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  • Writer's pictureMatthew Coppola

How To Cold Canvass Prospective Employers

Person in a job that they secured informally
Not all jobs will be advertised in the public online domain

There are plenty of jobs out there that are available but not publicly advertised on popular online job sites.

Some estimates say that more than half of open positions will be closed by informal means, which is why many job opportunities never reach the advertising stage.

We call this the "hidden job market" - jobs available through networking or cold calling. However, these techniques are among the most effective way of finding a job, and planning and practice will increase your confidence.

Finding the job that you want to do takes time and perseverance. You'll want to take the time to do your research and determine who you want to work for and what you want to do.

You'll want to consider:

  • Where is the industry or job type geographically located? Would you have to relocate to work in this area?

  • Is this industry growing or shrinking? Is this a high-demand occupation, or are unemployment rates high?

  • Which companies are the primary "players" in the industry?

  • Is a professional association representing this industry or this group of workers?

  • Are there related occupations that face skill shortages?

  • Are formal qualifications required to work in this industry or profession?

  • Where will you find these types of jobs? Only in large corporations, or in small businesses as well?

  • Are these types of vacancies generally filled by recruitment agencies or directly by the companies?

Research the companies

Find out everything you can about the organisations you want to work for: their product lines, competitors, prices, growth prospects, organisational structure, and employment policies. You can find this information in places like:

  • annual reports;

  • customer newsletters;

  • trade magazines;

  • product brochures and catalogues;

  • sales representatives.

List personal contacts

Use your contacts to explore opportunities and gather more information. Asking outright for a job can put a connection in an embarrassing position. Instead, it's more appropriate to ask them for their advice: "John, I'm interested in moving into the publishing industry — do you know anyone I should be talking to?".

Ask for the job

Know the name and title of the person who has the power to hire you. Rehearse your opening line, including demonstrating your knowledge of and specific interest in that company. Mention how you can benefit the company.


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