Contact Employers Directly

In my ongoing series of interviews with job search experts, I tracked down Marky Stein, a career coach in San Jose, Calif., who’s perfected a strikingly innovative approach to finding a job fast – in any economy.


She’s the author of "Fearless Interviewing: What to Do Before, During and After an Interview" ( Press, 2001). Her Web site is


I questioned Marky to get her very best tips to help you access the “hidden job market,” where upwards of 70% of all jobs are filled. Here’s our conversation …



Kevin: “Let’s cut to the chase — what’s the very best way people can uncover and apply for job openings right now, in this time of economic uncertainty?”


Marky: “Study after study and my own 10+ years of experience have proven that, hands down, cold calling employers is superior to all other methods.


“Now, before your readers say, ‘Yuck! I don’t want to cold call anyone – I’m not a sales person,’ read the following facts.


“The firm JIST Works, in Philadelphia, trained 1,000 job seekers in cold calling during the last recession, in 1990. These 1,000 people were trained to devote 25 hours per week to their job search and cold call employers to ask for a face-to-face meeting. As a result, 66% of them were employed within 2.3 weeks and 90% of the rest were employed within 90 days.


“In my own study, from 1992 to 1998, I trained over 700 disabled job seekers to spend at least 17.5 hours per week cold calling employers. Of those I counseled during those six years, 90% found jobs within 90 days.



Kevin: “OK. So what is cold calling? How is it done?”


Marky: “It’s simply direct contact to set up an interview. And it works for anyone, from entry-level job seekers to CEOs.


“To succeed, you must stop seeing yourself as a job seeker and think of yourself instead as a business person making a proposal. Instead of thinking ‘Please give me a job,’ think, ‘Here are all the good things I can do for you.’”



Kevin: “Who, specifically, should job seekers try to get on the phone?”


Marky: “Try to connect with a decision maker above your future boss. This is important.


“The person directly above you may, and often is, threatened by such a call. They may figure, “If this person is so assertive NOW, they may be after MY job in the future”.


“Also, a more senior person, such as your potential boss’ boss, has a more expansive view of the kinds of changes that could result in a new job being created or in someone being replaced.


“Third, executives often enjoy mentoring junior people, and those with a generous character can do wonders for job seekers, even if that means referring you to someone DOWN the ladder. If you get such a referral from an executive, other members of the team are likely to be open to meeting with you.”



Kevin: “Is there a script job seekers should use?”


Marky: “Yes, you can use the following example script to get started:


“Hello, my name is _________. I have _______ years’ experience as a ____________, specializing in _____________, ____________, and ______________. I have a (B.A., M.S., certificate) in _______________ and I recently completed (name a recent successful project with a measurable result). When may I come for an interview?"



Kevin: “What can job seekers expect when they start calling employers?”


Marky: “Cold calling has about 1 in 20 success ratio, in general. Of course, 19 ‘Nos’ on the phone may hurt more than 1,000 rejection letters, but you’ll hear it less often. Just make those calls until you connect!”



Action Step: Cold calling can dramatically shorten your job search, by putting you in direct contact with employers who can hire you. You’ll have no competition, because 99% of job seekers would rather answer classified ads and complain about the economy than be assertive and proactive.

Compliments of David E Perry and Kevin Donlin. For more creative job search tactics, go to the Guerrilla Marketing for job hunters blog and download the free audio CD.

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