I remember a little bit distinctly the first time I sat down to call companies, and I was very nervous. I decided to call five companies in a row without stopping so I could capitalize on the adrenalin rush.
Yes, I had an adrenaline rush just by thinking that I was going to call random people, which I am sure most of us will.
I was so scared as if the person (on the other end of the line) was going to put down the phone, somehow trace my call back to find out where I lived and then come down to my house in the middle of the night to beat the crap out of me with a baseball bat. (This was far from reality).
Not only none of this ever happened, but nobody even ever hung up on me. I found most people to be helpful, which gave me more confidence to call and request information when needed.
But, I never really understood my initial fear of calling until recently when I was speaking to an acquaintance of mine. I realized the reason why most people are afraid of picking up the phone is that they don’t know what they are going to say.
This was another reason why I didn’t hesitate to call people because after a constant hit and trial, and I learned what to say and what to avoid exactly.
So, in this post, I will be sharing things that I learned over the years; what worked for me and what didn’t.
My biggest mistake was calling random companies and expressing myself to speak with whoever the receptionists thought would be the right person for me.
But receptionists are already busy multi-tasking and have no reason to try and take out time to think about the most suited person for you to speak with.
The great way is to gather information on your own first through whichever means possible such as google, company website, whirlpool and other resources, as I have discussed in the previous posts.
For illustration purposes, let’s explore LinkedIn a bit more in detail.
I Am Assuming You Have A LinkedIn Account
With Linkedin, you need the right contacts to find information. Add your existing contacts so you can have a little network, to begin with. You can import your contacts from your email accounts such as Gmail, Yahoo, etc. to combine as various people as possible.
This expands your current network, and you can always keep on expanding it even further as your connections increase.
Now let’s say you were trying to call Schneider Electric.
Go to the top search bar and type in the company name. Then from the search results, go into the company page, and on the right-hand side, you will see a list of employees. Clicking on “show all” will display the name of anyone who has ever been associated with the company.
If somebody used to work for the company, their current employer name would also be displayed.
This helps you in 2 ways:
– You get to know about newer companies or related ones
– And you can get a common person related to both Schneider electric and the new company you just found. (Whether or not you can contact this person, depends on the type of connection. I will explain this in a minute).
You can further narrow your search by using the options on the left-hand side. You can sort people by locations and industries or sectors. If you can’t find HR in the list of appearing industries, click on the little “add button” at the end of the list and write “Human resources.” This will shorten the potential list for you.
Types of connections
Now, Linkedin gets a bit tricky at times, and you will need to be creative.
Linked shows you every person in terms of 1st connection, 2nd connection and 3rd connection.
1st connection – people who are already added in your profile and whom you can contact directly.
2nd connection – people who you might be able to contact since someone in your profile has them as direct contact.
3rd connection – people who aren’t connected to you in any way and to see their profile and even their names (sometimes), you will need to upgrade to a premium account.
Although, if you could find the name of anyone in HR, irrespective of their location, you can still call them to get the name of the person in your own area.
E.g., If you found the name of an HR representative in South Australia, you can always call that person and ask them or their secretaries to direct you to an appropriate person in your area.
This is a good technique since you are giving the person on the other end of the line an easy way out of the call as they are directing you to someone in your own area. Now when you do call the person in your own area, you can always say that an HR representative in their company directed you to them. This gives you a bit more credibility and a lot more success.
You can also google the person’s name to find out a direct line if possible or search through the company site to see if the name pops up somewhere. Be creative!
Do thorough company research and find out about their past or existing projects and other interesting facts.
Let’s Call Them
This part is fairly simple, but you need to do some additional work before you start calling.
You should have two distinct scripts ready to go – one for the receptionists or doorkeepers and second for the person you intend on speaking with.
You: Hi Cathy (with a big smile on your face and enthusiasm in your voice), I hope you are having a good day or Thursday. My name is Nishant Kaushish, and I was hoping you would be able to help me. I am looking to speak with Ms. Robinson.
Cathy: Why or what was this in regards to.
You: I am an engineering student and have always wanted to work with Schneider electric, although I never had the courage to call to ask if there might be any internships or work placements available.
You: I am an engineering student and have been a big fan of Schneider electric and the power saving projects they have been involved with. Although I never had the courage to call to ask if there might be an internship or work experience positions available.
You: As an engineering student, I have been very keen to work with Schneider Electric to learn more about the industry. So, I was hoping if I could ask her a few quick questions in this regard. (Short and Sweet).
You: I am an engineering student and have been a big fan of Schneider electric and the XYZ stuff they have been involved with. Although I never had the courage to call to inquire about internship or work experience positions, I was hoping to ask a few questions in this regard.
You: I am an engineering student, and I’m “very keen” (stress on the two words or you can even say “very, very keen”) to work with Schneider electric. I was hoping to email her my resume directly, so I don’t disturb her. (This is only if you are trying to get the email address of the person you are trying to reach)
Make your own reason along the lines of the above-mentioned statements.
NOTE: Please have a legitimate reason for the receptionists and be courteous with them. Everyone loves a polite person who is genuinely looking for help. If you aren’t able to get past them, ask questions to gather information such as the contact details of the HR manager, what times are best to reach him/her, any positions that they may know about, etc. However, keep it brief since they are already much occupied and may not have time to answer your questions.
If someone brushes you off completely (which will rarely happen), don’t be disheartened. Imagine what you would do if you were in their shoes and under so much pressure (probably hang up the phone as soon as you realize it’s none important on the other end).
For the HR Manager/Another Employee
You: Hello, Ms. Robinson, My name is Nishant Kaushish. I am a current civil engineering student.
(Now mention something interesting or unique or something that shows that you took the initiative to research the company)
You: I have been closely following Schneider Electric through all the projects that it has undertaken in the XYZ field, and I would love to learn from such complex projects. If I have caught you at a good time, I was hoping to ask a few questions in this regard.
You: The current ABC technology that you have used in your projects is very exciting since it provides QPR benefits and would be a huge learning opportunity for a student like me. Would you mind if I ask you a few quick questions in this regard?
Have your list of questions already prepared, depending on what the purpose of your call is. You should write out the whole conversation on the basis of the possible responses from the other person beforehand. The following are a few examples, but the list is endless with your creative thinking.
ü Does Schneider electric generally offer internship/graduate positions
ü When do you hire (only ask this if they say no to the first question)
ü Which departments/sectors do you provide these in
ü Any special requirements in terms of a candidate’s eligibility (like academic achievements or other minimum grade requirements)
ü What qualities/attributes do you look for
ü Add any other good but quick questions that you may want to ask to explore more about the employer
NOTE: I didn’t ask, “Do you have an internship available,” actually, I didn’t ask that at all. Why? Because you need to know what they are searching for first so you can then present yourself as the best candidate and get time to think about answers for their potential rejections. After knowing what they are looking for, you can then explain how you suit every criterion they have:
You: hmm, thank you for answering those questions. I understand completely. I should mention that I have been part of the XYZ project at the university and have acquired the “ABC skills” (mention these in accordance with the responses you received to your earlier asked questions). I also have …….
(Keep it short, though. No more than 3-4 lines).
Then you can say:
You: I believe I will be able to learn from and contribute a lot to Schneider electric. I am therefore hoping to meet you in person to discuss this further. What time would be ideal for you?
Which sector do you believe my skills would be best suited for within Schneider electric?
Once they mention a sector, ask them the same thing; you would like to meet them in person to further discuss this since you can learn a lot from them and will help to contribute even further.
If the person says “no” or rejects you at any point, you can ask them if you can stay in touch for any future opportunities or if they would have any reservations against you emailing them your resume for the future (Get their email and possibly a direct phone number).
One of my favorite people has a theory which I religiously follow – If I fail more than you do, I win.
It took me a while to learn all that I have shared with you, which will give you a head start in your own endeavors.