How To Write A Great CV or Résumé
Courtesy of www.hark.net.au - guidance and direction
Section 4 - Cold Calling
Ways to make enquiries
Sometimes if you want to get ahead of the game, you have to make your own opportunities. Not all jobs are advertised - some positions are filled before they have even become vacant.
How do people know about these jobs?
How do they get to be considered?
Some times, it is a case of Who you know rather than What or maybe just being in the right place at the right time. However, you can also make an opportunity for yourself too.
By writing to a prospective employer, you may find that you were in the right place at the right time. You may also impress them enough with your abilities that they either keep your application on file or maybe even hire you anyway because they can see that you will enhance their business.
Choosing A Prospect
Larger businesses tend to have a regular turnover in staff, so there is more likelihood of job opportunities coming up. However, they may also have specific job agencies that they deal with, and so may refer your requests on. They will usually have a human resources or personnel department, so making an initial contact with that department can at least ellicit information about how best to approach them for job applications.
Small businesses may have fewer opportunities generally, but with owner operated businesses, you have a bigger chance of reaching the person making the business decisions. A small business owner could look at what you have to offer and decide that you can help them "increase their sales" or replace casual or temporary workers. Therefore, there is scope (if you pitch your sales right) for you to make an opportunity where none had been advertised.
Online businesses raise some different issues. Many businesses that you find via the internet may be physically based businesses that just have a web site to advertise their presence - for example an engineering firm or a hairdresser. However, there are many businesses that trade solely online - search engine, software companies, advisor sites etc. In these instances, you will need to search through the information on the web site to find an appropriate contact to approach regarding employment. It is not always easy to tell which are the small, one person businesses and which are large scale operations, so spend time and try to find the right initial contact point.
Presenting Your Credentials
There are many ways to enquire about job opportunities. You can phone, write or email a particular business and simply ask if they have any job vacancies.
If there is - great - they will probably send you some details and an application form.
If there isn't anything going at that time, then you will probably just get the answer NO. Simple, but it doesn't get you any further.
But - what if - you worded your enquiry in a way that had them want to hang on to your contact details, because although there wasn't an opportunity available right now, there may be in the future. If you make the right initial impression, then they are likely to think of you as worthy of further consideration when they do have need of someone with your skills. When that time comes, then at least you will get to know about it and you've already increased your employment prospects.
Or - what if - you worded your enquiry in a way that had them want to hire you anyway, because even though they weren't actively looking for extra staff, they see a benefit in employing you. For example, you might have just the skills that will allow them to replace casual or expensive contracted-in labour.
If you want to maximise your chance of getting a job, then you also need to approach job enquiries with the same level of professionalism as you would when making any type of job application.
Generally it is best to keep it brief, introduce yourself, state what type of employment you are enquiring about and make sure that you include complete contact information. When applying in writing, it would also be polite to include a stamped, self-addressed envelope - which would also help to ensure that you get a response.
Particularly important is the information in the previous section on Hidden Messages and Value Adding Your Words. Remember, the business you are approaching has not advertised and therefore you need to give them a reason to want to communicate further with you.
get out of a
effort that you
put in to it.
Make it count!
Take your opening summary from your prepared CV or Résumé and distill the information down to 2 or 3 sentences. The aim is to sum up who you are and what you are particularly good at, in a way that is relevant to the business you are approaching.
It is the briefest of outlines, but should quickly give the person reading it an idea about who you are and what you have to offer. You can always include a copy of your CV or Résumé for reference, but your letter of introduction should be reasonably concise. (Don't you just hate those marketing style letters that go on and on before they get to the point of what it is they're selling? Well, I've usually trashed them before then - as being a waste of my time!)
Following are two real examples of job enquiries, which should give you an idea about what works and what doesn't. In each case the person is enquiring about a position as a psychic reader for a web site which sells readings to clients via the internet.
Although these enquiries were made via email - the same principles apply as if they were made via any other means.
These two examples also illustrate that what you get out of your job enquiry, reflects the amount of effort that you put in to it in the first place.
Just because email is generally more informal, don't think that you can be relaxed or informal about your approach to job applications.
Get out your local business telephone directory and look through it for businesses that are in your main area of expertise. Alternatively, you can search on the internet and select businesses that you find online that you think may be in the market for your services.
Now, write a concise introduction of yourself that would be relevant to the particular businesses that you have chosen.
Remember the previous exercise on "value adding" your words and make sure that you are projecting positive messages.
Now all that you need to do is add your contact details and an appropriate salutation and you have a letter of introduction ready to send out to prospective employers!