by Rebecca Boorstin
In the job and internship field, one difficulty among many (many) that college students face is the desire to distinguish oneself in the so called “real world” whether it’s deciding what subject to major in, which extracurricular activities to engage in, or deciding whether your LinkedIn profile picture is on par. It’s terrifying to imagine your electronically sent resume being lost among the many (MANY) applications that companies receive daily, and remaining undesired, unimportant, and unemployed.
As Woody Allen said, “Eighty percent of success is just showing up.” The problem is, there are such few opportunities to show up. But because there are only so few ways one can show interest in this day and age that’s not on a computer screen, we have to get creative again. We can’t just show up to an office and beg for a job because life isn’t an Anne Hathaway movie, but we can call up, to start.
One of my best friends, a junior a Johns Hopkins (and, in my eyes, Superwoman) managed to find internship opportunities and distinguish herself even before showing her qualifications or stepping into the office simply by making cold calls, directly contacting companies and their big names working for them. However, it is a skill that takes time to develop. Even she said that the first time she called a company, the receiver’s first response was “you seem like a smart kid, but that’s not how you make a call.”
However, a few days later she ended up talking directly to a major economic analyst on a news station and securing an interview.
I asked her to give me some major tips on directly calling companies, for which she had some simple but instructive tips.
- Be careful which companies, and whom within the companies you decide to directly call. If it is a small company with few people listed in their contact information, it is fine to directly call, but if it is a large firm, you may want to attempt an email first, as everyone is busy.
- It also depends on the industry—you can cold call for social work, charity organizations, micro finance, etc., but not for a large finance company—send an email first.
- Do your research on EVERY company you plan on contacting, even if they’re not your top choice. It’s also a good strategy to start by contacting your least favorite option before the top choices, so if you are as awkward on the phone as I am, you can get it out of the way.
- Also, do your research on the person from the companyyou choose to talk to—most companies name all the main people to contact from all departments. Pick one, find their LinkedIn, what they do, and if they’re the employee best fit for you to directly contact.
- Prepare a spiel that is concise but informative. Literally, write it down—pick a past experience or two (work or academic) that ties in with why you are a great fit for this company.
- Have questions prepared—for example, if you are dying to work in a city but the company is located in Ruraltinytown, ask if they have other locations for offices or whether you can work from anywhere.
Make time for it because it is your future. My friend has done this more than ninety times and has school, financial clubs, sorority meetings, and more. So, if she has time to do it, you do too.
*Jobsmopolitan is a weekly column with career advice for college students written by junior Rebecca Boorstin.