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Your Mother’s Best Advice: “Don’t Forget to Call!”

Writers can telephone editorsBy 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.

When you apply for jobs, do you ever pick up the phone?

Or, if you hire, how do you feel about getting phone calls from job applicants?

Lauri S. Friedman is the founder of LSF Editorial, a writing, editing, ghostwriting, and packaging company. Check her out at www.lsfeditorial.com.

Two newsletters:
Abundant Freelance Writing – a resource for freelance writers including 3x a week job postings.
Writing With Vision – for those who want to get a book written.

Image from http://www.sxc.hu

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • What a nice reminder! I liked all the caveats too. As a former editor, I hated it when people called, when I wanted to spend my time going through their material. But on occasion, it was useful, especially if the writer was genuinely qualified. Thank you! And congrats on the new client!

    • lol Helen, the times, when I was an editor, that I too hated calls was when I was on deadline… other times talk with a writer was often interesting.

  • marv

    what great advice – calling!!!! why didn’t I think of that- I always seem to be so busy doing other things. Calling will now go to the top of my list!

  • Karla

    Great advice. There is really something to be said for the personal nature of a phone call verses email.

  • SO true. It’s amazing what can happen when you get off the Internet and speak to live humans!
    Carol Tice recently posted..My Online Writing Job-Search Rules II- 3 Creative Ways to Use the AdsMy Profile

  • Chandra

    Good post–and true! As a former acquisitions editor whose office (and Inbox) was always brimming with resumes, I can attest to the value of a little persistence on the part of freelancers.

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