May 20, 2018

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Instead of sending out resumes and waiting for the phone to ring, wouldn't it be nice if you could be the one making the calls and scheduling the interviews?

Well, you can.

The two people you're about to meet did. They got job interviews using little more than their phones and some creativity.

Can you, too?

  1. The Coffee Cup Caper

    Janet FritzHuspen from St. Paul, Minnesota, landed an interview after mailing a coffee cup to a local firm, then calling them to follow up.

    Mailing a what?

    "I got the idea for sending a coffee cup to employers from David Perry, the author of Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters," says FritzHuspen.

    FritzHuspen found the job advertised online, then sent a box with a travel coffee mug, her resume and a cover letter. Her letter said, "I would like to meet you over coffee to discuss how I can benefit the ABC Corporation as your director."

    "I sent the box via FedEx Ground, so I could track and know when they signed for it. I waited about 20 minutes after it had arrived. Then, I called and said, ‘Hi. You just got my package!' and I went from there," she says.

    FritzHuspen has sent three cups-in-a-box in the last two weeks. "I called and spoke with somebody at all three employers, and had a conversation with one hiring manager that resulted in an interview."

    Now, here are four tips to make this "coffee cup caper" work for you:

    • Find names and phone numbers of hiring managers on Google. If you can't get a name, call and ask the company receptionist. That's what Janet did. She then referred to that receptionist in her cover letter, to drop a name and establish rapport. Smart.

    • If her interview doesn't turn into a job offer, Janet can parlay her contacts into referrals at other employers. All she has to do is ask the hiring manager and receptionist, both of whom have favorable opinions of her.

    • You can save money if you use FedEx Ground or similar service from UPS. Speed is less important than real-time delivery confirmation -- you want to call recipients right after they open your package. This makes an incredible first impression!

    • You can buy travel coffee mugs for under $5 at any good-sized store. Don't over-spend on this, but don't send cheapies, either.
  2. Cold Calling

    Gilbert Fonseca from Pharr, Texas, got hired for an insurance sales position very quickly after doing something very simple and direct: He called an employer that was expanding, introduced himself, and asked for an interview.

    Imagine that.

    Through research, Fonseca learned his target employer was expanding. A call to company headquarters produced the name and number of the local hiring manager.

    "I just called the hiring manager and introduced myself. He wasn't too keen about my call, but I did what any job seeker should do -- I sold myself," says Fonseca.

    Here's what he said: "Good afternoon Mr. X, my name is Gilbert Fonseca, I live in Pharr, and I heard that you're coming to our area. I wanted to introduce myself and explain how I know about you -- I worked for one of your competitors in the past."

    At this point, the hiring manager pushed back and asked what the call was about. But Fonseca pressed on.

    "I know how your products work and I have a big book of business I could bring with me," said Fonseca. This got the manager's attention -- who wouldn't want to hire someone who brings his own customers?

    "That's pretty much where the conversation ended," said Fonseca, who got the names of other hiring managers and was told to call them.

    No interviews resulted, so Fonseca pursued other leads. But two weeks later he got a call. "The hiring manager said that things had changed and I was asked to come in. I interviewed on Tuesday and had the job on Wednesday," he says.

Here are four things to keep in mind as you "cold call" for interviews:

  1. This can work in any field. Just tell employers -- specifically -- what good things you've done before and can do again. Example: "I've saved/made more than $110,000 a year the last three years and can do the same for you." Do your homework and assign a dollar value to the time you've saved or money you've earned.

  2. Follow a script. Although Fonseca didn't, it can ease your nerves to read from a piece of paper. Be sure to practice until the words flow smoothly.

  3. The worst that can happen when you call employers is … they say no. Nobody dies or goes to jail. But you may land a job interview. All you have to do is ask.

  4. When in doubt, test it out. Pick five companies you have no desire to work for, call, and practice your script on them. (If you get offered an interview, call back later to cancel.) Then, when you're confident, phone the employers on your "A" list.

- Kevin Donlin

Kevin Donlin is contributing co-author of "Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 2.0." Since 1996, he has provided job-search help to more than 20,000 people. For a free glimpse, visit Guerrilla Job Search System DVD.

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