Ways to find a job by Cold Canvassing employers

Many job opportunities are never advertised. It’s been estimated that more than half of positions vacant in Australia are filled through an informal network rather than formally advertised. Often called the “hidden job market”, these jobs can only be accessed through networking or cold calling. These techniques are among the most powerful and effective way of finding a job, and planning and practice will increase your confidence.

Once you know what industry or type of job you want to do, thorough research is called for. Make some notes about what you already know about the industry or type of job you would like. A second list might be made up of what you don’t yet know but need to find out. The information you need includes:

  • Where is the industry or job type geographically located? Would you have to relocate to work in this area?
  • Is this industry growing or shrinking? Is this a high-demand occupation or are unemployment rates high?
  • Which companies are the major “players” in the industry?
  • Is there a professional association that represents this industry or this group of workers?
  • Are there related occupations that face skill shortages?
  • Are formal qualifications required to work in this industry or occupation?
  • Where will you find these types of jobs? Only in large corporations, or in small businesses as well?
  • Are these types of vacancies generally filled by recruitment agencies or directly by the companies?

This may seem a daunting list, but reading the employment sections of the major newspapers over a period of weeks can often provide a good feel for this information. Your local library may keep back copies of newspapers. If there’s a professional association for the industry or occupation, call or visit and ask for or buy copies of the trade journal. If you’re at university or high school, make use of your career guidance services. You’re already using the Internet: make full use of its potential for research. It’s worth taking some time to explore different search engines and how to refine your search for information. Yellow Pages directories are a good starting point for identifying names and locations of companies.

Finish this process by compiling a list of the companies you want to work for. It might be the specific department of a single company or your list might include every company in the industry that is located within a 20 km radius of home.

Research the companies

Next, find out everything you can about your target companies: their product lines, competitors, prices, growth prospects, organisational structure, employment policies, key staff and overseas trends and developments which may effect local operations.

You can find this information in places like:

  • annual reports;
  • customer newsletters;
  • trade magazines;
  • product brochures and catalogues;
  • sales representatives.

The best option is speaking in person to someone who works there or knows someone who does. This is where your personal contact list will be vital.

Attend conferences, seminars and trade shows
Trade shows are a showcase for companies in your industry of interest. They’ll give you a good feel for corporate size, culture, reputation and you can have a chat with representatives of each company.

Seminars and conferences provide valuable opportunities for informally meeting people who are already working in the industry. These are most likely in professional occupations and they are often expensive. They are worthwhile as long as you’re willing and able to “work the room.”

The meeting approach

You:  “Hello Fiona. I’m Roger Smart. I was really interested in your presentation this morning. I’m about to graduate from the editing course at X university/I’m looking to move from a career in marketing into the publishing business. I understand that Context Publishing is a big client of yours. I’m really interested in working for Context, and I’d love to know more about them from an insider’s point of view. It might not be the best time now, but is there a chance we could arrange to talk further?”

List personal contacts

Co-workers (past and present), neighbours, previous employers, family members, friends, your professional advisors, lecturers, sporting buddies, suppliers and customers can all be the start of your contacts list. (Some of these relationships may be sensitive, particularly if you are already working and your employer doesn’t know you’re looking for another position.) Get in touch with your contacts and ask if they can help directly or by referring you to someone they know who can.

Use your contacts to explore opportunities and to gather more information. Asking outright for a job can put a contact in an embarrassing position. It’s more appropriate to ask them for their advice: “John, I’m interested in moving into the publishing industry — do you know anyone I should be talking to?”. If John can suggest someone, ask if you can use his name when you introduce yourself. Always remember that your contacts are doing you a favour by introducing you to other people and that your conduct will reflect on them.

Be as specific as you can. For example:

  • “Do you know anyone who works for Optus?”
  • “Do you know anyone who works as a fitter and turner?”
  • “I’m looking for a job in advertising. Do you know anyone who works in that field?”

“I have excellent keyboard skills and I’m familiar with computers. I have three years experience as a receptionist. I want to use these skills in a customer service job. Can you give me any advice, or do you know anyone who might be able to help?”

Ask for the job

Cold calling still means ringing strangers and asking for a job. You’ll be better equipped to do this once you’re armed with a good knowledge of the industry or company.

  • Know the name and title of the person who has the power to hire you.
  • Rehearse your opening line, including demonstrating your knowledge of and specific interest in that company.
  • Mention how you can benefit the company.

Depending on the type of work, your goal in making a call may be to organise a visit or to send your CV, which you then follow up. Your research should have revealed what is the more effective strategy for the industry and job you are chasing.

Keep a record
Keep a record of all the contacts you make. This record could be as elaborate as creating a database or a Word macro on your home computer or laptop or as simple as an exercise book, ruled into columns. How you do it isn’t nearly as important as keeping your records accurate.

Client Centric – Executive Employment Solutions are a boutique employment services company specialising in executive and managerial level roles. We are committed to helping you succeed in your career and to do this we have the best staff on board to help you reach your goals. Our team are highly experienced and knowledgeable in a broad range of areas and expertise, so you get the best advice. We service clients all over Australia including Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney and Hobart.  We provide Resume Writing Services, Cover Letter Writing, LinkedIn Profiles, Addressing Selection Criteria’s and we also offer a Job Application Service where we apply for jobs on your behalf and all you do is wait for the call. Please visit our website at www.clientcentric.com.au to find out more.

The trends putting intelligence back into business

3d small people - there is an ideaAccording to Gartner, the business intelligence market (including data warehouses and CRM analytics) is growing nine percent per year. While it was worth $57 billion at the end of 2010, it will surge to $81 billion by 2014 and as high as $136 billion by 2020. Rather remarkable, isn’t it? What’s driving this growth is the search for improvements in performance, and a change in thinking around people, processes and systems.  Let’s take a look at three major trends supporting the BI boom.

1.  Big Data. Smart data.

Big data – an over-hyped buzzword?  Well, the jury is still out on that. But what’s certain, is that the big data bubble has focused businesses perspective on data, and driven them to re-examine who their customer is and how they can continue to deliver what they want.

Due to the inefficiencies and cost associated, it is not feasible to capture and analyse all the customer data available, and then deliver insight as well.  Location data, blogs, purchase data, weather data, sensor data, social network data… what is available for capture to organisations is immense and requires exceptional technologies to efficiently process the large quantities within an acceptable timeframe.  What businesses are now doing is taking the first steps towards mastering big data analytics (although mastering is probably the wrong word; more like ‘lassoing’).  The big data bubble is creating a renewed and necessary drive by organisations to understand what data is actually going to impact on their business, what data can be accessed and manipulated into actionable outputs, and how they can get true return on investment from their systems.

Businesses that are setting clearer objectives, keeping data more organised and starting with smaller pieces of the puzzle, will be better placed to transform their big data into smart data.

2.  Introducing BI for the next generation – Self-Service.

By far one of the fastest growing trends is the ICT department’s relinquishment of the title as gate keeper to information.  By providing end users with more visibility and access to data means analytical reporting and information has become the foundation for operational decisions and applications. This is causing a distributed BI landscape that is making the data warehouse concept much less prevalent, though challenges arise in how we manage this environment without going back to the spreadmart world of yesteryear.  The one thing that’s for certain, it’s keeping happy the research-focused, tech dependent, outcome driven next generation of our workforce.

3.  The whole truth and nothing but the truth, Master Data Management (MDM).

MDM is a suite of business focused processes, procedures and standards, and technology that aims to improve the quality of data to bring control of high-value data assets back to the business.  Essentially, it’s about finding the truth – a single source of high quality, consistent data made contextually relevant across the organisation.  This is perhaps the trend becoming most critical to organisations, particularly in sectors such as mining, oil & gas, and energy, where the ability to guarantee the accuracy of management reports, operational transactions and system information is crucial to maintaining health and safe practices.  Businesses looking to improve their master data need to first ensure there is the correct level of business engagement and enabling technologies to easily manage, cleanse and control the data.

Although the themes that are driving these BI trends are not new, there have been step-change movements in the last two to three years – and many organisations are still only in the early stages of adoption. These trends will continue to evolve at a rapid pace, further highlighting the need for organisations to be clear in identifying what the business drivers are for the BI initiatives.

I outlined a couple more top trends in my recent white paper, “Top 5 business intelligence trends in 2013: enabling insights from anywhere, anytime, in real time.”


James Bashworth is the Practice Lead for Business Intelligence at Velrada and a Senior Consultant with over ten years’ of experience in delivery of Business Intelligence, Data Governance, Architecture and Business Analysis services. James has worked internationally around Europe and Australia, in sectors that include resources, government and financial services.

In addition to being a certified Microsoft Business Intelligence specialist James is also a distinguished Microsoft Virtual Technology Solutions Professional (vTSP), a position held by a select few in Australia. As a vTSP, Microsoft leverages James’ expertise to consult on BI strategy, architecture, business requirements and solution definition, in support of key client objectives.

Just add egg: What successful Project Managers can learn from Betty Crocker Written by Andrew Fisher of Velrada

BettyCrockerLogoYes, I am indeed talking about the Betty Crocker who makes cake mixes; the packets you sneak off the shelf into your trolley, mix in a bowl with water and an egg, toss it in the oven, then smile like the Cheshire cat as your guests tuck into your perfect, velvety creation and coo about “how much effort you’ve gone to…”.

Now, the fact that I allow my guests to think I deserve a place on the next round of Masterchef is not the point of this post.

The point, lies in the egg.  Let me explain…

In 1952, General Mills (owner of Betty Crocker) released Betty’s first cake mix.  The business world was abuzz with what was thought would revolutionise the way people baked and would fast become “the next big thing”.  But when sales didn’t take off, the execs hired business psychologists to conduct research to find the source of the problem.  And the problem, according to the experts, was the egg.

At a breakthrough focus group, it emerged that housewives felt that they were cutting too many corners; they felt guilty, almost as if they werecheating,because the products were just too easy. In response to this, Betty Crocker’s business psychologists came up with a plan… they took out the egg.  Yes, they simply removed the powdered egg from the mix, put an instruction on the packet that the housewife should add one freshly beaten egg, and suddenly the product began flying off the shelves. Today, amazingly, we still have to add that darn egg.

So, what can we, as successful Project Managers, learn from Betty Crocker’s story?

1.  Understand the user experience

Often what seems obvious to management or decision makers is very different to the end users.  Be thorough in your analysis, facilitate open discussions and assume nothing!

Don’t underestimate the value placed by a person on their role and their processes.

Enabling the housewife to add eggs made the process feel more authentic and so enabling her to feel successful as a homemaker and cook.  A small change in the workplace can make a big difference to employee feelings of stability and security.  Be perceptive, monitor behaviour and closely manage change.

2.  Involvement is critical

Greater client involvement, across all key sects of the business, increases their buy-in and therefore their sense of loyalty and ownership of the product.  If you want real business adoption, think about how you are involving the user and leaving them feeling engaged.

3.  Be adaptable

It’s not enough simply creating a goal, developing a plan and executing it.  Business and market conditions are often variable, especially during the course of large-scale projects.  Project managers should frequently review and revise the project plan, to ensure team learnings are integrated along the way and performance remains on track to meet the greater objectives.

And next time you’re rolling out a project, remember the story of Betty Crocker’s egg. She’s proven that if you can always keep the end user in mind, you can have your cake and eat it too.


Andrew Fisher is the Information Management Director at Velrada, and has over 20 years of experience in ICT enabled IM transformation project work. Andrew has a strong consulting and services delivery expertise across specialities such as Portals & Collaboration, Information Management, Enterprise Content Management, and Document and Records Management. He is currently leading a team to implement a number of integrated case management and business intelligence solutions in both the public and private sectors.