Cold calling involves making an unsolicited phone call or visit to someone in an attempt to get something from them. Because the recipient often does not anticipate this interaction, it is commonly seen as an intrusive strategy.

Though cold calling is more popular among sales professionals who are trying to reach potential customers, it’s a very common approach among job seekers and students who are seeking job positions and graduate internships.

So, if you are seeking a job or business internship position, cold calling is one of the many strategies you can adopt to achieve your dream. In this post, we will discuss how you can use cold calling to get your desired job or internship placement.

How to Cold Call for a Job or Business Internship

First, bear in mind that there are three types of cold calls:

  • A complete cold call where there has been no previous contact. You probably just picked the contact from a directory and decided to make your call or visit. This is the hardest type of cold call.
  • A cold call following a cold email. You have sent a cold email and they have agreed to speak with you on the phone. It is highly recommended that you send a cold email first.
  • You were referred over by a friend or colleague, but have never spoken with the person before.

What to Do Before Making your Cold Call

Before making a cold call regarding a job or internship placement, here are some things you should do:

1. Find out as much as possible about the firm you are calling. Search the web, magazines, and other sources for reliable information about the company. You want to know when it was established, how many branches they have, what products and services they offer, their target market, and so on. This might sound unnecessary, but you can never predict what direction your cold call would end in. It might end up being your interview for the position.

2. Know exactly why you are calling. Are you calling for a job position or an internship placement? You must be able to clearly and confidently state your reason for calling. This is usually not as easy as it sounds; most people fail at handling this aspect well; and they end up creating a wrong first impression.

3. Try to get a connection before making your call. Find someone who has a contact within the organization you are calling. Having a contact makes the process much easier and your conversation smoother. Better yet, try to get a send an email before you call. You may get a response that turns your call into a warm one (no longer a cold call). And even if you get no reply, that could be enough excuse for your cold call—and a comfortable starting point for your conversation.

4. Find a silent place. Avoid background noise and distractions. Don’t call from a noisy room. The recipient will be upset when they hear a child’s cry or loud music at the background. In addition, turn off call waiting so you don’t get interrupted or distracted by another call while you are on the cold call.

5. Practice what you will say. It makes you flow better and build confidence even before making the call. You might want to downplay this, but the conversation will be most likely difficult for you. Memorize the name of your contact within the organization perfectly (if you are able to get one).

6. Memorize the important information you have learned about the company. Plan how you will state your reason for calling. And plan how you will answer questions you are likely to be asked. Be prepared to give 2-3 sentences answers as to why you are interested in the company, your career goals, what skills make you stand out from others, and how you can help the company meets its need and goals,

7. Prepare what you are going to say if you receive their voice mail.

8. Remember how you found the name of the company or contact. If you got to know about them in a magazine or newspaper, you will need to state the exact edition or date of publication.

During the call…

  • Start by introducing yourself, and state your qualifications in brief. Then state how you got to know about the position you are trying to apply for.
  • Be courteous and enthusiastic. Even if you connect with the person you were hoping to reach, ask if they are available to talk at that time or whether it would be better to schedule a later time to talk. Remember, it’s a cold call, and no one anticipates it.
  • Keep your responses short and to the point. Don’t bore them with unnecessary answers.
  • Be friendly and professional.
  • Clearly state why you are calling, and state whether you have any secondary interests.
  • Ask questions. Asking questions during your conversation will not only boost your confidence and help you sound as such. And it’s a good way to show your communication skills.

After the call…

Thank them for their time, and end the call on a good, positive note–regardless of what you think will be the likely outcome.

Caution: Sometimes, the person at the other end might sound rude. In that case, simply apologize and hang up quietly. Never give in to the temptation to get into an argument or send them an email with curse words. This can ruin your entire career because email can be forwarded and kept as reference.