If you’re reading my previous entries, you know our goal is to get the name of a hiring official you will try to make contact with in order to present yourself and your resume, directly. Because without a name your only options is to send your resume into a deep dark rabbit hole to be filed until or if someone takes the time to review yours, along with sometime hundreds of others. I am suggesting another way.
Before you make the call (see previous blog entry), run through what you will say in your mind a couple of times. This is so you sound more natural and your dialogue isn’t clouded with non-word clutter like, “um, uh, and like, you know…yeah…”, remember you want to sound confident, as if you belong; that it’s a routine call, as though you are calling from another office of the same company, or as a current customer or vendor, because if you sound like an outsider, the barriers will go up and you’ll be treated like one.
Be innovative, but there is no need to BS or create an elaborate ruse; you’re not George Costanza, you don’t need to create an Art Vandelay alter ego; it’s not necessary and the more fiction you create, the more friction you may encounter later. If you’ve never done this before don’t sweat it, you’re just a generic voice on the other end of the phone, so unless you say something really silly, the Gate Keeper will forget you five minutes after your call. If you get tripped up or at a loss for words, so what; you can always hang up mid-sentence; calls get dropped all the time, call back when you are ready, having regained your composure. Be polite but don’t overdo it or it will signal to the gate keeper that you don’t belong. I also suggest against using too many wimp words. What do I mean by wimp words – how does this sound to you? “I’d like to ask if you could please, maybe, perhaps, possibly, connect me to the Director of…” Instead, keep it short, direct and professional; very often, perception is reality and you want to sound as if you belong. Be a chameleon, you don’t have to change who you are, just adapt to suit the environment to get in the door.
So let’s role play:
Receptionist: “Good morning, XYZ Corporation, how may I help you?”
You: “Yes, good morning. I need to contact your South East Regional Marketing Manager. Who do I contact?”
Now, there are a variety of questions you might be asked and among them will be your name, no worries, give it.
You: “My name is, first & last name (no titles).”
Receptionist: “And you’re from what company?
Name a company if you want to, but keep it simple and come up with something like two or three letters and, why not, when someone says TRW, IBM, HP, etc. nobody says, “What’s that stand for?”
You: “CGT” (or whatever)
Receptionist: “And what is this concerning.”
You: “It’s a business matter.” (It’s a true statement; potential employment with them is a biz issue)
If you are asked for additional information, beyond this point you’ll have to innovate a bit. In the past, I have insinuated during the exchange that I am pressed for time. I might say I am between meetings (again, a true statement) and I need the info and ask if she can help me and will call him back later. Or, I might speak away from the phone as though I am being called back into a meeting and am hurried. Sometimes this will reduce or stop the inquisition.
Next time, we’ll finish this discussion and address some of the obstacles and hurdles you may encounter.
(Part II will be posted on Thursday)
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