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Submitted by Dani Martin on


Hi MT'ers! I'd appreciate any advice on this situation. My question is would you ever "cold-call" someone who works at a company you would love to work for but doesn't have any job openings (that you're aware of) in your area of expertise?

Here's some background... I have recently discovered an organization I would love to work for. However, on their website there aren't any openings listed in my area. They do, however, provide a complete staff listing with the ability to contact anyone individually. I found the person who works in the department I'm interested in and covers the geographica area where I live.

Would it be inappropriate to send him an email introducing myself and expressing my enthusiasm about working for the organization an attempt to build a relationship from there?

Thanks so much for your input!

HMac's picture

Contact them? ABSOLUTELY!

About A Job? NO!

Hi Dani - here's my two cents:

I think it's a great idea to contact any company you have a genuine interest in. And I'm a believer in doing it by phone - so they can hear your enthusiasm - to be followed by email.

But if you narrow the focus of your call too much - "Do you have a job for me?" - you're asking for a very brief call ("No we don't, thanks for calling" - or "Why don't you call HR?"). So you ought to broaden your line of inquiry a bit - to get into a conversation, to learn about potential opportunities...

Here's an alternative approach:

You're callling because you're interested in their company, and based on what you know about them, your background (M-T accomplishments from your M-T resume!) might make you a fit. And you're calling to learn more about "whether there might be a fit."

Who could argue with that? You've complimented them by stating your interest; you're showing professionalism by knowing your accomplishments, and you're calling to see if your background can help them.

One other minor tweak: don't be enthusiastic about their organization - be enthusiastic about how your background might be able to help them. That's a more "knowledgeable" form of enthusiasm!

Call a couple of people - you'll find ones who are flattered and want to help you.

Good luck!

mjpeterson's picture

I would echo Hmac. Call, don't email. Make sure you talk to them, sending an email is unlikely to get a response. Even if they intend respond if your email shows up on a busy day or busy week, it might never surface again.

If they are in your area, see if you can by them lunch. If you impress them enough, they may start looking at ways to bring you in even if they don't actually have an opening.

Echoing Hmac & Mark H; enthusiasm is key. When in doubt I always want to hire the most enthusiastic person. Skills are easy to teach. Enthusiasm and attitude are tough.

asteriskrntt1's picture

Most people who know anything about job search talk about the hidden market.... the large percentage of jobs that are never advertised for a variety of reasons, including not wanting an incumbent to know he or she is getting a promotion or axed.

Dani, what you are trying to do is establish a relationship and obtain an informational interview. Informational interviews often turn into a real interview (so be on your A game) or a referral.

Call them. Add them to LinkedIn, build that relationship. And good luck!


Dani Martin's picture
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Hugh, mjpete and *RNTT --
Thank you for the advice. Here's what I'm planning to do...

The organization I'm interested in is a non-profit so I'm going to call the person and ask him if there's anything I can to help/get involved/volunteer and see where it goes from there.

What do you think?

Thank you!

Dani Martin's picture
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What a great call!!!!!! I just got off the phone with the person I cold-called and it was fabulous! We talked for 45 minutes and about half way into it, without me initiating, he asked me to send him my resume!

I was very nervous as I dialed the phone... what would I say? what would he think? I'm so glad I overcame my fear and did it.

Thank you all for the advice... you were right on... a call was definitely the way to go and got me results that I'm sure no email would ever have.


PS - I already wrote the thank you note, too! :)

HMac's picture

Go Go Go!!!

Now see if you can find a couple of more organizations to do the same thing with, because "when you're hot, you're hot..."



asteriskrntt1's picture

Nicely done, Dani

And thanks for the reminder - I am behind on a few Thank You notes.

I set a goal of three per week. Thank you Dollar Store!


bug_girl's picture

Perfect! With Non-profits, volunteering is the way in to a permanent job.
This is especially true in high profile groups like the Nature Conservancy, etc..

I'm coming in late, but I figured a little extra validation for you would be nice :D