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JOB SEARCH: Cold Calling Tips

Written by A. Woelk-Webb, Employment Specialist with Next-Steps Employment Centre – Dundas-Dixie

cold call phoneCold Calling can be a very effective tool when done right during the job search process.  It is referred to as a “cold” call as you do not know the person you are contacting.  If you are referred to someone through a mutual contact, this is often referred to as a “warm” call.  The purpose of the call is to introduce yourself, make a contact within the organization, and learn if there are any available opportunities.

Follow these tips to make sure your next cold calling experience is a successful one!

Research companies you want to call

Write down contact information, contact person if possible, and any additional information about the organization. Prepare a list of companies, and complete your calls back-to-back. If you make several calls in a row, you will start to feel more comfortable with what to say and sound more confident.  To learn more about how to effectively research companies read our post “Using the Scott’s Online Directory to Research Employers“, or “How to Research Companies when Preparing to Start your Job Search“.

Be aware of your surroundings

Call from a quiet space; no distractions and outside noise to compete with your call and attention.

Be prepared

Have a pen and paper ready to take notes.  Have your notes at eye level to easily access and to maintain upright posture. Stooping and hunching over to read will affect your speech and reduce your power of delivery. For more tips on how to prepare yourself, read “How to Prepare for Cold Calling“.

Smile when you call

There is no visual so your tone of voice matters more. Introduce yourself and ask the name of the listener. Use it. Request a transfer to the appropriate person, by name if you know it.

Take your time with your pitch

Pace yourself so your words and reason for your call are clear to the listener. Nothing deflates your enthusiasm more effectively than having to repeat what you just said because you spoke too quickly and not to the point.  Prepare your pitch ahead of time using the tips outlined in our recent post “30 Second Elevator Speech“.

Prepare for interruptions

Be prepared for questions and to be told you have to apply online.  Make it clear (politely) that you have applied online (if there is a job posting) and that you respect the company procedure.  But that you consider in-person meetings important to determine fit in their workplace culture and to gain a better understanding of the company’s current needs.

Be ready for success

In other words, you have prepared your resume, put together a list of references, dressed professionally and cleared your schedule so you can commute to the employer’s site for an immediate job interview or informal meeting if requested.


If you were unsuccessful with your call because you made mistakes or the listener prevented you from reaching the person you wished to contact, try your call another day at another time.  Response will vary depending on who’s listening and your own confidence level.  Cold calling takes time and needs patience, so don’t give up.

If the company is not hiring

If the listener says they aren’t hiring, ask if they have any advice for you.  They may know of other companies that are hiring or give you a lead in the form of a contact name. This could also be a good opportunity to ask for an Informational Interview.







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