Four Methods for Contacting Employers
1. Personal Contacts
Every day, you meet new people or come in contact with old acquaintances and friends. The purpose of utilizing personal contacts in your job search is two-fold.
First, as you are talking with different people throughout the day and week, casually bring up in the flow of conversation your current situation (e.g. exploring or looking for work in a particular type of area or areas) and inquire whether they know of any opportunities.
If they do not know of any opportunities, the second thing you will want to do is then ask them if they know of anyone who might. Possibly either a relative or a friend of theirs might be in a capacity to assist you.
If they do have a name, make sure you ask them for the correct spelling of the name and if they know the title of the person working at the organization. Then ask your contact if its alright for you to use their name in contacting the person by letter or email.
It is important when you use personal contacts that you do not use them as ends in and of themselves.
Be sure that you do not focus exclusively on your current employment situation and how you are interested in having them help you out. Rather, bring up your current employment situation in the flow of conversation so that they do not feel that you are using them.
Mr. Richard Lathrop, Director of the National Center for Job Market Studies in Washington, D.C., indicates that one person in two, or 50% of all job seekers find employment through personal contacts.
Many times employers will rely on solid referrals from their acquaintances for openings within their organization. Consequently, this approach to looking for work cannot be understated.
Establish a different personal contact at least once a day with either a new individual or someone you know. All it takes is literally a matter of seconds to bring it up in the flow of conversation, and the results could be significant.
Take the initiative and do not hesitate.
2. Cold Turkey Contacts
A cold turkey contact is where you send a cover letter and resume to an employer applying for a position that you know is open, or applying for one that is not.
In order to use this method effectively, it is helpful for you to be aware of the resources that give you contact information.
Mr. Richard Lathrop indicates that one person in four, or 25% of job seekers obtain employment through this method.
If a particular employer cannot get a good candidate through personal contacts, one of the next steps they use is to consult the resumes that they have been sent.
Therefore, this is another effective method for looking for work. Combining these first two methods, 75% of all job seekers find work.
You may want to consider sending out two to three letters a week like this over the length of your job search process.
3. Career Information
The purpose of a career information interview is for you to gain specific information about a particular career area that you might have an interest in pursuing as work.
The purpose is not to have an employment interview. Rather, your intent is to contact a local professional who is currently employed in an occupational area in which you have an interest, and request a brief meeting (20 minutes to 30 minutes) in which you can ask him/her questions about his/ her professional area.
The benefits of conducting career information interviews are threefold.
First, you gain valuable information and knowledge about a particular career area for which you may later interview.
Second, you gain more confidence in your own ability to be able to pursue that type of work based on this new knowledge.
Third, you are establishing more personal contacts.
After your appointment with this professional, you will want to send a follow-up thank-you note expressing your appreciation for the time that the person has spent with you.
When conducting a career information interview you will want to be prompt, dressed professionally, and have prepared insightful questions so that you can make the most positive impression possible.
If this person is quite impressed with you, and if they have a current opening, it might lead to either a job interview or offer. But, this is not the intent of this type of interview.
4. The Passive Approach
The first three methods discussed stress your active approach to looking for work.
You are the one who is out establishing personal contacts, writing letters to employers, and gaining valuable information about career areas that you might want to pursue. A majority of people employed have found it through these methods.
The fourth approach is an approach not to be depended upon because typically you do not have control over these results.
This fourth approach, called the Passive Approach is a method in which you rely on openings that already exist and that are published in sources like wanted ads in a newspaper, placement bulletins published by colleges and universities, employment agencies, as well as professional publications which also sometimes list job openings.
You will by all means want to use these resources, but the key is not to depend on only this approach.
Typically only 15% of the jobs that exist ever appear through these avenues. When they do appear, there is significant competition for the position, because many other people will apply also.