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When your job search stalls and there are no more ads to apply for and the Internet job boards list the same old openings, you need to pick up the telephone and make things happen.

Most of us dread dialing the telephone to call a stranger, especially when we want something. If you send a resume and receive a negative response or no response at all, your ego is safer and separated from the rejection, because the written attempt is impersonal and hurts less. We prefer this written path of least rejection, which enables us to keep our dignity and self-respect. When we place a phone call and speak directly to an employer, and we are told there is no interest in our work background, the pain of rejection is felt deeper.


Without proper research, your calls will be weak and mostly unproductive. Networking into the company you are targeting, before calling, is the very best method to get results and quiet your fears. Think of every friend, even friends of friends, who might let you use their name as an introduction. Secondly, you need the names of the decision-makers.

The next step is simple. Call the main telephone number and ask to be connected to that person. Quickly ask the operator for their direct phone number in case you get disconnected. Once you have the direct number, keep calling until that person picks up the phone. If an assistant answers, to screen calls, do not give any information about yourself, simply ask to be routed to their voicemail. Wait until after hours to try again because, after their assistant has left, many times they will pick up the phone. Do not leave any voice message. Once they do pick up, you have 30 seconds to make an impression. Be very careful not to lie or mislead if you are using someone’s name as a referral.


Before you pick up the telephone, you must be ready to make an impression in 30 seconds or less. When they answer, you must identify yourself, your background and the reason for your call. It goes like this, "Mr. Employer, the reason for my call is that I was referred to you by Fred Smith in accounting. I’m a CPA and I have ten years’ experience. I would like to e-mail my resume for your consideration."


I know it’s the same old story, but friendly persistence will win. The real question is, how many times can you hear "no" before you get the "yes" you’re looking for? The answer is, as many as it takes. A grown father, age 30, will yield to a child age six, if the child asked enough times for the ice cream cone. Be like the child, because they’ll ignore the "no" answers.

[QUICK TIP] If you get their direct e-mail address, do not abuse their openness. Do not send multiple e-mails or continuous, updated resumes for their review. After e-mailing your resume, use the same method to speak with them about your submission.

PLEASE NOTE: emails received become the property of "Dear Headhunter" and may be published unless otherwise requested. Questions may be edited for content and length. All questions will be reviewed, some without a reply.

George Gurney has been a leader in the employment industry since 1976. He founded an executive search firm that conducts domestic and international assignments.  He has won numerous awards for recruiting excellence.  He has been a guest speaker at national conventions and seminars.