Much has been written about how critical networking is to the job seeker. I don’t dispute that networking is helpful to identify jobs early, even before they are posted, and helpful to warrant a second look by the prospective employer, as I’ve seen many times firsthand as a recruiter. However, networking takes time, and sometimes you can’t wait for a warm introduction. Maybe you have to reach a fast-growing company NOW because they are building up their new location. Maybe your dream company is a start-up with a small team or just the founder so you don’t have a lot of options of people to know. It’s okay and can be very effective to reach out cold to decision-makers. Cold calling is not just for sales anymore, but can be very effective for jobs.
Identify the decision-maker. Unless you are looking for a job in HR, you do not want to cold call recruiters. They are not the ultimate decision-maker, and they get called all the time. So their fuse is short, and they’re not the most direct route anyway. Instead you want to identify the person who would hire for the specific role that you want, most likely the person who would be your boss. So if you want to be a finance manager somewhere, you need to know who runs the finance department.
Approach the decision-maker ideally by email. While I use the term cold “call” to denote this action of contacting someone with whom you have no referral or other introduction, you don’t literally have to call – i.e., use the phone. In fact, I don’t recommend the phone as the first point of contact...
Read the rest of this post in my Work In Progress blog for Forbes.com: http://www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2012/05/14/cold-calling-for-jobs-not-just-sales/