When you are looking for a job, it’s tempting to give out as many resumes as you can. This is known as cold canvassing and sometimes it can pay off, particularly if you catch an employer just as someone has resigned or when they have urgent positions to fill.
However, by applying a more strategic approach to cold canvassing you are likely to get better results and save yourself a lot of wasted effort. Here’s how:
Step 1 – Do your research
Start by exploring exactly which companies you would like to work for. By researching future employers you can check if their goals align with yours and find out if you have the skills and attributes they value in employees. What do they do and what can you offer?
Your research should include finding out how to best submit your application. Calling the company directly is often the most efficient approach and offers you the chance to make a good first impression.
The trick is to be prepared before you make that first phone call. Make sure you sound professional and enthusiastic – writing and rehearsing a well-thought out script beforehand can help with this. Find out the full name and contact details of the person in charge of recruitment and follow up in the next few days. Remember to keep a record of your contacts for future reference.
Step 2 – Follow Through
If you are asked to drop off your resume in person, dress and act professionally. Remember to treat everyone in the office with respect – they could be your future boss or colleague! Bring along a tailored cover letter highlighting your skills and why you want to work for that company, just in case you don’t get to meet with the hiring manager.
If they ask you to send an email, make sure you include a succinct and tailored cover letter in the body of the email. Then attach your resume as a pdf file so it is easy for the employer to open. Make sure to reference your earlier contact and thank them for their time.
Via an online application
If asked to submit an online application, follow the instructions carefully and attach your resume as a pdf.
Step 3 – Follow up
After submitting your resume, follow up your application with a phone call. This shows your enthusiasm and commitment to working with them. Make sure to thank your contact for their time and any information or assistance they provided.
Remember, sometimes there simply might not be any positions available at this time. If this is the case, ask if it would be OK to touch base occasionally. That way you can stay on their radar when opportunities do arise, or at least discover how they normally recruit and what type of work might become available in the future.
Don’t forget, up to 80 per cent of jobs are never advertised. Cold canvassing is one way to crack the hidden job market and kick-start your future career!