gerald Walsh is an executive recruiter, career coach, public speaker and author. 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