Is it cold in here, or is it just my call?

1974. That’s the first year I had to look for a job. Those were still the days when you had to comb through the classified ads in the back of the newspaper, circle the ones that looked good, and pick up the phone to find out if they were still hiring.

Between Craigslist, Google, Yahoo Jobs, Indeed.com, Tweet My Jobs, and the employment opportunities page on nearly every company website, the process of looking for jobs has gotten easier in many respects. It is possible to research your field to find prospective jobs, apply for the jobs you want, uploading a resume and as much particular information that an employer needs, all without talking to another human being.

But in this particular economy, there may not be a lot of the type of job you’re looking for. When that’s the situation, it can mean you’re headed back to the future – picking up that telephone and calling someone you don’t know to ask them to give you something – a chance.

Cold calling may not be a problem for some, but as many job search sites note, it’s one of the more uncomfortable things many of us have to do. I’m shy by nature (shut up, those of you who know me, I really am). When I chose journalism as a profession, a major challenge was having to get over my discomfort in calling strangers to ask things that were none of my business.

It’s very easy to get the impression that people who are hiring really don’t want you calling them. How often do you see “no calls” as part of a job advertisement? I understand that; when I was in position to hire, the sheer number of calls from job seekers could be overwhelming.

One of the bigger stumbling blocks for many of us who are out of work is the ease of other forms of communication. It’s easy to send an e-mail or apply for a job online. That makes you think the pressure’s on them and they owe you a call. But, even if you have your availability posted in numerous places online, that doesn’t eliminate the job seeker’s responsibility to pick up the phone and call people to specifically ask – do you have an open job and can I apply for it?

I’m pep-talking myself. I have several calls that I really should make but haven’t, because I really don’t like imposing on strangers. However, you can’t use reticence to put groceries on the table, so I’ll just have to get over it.

Notes:

I’m trying to update daily, but I don’t know whether that’s something my tens of readers want. Monday posts are getting heavy traffic, but things drop off during the week. If every day works for you guys, let me know and I’ll keep it up.

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