I've Got a Contact Name! Now What?

by Urschel, Harry Thursday, November 19, 2009
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So, you were...Networking, or Searching on LinkedIn, or Running a Google Search, or some other way you got a contact name at a company that you are interested in pursuing!

Terrific! But NOW WHAT? What do you do with that name? Call them? Email them? Send “Snail Mail”? What do you say?

As an introduction, a well planned phone call is ALWAYS more effective than an email or Snail Mail.

When making the introduction...remember to help them see the fit by THEIR criteria, not yours!

Job hunting is a sales process. Treat it that way. Selling is not being pushy, deceptive, or somehow getting someone to buy something they don’t want or need.

Rather it is the process of presenting the VALUE of an item or service to fill a need or want. You’re never going to get someone to hire you if they don’t see how you’re what they need or want in that role. Your objective is to help them connect the dots.

So...when you call...HAVE A SCRIPT!

A couple of points about a script:

- Never use someone else’s script. Take ideas that you like and put them in your own words. You’re never going to sound natural using someone else’s words.

- It’s not recommended that you actually read or memorize a script word for word. However, the process of writing one out will help make you much more focused and articulate than “winging” it.

- NO ONE, not even the most articulate, are as good making stuff up on the fly as they are when they are prepared!

So here are a couple of examples:

If your contact is NOT the hiring manager:

Hi, _____. My name is ____________, I got your name and am hoping you might you might be able to help me navigate within “company name”. I realize it’s the middle of the morning, do you have just a minute, or did I catch you at a bad time?

(Bad Time): I can appreciate that, when would be a better time to catch you? (THEN CALL WHEN THEY SAY!)

(How did you get my name? or This is a good time): I’m very interested in working at “company name”, so I’ve been networking and doing research online to find someone that might be able to help me.

I’m qualified and very interested in the “Accounting” position that’s currently open. I’m assuming you’re not directly involved in that area. However, I’d be very appreciative if you can help me find the best person to talk to about it so I don’t get lost in the process.

(I’m not sure who the best person is; or talk to HR): I can appreciate that, however, since you know the organization better than I do, Is there anything else you would recommend as the best way to get my qualifications noticed from all the other resumes that come in? (LISTEN)

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If your contact IS the hiring manager:

Hi, _______. My name is ______________, I calling regarding the open “Accounting” position. I realize it’s the middle of the morning, do you have just a minute, or did I catch you at a bad time?

(Bad Time): I can appreciate that, when would be a better time to catch you? (THEN CALL WHEN THEY SAY!)

(How did you get my name? or This is a good time): I’m very interested in working at “company name”, so I’ve been networking and doing research online to find the best person to reach.

I believe I’m well qualified for the position due to my success in (relevant experience A and B). I’m sending my resume, however, I’d appreciate getting the opportunity to meet with you in person to discuss my qualifications further. Would tomorrow afternoon or Thursday morning work for you?

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So how do you know what their RELEVANT requirements are?

What business are they in? What does the job description say? What experience do others in the same job there have? What tools or software do they use? Some of those questions may take further research and networking, but you can get great clues from each of those answers.

Also critical are these phone tips:

- Stand, Smile, be upbeat! Your expression comes across on the phone.

- Be direct and to the point. Don’t ramble!

- Speak clearly and at an appropriate volume. Too quiet sounds like a lack of confidence, too loud sounds like nerves.

- NEVER speak ill of a previous boss, company, co-worker, or job.

- Always respect their time. You may be interrupting a meeting; give them an out.