When you are looking for a job it is important to be proactive as well as reactive. Yes you do need to register your resume with recruitment agencies, job boards, various companies who will ‘keep you on file and to apply for jobs advertised.

But that is only half the battle, to give yourself a good chance of finding the right job for you then you need to be actively out their seeking the work, not waiting for it to come to you.

And an important method of doing that is targeting specific companies yourself.

Companies you know you want to work for

Every industry has them, that one brand that you want to work for, be it market leaders like Google or Coca-Cola to small niche companies whose offices are 5 minutes walk down the road. Make sure you make a list of them, we will be actioning this list later.

Companies you used to work for

Add to the list you just made any companies that you used to work for that you would be happy to do so again, or any companies that you did projects for when else where that looked interesting.

Get yourself onto LinkedIn

If you haven’t registered yourself there, do so. Assuming you have some contacts you will be able to use the advanced search function (if you don’t simply go onto groups such as LIONS – LinkedIn open networkers – and connect to some of the most connected there) to hunt out people with the same skill sets as you, in the same area as you.

Take a note of where they are working and had worked in the past, add them to your list.

Look in online company directories

They vary from country to country and state to state so there is no point me telling you which ones to use, but a simple search engine search should bring up the best ones for your area.

Go through those list and look for companies that work in the same industry as you, they may well use someone of your skill set. Add them to your list.

Now with that list you should have a large selection of companies to be able to contact. So now comes the hard part. You have to get in touch with them, and believe it or not the phone is still the best method to do that, even in this modern day and age of emails, social networks and text messages.

So for each company in turn find their website, have a quick check to see if they have a careers section (if they do check it out first, but if they have nothing suitable still make sure you call), and then find their phone number.

Before you call make sure that you have a number of things prepared.

1. Make sure you know exactly who they are and what they do. This will help you explain what you can do to help their business.
2. Make sure you have a copy of your resume in front of you and another on your computer ready to be sent straight after a call. You don’t want to sound confused when talking about yourself and you want to be able to et your resume or CV to them straight away should they be interested.
3. Make sure you know what you are going to say.

What should you be saying?

Well firstly, you have to make sure you talk to the right person which, contrary to popular belief, is not always (and in some industries, no often) the HR department.

The right person is one who is in charge of the teams that you would be in. they best know what they need and what skills they could use, and they would be the ones who might be able to open up a position that wasn’t there before if your skills match well.

So when you make your call and speak to the reception desk ask for the person in charge of your area of expertise.

e.g. If you are a mechanical engineer simply ask for ‘the person in charge of mechanical engineers please’.

Sound confident and important and you will be put through as often as not. If you are asked what it is in connection with say that you are looking for a job, and stress it is for you and you are not a recruitment consultant (who the receptionist may well have been told to block calls from).

If you are put through to HR, or redirected there by the department heads, no matter. They do provide a good overview of job opportunities within the company and may well be interested in taking your resume on file.

When talking to the people involved, whether department heads, team leaders or HR remember your strengths and what you can bring to the company. Make a bullet point list and have it alongside you if it means you are less hesitant. Many will be impressed by your desire in contacting them directly so impress them further. Tell them what you can do, what you have achieved elsewhere.

Even if they say they are not hiring ask if you can get a resume across (and don’t forget to ask their email address). You never know when a resume might interest them, or whether they will remember something else they could use you for.

Make sure you then follow up the call.

If they asked for a resume get it to them, if they didn’t send them a ‘thank you for your time’ email and remember to include a note saying you would love for them to consider you for anything in the future. Then attach a resume to the email saying ‘just in case’.

The fact you have contact the company directly will earn you good brownie points with a company, it shows a desire to work for them and initiative. Plus if they are going through recruitment agencies your going directly to them will save them thousands in recruitment fees.

So what are you waiting for, make that list and get calling. The job is just waiting for you at the other end of the phone.