The Direct Approach

The direct approach is generally preferred when you are targeting specific companies and are not afraid to be direct in stating your goal of setting up an interview. It can be modified in "intensity" mainly by the use of alternate "action" statements. You can use either the trial close (you ask what their level of interest is) or the assumed close (you don't even ask for the interview, you just ask what day would be best). Following is a sample script:

  1. Introduction — "Hello, Mr./Ms. _____, my name is _____. I'm currently finishing up my final year at _____ and will be getting my _____ degree in _____ in May (or August or December or whenever)."
  2. Purpose — "The purpose of my call is to inquire about potential needs you may have within your department for _____."
    Note: this is an appropriate time to mention how you were put in touch with the person in the first place; if you were referred, say so.
  3. Summary — "My background includes…"
    Note: state your top two or three features and potential benefits. These can include items from the Summary section of your resume and any personal attributes you feel would benefit the employer. If you have done your research properly, you should be able to customize your features and benefits specifically for your target company and target contact.
  4. Action — "I'm planning to be in your area the week of _____ and currently have Tuesday or Wednesday open on my calendar. I'd appreciate the opportunity to meet with you and briefly discuss how I might serve you and your company. Is either Tuesday or Wednesday open for you?"

If you want to provide an alternative choice as your close, your last statement would be the following.

"Which day would work better for you, Tuesday or Wednesday?"

Remember, the key statement is the action statement. This is where you lock down on setting up the interview. One recovery statement that can be used if you get a "not interested" reply is:

"Are you aware of anyone else either inside your company or at other companies who might have a need for someone of my background and abilities?"

Yes, it is a pressure release, but it can also be a cop-out. See some of the other techniques in this chapter and the next for converting a "No" to a "Yes."