What is the Most Powerful Job Search Tool?

Job Search ToolWhat is the most powerful job search tool? Is it the resume, the handshake, the elevator pitch, the recruiter? Nope, it’s the telephone. Even in the 21st century, in the age of the email and so many other forms of communication, the telephone still tops the list.

Why is the telephone so powerful on the job search? Here are 4 reasons.

1) Other people are scared of it. When you do what other people don’t, you stand out so are more likely to get the job.

If you asked most people how they would feel about making cold calls, they wouldn’t be happy be happy about it. Some people would say they are afraid of bothering people at work.

A couple of weeks ago, one job seeker who took this advice, told me how this approach worked out well for her. She saw an interesting job posting, and before writing her cover letter decided to contact human resources (HR) to learn more. She spoke with director of HR and expressed her interest in the position. She then asked if someone was available to provide her with more information about the job.

The HR director immediately connected her to the person who was making the hiring decision. Within 15 minutes, she asked some basic questions and was told that her resume would be put on the top of the stack. In essence, she allowed herself to have an interview on her own terms, and because of that decision, she stood out. Most likely, she was the only candidate to make that call.

2) It’s quick.

There are a number of times where I’ve spent an hour or more thoughtfully crafting an email, just to ask a basic question. Then I may wait hours or days to get a response.  With a call, I can ask the same questions in just a couple of minutes and get the answers in just a couple minutes.

I’ve known a few job seekers who spent hours prepping an application, only to find out that the position was already filled. A quick call would have saved this wasted effort.

3) When someone answers the phone, it takes effort to hang it up.


Think about how hard it can be to hang up the phone, even on someone who is trying to sell you something. Now think about how easy it is to put off writing an email.

When you call, you’ve got the floor, even if the whole conversation is, “I know that you’re busy. If now is a bad time, when can we schedule a call to be more convenient?” Just remember that your odds of success are far better, when people know you exist.

4) On the telephone, both you and the caller are multi-dimensional people.

What would you rather hire a piece of paper or person that you know? After the telephone you become a person. And when you walk into a job interview, you can say, “When I spoke with Susan last week, I was excited to learn that your organization…” Besides giving you information that you can use in the interview to your advantage, Susan has now given you a very basic personal reference.

Yes, using the telephone to speak with people you don’t know  can be scary. It involves risk that you’ll screw up the call. But with a little prep, you’ll put yourself in a position way ahead of everyone else.