I was reviewing the employment data from the Class of 2016 as we prepare to report it to the ABA, and at least one graduate said she literally walked into the firm off the street, without an appointment, resume in hand, asked if they needed any help, and got a job. Crazy right?
I’m always fascinated to learn how students got their job. Of course we gather the methods you are all familiar with, such as OCI, networking, a referral, job postings, etc. But it’s when you dive a bit deeper into a category like “networking” that you learn all the different ways you could get your job.
You’ve heard us say that most of you will get your job through some type of networking, rather than through OCI, a job posting or other formal process. That is true. Examples range from meeting your future employer at a Christmas party, volunteering together, connecting at a CLE program or even attending a Baylor Law Professional Development panel discussion (shameless plug for Wednesday’s program).
For many of you, the most frustrating part of what we advise you regarding networking is the fact that you can meet an attorney, as them for coffee, find out about their job/firm, stay in touch, and all the while feel as though nothing is happening. You feel you’re no closer to a job than you were at the beginning.
And so the idea of taking your resume around downtown Dallas door to door appeals to you, because at least you’re making the ask and giving yourself a chance at a yes. Alternatively, if you’re not the type to to go cold calling in person, you might submit dozens of resumes and applications online and wait for something to hit as if you’re playing a slot machine.
These approaches, generally referred to as cold calling, also fit into the broad category of “networking.” I would describe cold calling as any type of communication with an employer in which the first/only purpose for the communication is to ask for a job. You could do this by phone, by email, through LinkedIn or other social media channels or even in person (i.e. door to door). The manner in which you communicate is less important to the definition than the intent.
Can cold calling work? The short answers is, yes. I already mentioned our 2016 graduate above, and when is the last time you said no to the Girl Scouts? But Thin Mint buying aside, is cold calling the best use of your time? Probably not. And almost certainly not as the lone method for your job search.
The bottom line is, cold calling gives you very little chance of success. And it takes time away from other strategies that have a greater likelihood to land you a job. It also contains significant risks. Most of us don’t respond well to people cold calling us for any reason; job hunting is no different.
So for those of you thinking about including an element of cold calling in your mix of job search strategies, I would strongly encourage you to come visit with Angela or me ahead of time. We can help you minimize some of the risks and set you up for the best chance of success. Who knows? You might just be the one in your class who will win big at the job search slot machine!