By Lauri S. Friedman
You can blog and Twitter and Tumblr (not that I even really know what that is) all you want, but today I want to caution you against overlooking that old fashioned bit of technology: the phone.
Recently, using my telephone for its primary purpose (rather than texting, or looking up crap on the Internet while I sit in traffic, or leaving somebody a strategically timed voicemail) secured me a valuable freelancing gig. More importantly, it reminded me of this age of social networking, we’ve devalued the original social networking tool—and perhaps the most effective one.
Like many applicants who probably applied for this job, I was more than qualified. I have a solid resume and carefully crafted cover letter that hopefully gets me on any potential employer’s radar and near the top of their “seems promising” list.
But in this case, since it was work I was really interested in, I wanted to do something different, outlandish even. Through some simple sleuthing, I found the name of the company running the advert, and—gasp!—called them.
I asked to speak to the editorial director or whomever was in charge of publications. Suddenly I was patched through to John Q. Editor, and when he actually answered his phone instead of letting it go to voicemail, I hit the ground running. John took the opportunity to ask me a few simple questions about my experience, and then said:
“Honestly, I have a pile of 200 resumes sitting on my desk that I do not want to go through. I’m going to fish yours out, stick it on top, and I’ll call you back Monday morning to talk specifics, OK?”
Boom! That’s all it took. A two-minute phone call fast-tracked my resume to the top of his gargantuan pile. Since our short conversation I’ve already done two projects for his company, and I am confident this is the beginning of a long and beautiful relationship.
Calling is not always appropriate. Heed the request specifically posted in advertisements to not call in reference to the ad. You will piss them off. Likewise, be prepared to be dumped to voicemail after voicemail as you try and reach Suzy Editor about the pitch you haven’t heard back about.
But more often than you’d think, calling has its advantages and can cause you to stand out to employers who need so much help that they don’t even have the time to sift through the resumes they get in response to their cry for help.
Lauri S. Friedman is the founder of LSF Editorial, a writing, editing, ghostwriting, and packaging company. Check her out at www.lsfeditorial.com.
Image from http://www.sxc.hu