In an earlier blog post I compared the job search process to the sales process. One of the steps in the sales process is setting appointments. I would like to follow-up on that step with some additional information.
I mentioned in the post that there is no direct correlation between setting appointments for a sales executive and a candidate calling into companies and trying to set interviews. While true, there are some things you can do to help set other types of appointments; namely, informational interviews.
Get your target list of companies together. Start researching who in the organization would be a good person to talk to. With a little bit of time and effort you can easily get a good idea of how the organization is laid out and who reports to whom. Once you have a good list, start calling into that company and ask for the people you have identified. You can also follow-up by sending them an invitation to connect on Linked In (LI).
I suggest making the call first. More often than not, you will get voice mail. Leave a concise, professional message leaving your name and call-back number twice. Be sure to speak slowly and clearly. We so often give out our own phone number that we say it very quickly. If someone is listening to your message and they are trying to write your number down as you say it, if you say it quickly they may miss it. So say it slowly and repeat it. I have also written previously on how to leave a message. You can read that post here: http://wp.me/p3nLpj-2r
After you leave your message, you can then personalize a note in your LI message. Something like: “Hi Chris, I left you a message but wanted to follow-up this way as well. I have a couple of questions for you and would appreciate a bit of your time.”
I am a strong proponent of leaving your phone number in every communication: phone, email, LI messages, etc. You want to be easy to contact. If someone has to search for your number or listen to a message several times to get your number chances are they will give up trying. I have long used the practice of giving my phone number in every message I send through LI. My typical closing in LI looks like this:
For every email account I have, I have created a default signature that provides my number, Twitter and blog information. You want to be easy to contact.