Cold Calling to Get a Job???

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by mojopixel, Oct 2, 2009.

  1. mojopixel macrumors 6502


    Nov 4, 2007
    Somewhere in Time
    Hi, ok so here's my question, I am a newbie designer fresh out of college and I've been told that a lot of designers cold call design agencies in order to arrange interviews and portfolio presentations. Is this the industry norm, I mean, do you guys who run studios/agencies, mind if some grad phones you up to set up an interview? :confused:


  2. usclaneyj macrumors regular

    May 1, 2005
    Can't speak for all, but if I were to receive a call like that, I would just redirect you to HR.

    That's not to say you shouldn't do it. You should absolutely do it. Whenever we have had an opening, the first thing we do is pull up all of the relevant resumes we have received since our last hiring.

    I guess what I mean to say is, I wouldn't expect to get an interview out of a cold-call right away.
  3. MasterDev macrumors 65816

    Sep 14, 2009
    Do whatever you can, and take whatever you can get when starting fresh. You'll gradually move up :D
  4. xIGmanIx macrumors 6502a

    Dec 21, 2008
    i don't know about your industry, but i know in the IT field, i would also direct you to HR. You never can be to careful out there these days, and the last thing you want to do is expose yourself and your company legally. Not that you would, but there is too much at stake, and i am sure i am not the only manager/hiring manager that would feel that way. I would take your call and probably be curious how you were able to get it, but nothing would happen without going through the proper process.
  5. ChicoWeb macrumors 65816


    Aug 16, 2004
    I own a design firm with several employees. The only way to get my attention is to walk through the door, or snail mail me the most amazing resume I've ever seen. Someone calling is taking 5 seconds out of their day to cold call every firm in town and I'm typically not interested. Show that you want the job.
  6. skye12 macrumors 65816


    Nov 11, 2006
    Austin, Tx
    This is from the experts. It is true imo. 75%+ of all "good" jobs are
    gotten through knowing someone and/or their connections. USE the people
    you know. Tell them you need and want a job.

    Sending out hundreds of resumes and cold calling are largely a waste of time. It may make
    you feel like you are doing something but....I'd rather see you drop in on people at these firms and
    press your case in person. It's hard, but it may get your foot in the door.
  7. RainForRent macrumors 6502


    May 31, 2006
    Greenville, SC
    Cold calls can work, but rarely. Post to sites like your local AAF and AIGA. Visit some firms where you want to work. But don't be obnoxious. No matter how great your resume is, sometimes places can't bring you on. It took me 2 months of pounding the pavement after school to find a good job. Just keep on it.
  8. dornoforpyros macrumors 68040


    Oct 19, 2004
    Calgary, AB
    I'd personally recommend against cold calls. Chances are unless an agency or studio is actively looking for new people they don't want to spend the time answering phone calls.

    I remember I worked in one agency and at about 4:45 one day a girl walked in talking 100 words per minute about how she was a "graphic designer and web designer and I'd like to show you my portfolio blah blah blah" The creative director was beside himself, it's the end of the day, this girl doesn't have an appointment, and she's barging into the office un-announced. In other words, the people you want to impress are busy, don't interrupt their day and eat up their time.

    Having said that, I've found "cold" emails to be quite effective at times. A short intro in the email that pretty much says "hi, I'm Jason, here's my portfolio" and I leave it at that.

    Short version: emails yes, phone calls no. Unless you are responding to a specific job posting.
  9. lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2008
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Absolutely. Most small-ish studios (i.e. without an HR department) don't have the time -- or energy -- to handle every request for an interview. You either need to come in with strong references or build a strong enough reputation in the area that they know of your work and want to check you out.

    Its a bit of an ugly truth, but the only people who get through the door at my studio are ones who have been recommended by another designer that we respect and trust. Design is a small industry. Studio owners know each other. Talented and dedicated young designers make a name for themselves.

    Larger studios -- advertising agencies / interactive agencies like sapient or razorfish / television studios, etc -- do usually have a HR department or a hiring manager who's job it is is to find strong applicants. These are the type of people you can contact directly. If they think you have a strong portfolio, they will work as an advocate within the company to bring you in.

    Most young designers work their way into employment via internships - often taken while in school. They either make themselves so indispensable that the company wants to hire them, or they leave their internship with a new group of "friends" who will serve as references and advocates for you at other studios.

    Post-school, many designers use organizations like the AIGA to network. The local chapter's social hours / meetings / and lectures are great places to connect with other designers. The friendships you make here can often lead to inside connections and opportunities.

    One thing that many younger designers don't quite realize is that -- because of the economy -- you are no longer competing against other young designers. With all the layoffs and studio closings taking place, you are also competing against designers with up to 10 years of experience. Think carefully about the skills and abilities that set you apart and make you unique.

    As a studio owner, hiring is one of most important decisions I can make, as I am essentially committing to making an investment in that employee. You don't want to make a mistake. Studios are small and often have delicate dynamics. One wrong member and everyone in the office is affected.

    But -- as a graphic design educator -- one of my greatest joys is the opportunity to flip through my rolodex, call up a colleague and say "I have a designer that you need to meet"...
  10. mojopixel thread starter macrumors 6502


    Nov 4, 2007
    Somewhere in Time
    what about this approach?

    thanks for all of your replies, they have been very helpful.

    Here's my thinking, surely it would be better for me to send my work samples, either by email or snail mail, to a named person and for me to do that I would need to call up the studio. Am I right? so surely studios, big or small, have a studio manager or someone that handles these kinds of request...:confused:
  11. dornoforpyros macrumors 68040


    Oct 19, 2004
    Calgary, AB
    Well you can try calling reception and asking for the name & email address of the creative/studio director. Some places may provide it, others may simply redirect you to their website.

    Honestly the best thing you can do is email studios at the addresses listed on their contact page, such as info@ or careers@. Those channels are set up to handle employment/contractor request. Non-solicited applications/portfolios outside of those channels are often viewed as quite rude.
  12. Ride9650 macrumors 6502

    Jun 29, 2007
    I second emailing.

    I've been looking for an internship, and just about every place I emailed got back to me.

    About sending your portfolio, like dornoforpyros said, just about every company has some sort of general email line to handle these things. I would just send them a digital copy, as, otherwise, you might tick them off by sending them physical stuff( they may not have storage space, etc..) and they may just toss it in the garbage.

    I say this because, even sending a digital portfolio is no guarantee of a viewing. At least with a digital copy, you won't throw money down the drain through postage, etc.. With one company I contacted, I had included a link to my online portfolio, and they didn't bother to look at it!
    How do I know? they asked me to show them during my interview.
  13. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030


    May 18, 2004
    yep, and receptionists are used to getting these calls. They'll give you the name of the person to call or email, or they'll say just to send it to the office, or they'll tell you not to bother., or'll depend on how things are handled at their office. Sending something to a named person as opposed to "HR" or "careers" is going to be more slightly more effective just because somebody in the hiring chain will see it, even if it's as they toss it aside.

    Just don't get bent out of shape of the company chooses not to respond.

    Cold calling sucks, but if you've used up your other resources, it's part of what you have to do.
  14. usclaneyj macrumors regular

    May 1, 2005
    Absolutely, and that is what is going to happen if you call someone anyway. More than likely you're going to end up talking to a receptionist/HR person, regardless of who you intended to call.
  15. iOrlando macrumors 68000

    Jul 20, 2008
    do you have skills? i know a few people who desperately need designers and don't like using existing agencies...

    so i guess just making yourself known to people helps...
  16. PixelFactory macrumors regular

    Jun 6, 2003
    I would avoid cold calling unless your calling a large agency. Smaller agencies don't have the staff to handle these calls.

    Another avenue to take is to find a freelance agency in your area that specializes in creative fields. While you may only get temporary work, it will give you experience and help build your portfolio. It will also increase your contacts in the field.

    Some things to remember is if they do place you in a job, do your work in a timely matter, you'll generally be paid by the hour, don't work so fast as to make mistakes but never try to milk the clock. Don't overstate your qualifications. I once had a freelancer brought in to do some layout work and they didn't know Quark (even though he put it on his list of known software). To say the least, he was gone within 10 minutes and I asked the agency to never send him again. If you do both of those, you will get a reputation as being honest and hard working and clients will ask for you by name. I had a client pay my freelance agency a few thousand to bring me on full time.
  17. Melvin01 macrumors newbie

    Mar 17, 2010
    Cold calling is a wonderful idea to get a job when you are a fresher. You might luck out and get your dream job by cold calling. When you are cold calling for a job you have to make a call to the asking if there are any openings every two or three weeks only then will they think that you are really interested in working for their company and set up an interview for you.
  18. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    I'm no expert in the graphics design industry but cold calling sounds weird.

    What would probably be better is hand deliver a resume AND portfolio and then call every 2 to 3 weeks.

    Also make sure the portfolio is great. Some places prefer a cd, others prints, deliver both. If you are not sure about something in your portfolio scrap it. Make sure its in a nice binder that looks professional (and don't expect to get the binder back).

    (This is speaking from photography experience).
  19. jeremy h macrumors 6502

    Jul 9, 2008
    I'm surprised at the negative responses - my experience (from both sides) is kind of the opposite, cold calling can really work. But, I'd suggest the following:

    Don't try and sell yourself - you're calling to ask for help and advice. (Perhaps a chance for them to crit your portfolio and advise you on it?) Don't try and be too slick, sure - practice what you're going to say, but I've found I've had the best results when it's obvious they're talking to someone who's (extremely nice and polite but) kind of uncomfortable with what they're having to do. (Calling a stranger for help!) When ever I've done it for various reasons - I'm always surprised at how helpful the person at the other end often is. (Even if they can't actually help!) We all hate the slick salesman who trying to sell us something we don't want but are generally prepared to help someone who trying really hard but down on their luck a bit.

    Check out their website first - be prepared to chat to them about their work / your work.

    Be prepared with an email / postal mail shot that you can send to them straight away if asked.

    I would target smaller companies - bigger ones with HR depts are less flexible when dealing with this sort of thing.

    Don't immediatly ask to speak to someone senior / a director it will wind up whoever you're talking to and often in design companies - the senior staff are just as likely to answer the phone as the junior! Be respectful to everyone.

    Be prepared to make hundreds of calls and never ever, ever whine or moan about your situation to them - for all you know the person at the other end's business might be on the rocks and they're about to rush out of the office for their cancer test!

    But I'm in the UK and the US experience might well be different... but you've got nothing to lose - I'd give it a try
  20. GeraldButton macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2010
    Newfoundland, Canada
    100% agreed. Most of the clients I worked for found me through my contacts or previous clients.

    As someone else mentioned, don't be afraid to just walk in somewhere and talk to someone. I once landed a job walking up to someone at consumer booth in our local mall. He ran a small business, making custom license plates, mugs, tshirts, and doing prints of potos etc. etc., you know, things that public consumers really enjoy. I walked up to ask him about his green screen and we got to talking and after a few minutes he asked if I knew how to use Adobe Photoshop, when I said I yes and have been working with it since version 7 he offered me a part time placement at $11 an hour. Funny thing is on my first real shift, I found out he only had and knew how to use Elements, he never tried the full on release of Photoshop. Needless to say I had a grand chuckle.

    But it was a great job, paid every week, laid back enviornment, friendly people.
  21. Thirteenva macrumors 6502a

    Jul 18, 2002
    When applicants cold call my job, the receptionist would just tell you to email a resume, and if for some reason the call made it through to me I'd say the same.

    Most managers are too busy to take random calls from applicants.

    Your best bet is to call and ask what email to send a resume to to get it in front of the right person.
  22. nigameash macrumors 6502

    Dec 6, 2008
    Space: The Final Frontier
    Well this wont work universally but if you know which firm you wish to work for and have a good reason to work for them, then either go meet up or email them even if they dont have job postings, many firms hire based on a good resume and determination. You could even try the same with a reputed designer, not too big a guy but a fairly reputed one ;)
  23. GSMiller macrumors 68000


    Dec 2, 2006
    When I applied for my current job (not at a design agency), I dropped my resume off in person to the manager over the department I wished to work in. I then waited a week, called the manager, and asked if she had time to "review" my resume. She called me back the next day, set up an interview, and that evening after the interview I was hired.

    I see tons of people who drop their resumes off and they never end up making it to the proper people (they're just left around until they're eventually thrown away).
  24. mojopixel thread starter macrumors 6502


    Nov 4, 2007
    Somewhere in Time
    Thanks for the advice guys. I did some cold calling & everyone I spoke to was really helpful but in the end I got a job the old fashioned way by applying to an ad! :)

    It's nice to know that there is more than 1 way to get a job. I guess being proactive is what it's all about.


  25. utopia-y2k9 macrumors newbie

    Mar 21, 2010
    I'd contact design agencies within your area - get an online portfolio, join or something similar, and fire over the link in an e-mail to design agencies.

    Let your work do the talking...

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