A Job Search Technique That Eliminates Stress AND Your Competition- Cold Calling

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The frustration and stress you’re feeling in your job search are because the numbers just aren’t in your favor. I’m not saying that to discourage you. What I mean by this is when you apply to jobs posted online—especially on job boards—you’re one of hundreds, and potentially thousands, viewing the opening. It’s easy for hundreds of people to click apply—and the sheer amount of competition is overwhelming. Even if you are the most qualified candidate in the running, it’s still a challenging position to be in.

The great news is you don’t have to rely solely upon job boards for your job search; there are MANY other, better alternatives. I’m sure you’ve heard about the hidden job market to some extent. Over the past few weeks I’ve been giving job seekers a crash course in job search methods using many different alternatives to job boards—such as direct mail and informational interviews.

Today I’m going to discuss how you can position yourself as the right person, at the right time, and without any competition using cold calling in your job search. If you could be the ONLY person applying for the job—or have one created especially for you—wouldn’t you rather be in that position?


We don’t usually think about cold calling when it comes to our job search. We typically segregate that to telemarketers and salespeople. However, cold calling is really just another form of networking. Instead of networking with people you do know, you’re networking with those you don’t know. The best part is that so few job seekers are doing it, you’re likely to be the only person making contact with the decision maker or company—thereby dramatically reducing your competition. There are two different ways you can cold call in your job search; in person and over the telephone.


In-person cold calling can work, but it’s more likely to work with a smaller company than it is a larger corporation that utilizes lots of gatekeepers. If you were targeting a small to medium-sized business, or one at which the owners are present during the workweek, chances are you could walk in and start a conversation. Larger corporations aren’t as easy to get into for face-to-face meetings; they typically have receptionists and HR departments that handle inquiries. Here are some tips if you’re targeting some small to medium-sized companies.

So let’s say you’re calling on a company locally that you’re interested in. Here are a couple of tips:

-Ask for the owner, branch manager, etc. by name. Do your research! Today it’s easy to hop on LinkedIn, Google, or the company website and find a name. At the very least, you can call and ask for the person’s name. When you arrive, ask for the person by name.

-Have your 15- to 30-second elevator speech ready. Make sure it’s relevant to how you can add value to the company. Keep it brief.

-Don’t talk the entire time. Find out what their needs are so that when you follow up later you can address how you intend to meet those needs.

-Make sure that you’re not asking for a job, and frame it in a mutually beneficial light. Companies are looking for good people, and if they don’t have anything available they may know someone who does. You could also use this brief stop to set up an informational interview. You can find out more about those in this article.

-Leave them with a networking card that has a link to your LinkedIn profile and/or your professional website. This way, if they want to learn more about you or pass along your information, they have it.

-Follow up. Don’t forget to send a quick note to thank them for their time and reiterate how you can help meet their needs and add value to their organization. If you picked up on any pain points or needs the company had while you were chatting, be sure to address how you can meet those.

True story: My husband cold called on multiple local organizations while home on leave—nine months BEFORE he was scheduled to separate from active duty military. He went to each company after conducting the proper research on the right person to speak with at each one; he asked for the person by name; spoke to them about his experience; and after leaving, he kept the lines of communication open. Ultimately, he was offered jobs at three of the four places he had cold called on. These offers were made six months before he separated from active duty—while he was stationed overseas. Two of those positions they offered to create just for him. I think that’s a pretty incredible outcome.

The moral of the story … there is hope! You may not be active duty military stationed in another country with a six-month wait before you can return home to start work—but doesn’t that prove against the odds that cold calling can still work, and make an impact. And my husband’s story isn’t the exception to the rule. Over the past year, as I’ve shared more about cold calling as a job search method, I’ve heard from many job seekers about their success using this method too—from having positions created for them to being referred to other companies who needed someone. It’s simply an incredibly effective job search method.


Not everyone is targeting a small to mid-sized company. So what do you do if you can’t really cold call in person, or you’ve tried but the gatekeeper isn’t helping? You cold call on the phone!

Instead of reinventing the wheel, I’m going to refer you to this amazingly on-point article on Forbes.com about cold calling. Robert Hellman hits the ball out of the park with his very specific tips on cold calling over the phone and via e-mail. Here’s a link to that article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2014/04/22/how-cold-calling-can-land-you-a-job/. I highly recommend you read it.

My favorite tips are about how to do the research to get the name, and then writing a great subject line for your e-mail. It’s these little tips that make it much more successful!

The most important point I want you to take away from this article is that you don’t have to feel frustrated and stressed out during your job search; there are alternative ways to search, besides using job boards, that will help you land a position more quickly and easily.

Cold calling is one of those great techniques—and even though it may seem a bit uncomfortable at first, the more you do it, the more comfortable you’ll feel, and the easier it will become. While we’re on the topic of cold calling and networking, let’s connect on LinkedIn! Feel free to send me an invite here.

You can also follow me on Twitter here.

This article is a part of my series, Hope for Your Job Search. This series is about helping relieve job seekers of the stress and frustration often associated with job searching and to show them that there is HOPE for a successful and short job search.

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About the author

Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast

Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.

What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.

You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!

I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!

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