I am currently seeking paid/unpaid work. I lack the entry requirements for most posted positions and am actively bulking up my CV with relevant qualifications.

To gain relevant experience I have been cold calling and cold emailing companies. About one email every quarter and have had genuine reason to do so. Many of these are to the MDs of small, private firms or senior staff members who have the power to say yes or no - not the HR department.

Is there a sign that I should stop doing this or a limit? There is a fine line between being persistent and being annoying and I don't want to cross that line. For example, if there is no response from them I take them off my list.

If I have had no luck with firms this year, would it be wise to continue contacting them in the new year? I am scared of out of sight out of mind.

  • 3
    You crossed that line a year ago. Consider yourself blacklisted.
    – Jack
    Dec 23, 2018 at 12:02
  • 2
    There is no continuum between persistence and psychosis. Overly persistent people are stubborn, not crazy. What you are doing doesn't make sense, and doing it over and over again doesn't make it more sensible. I think you've misidentified the persistence as a virtue, but in this case you are persistently acting to harm yourself. Take a new approach, learn how the masses apply for jobs, and follow that path. It works.
    – Edwin Buck
    Dec 23, 2018 at 17:15
  • 1
    It's unclear whether you are contacting a specific company multiple times or not. You say if there's no response you take them off your list but then ask if it'd be wise to continue contacting them.
    – BSMP
    Dec 23, 2018 at 19:12

1 Answer 1


Please read "What Color is Your Parachute" Get a recent copy.

Your approach to job searching is not going to give you the results you desire. There are many reasons why, but I'll list a few obvious ones

  • You are calling people who are not advertising jobs. (Surprisingly, this can work, but it is rare, and driven by inside information)
  • You lack the network of people to tell you where to call, so you are calling decision makers directly, cold. (That's not an effective strategy, use your network to introduce you)
  • You are demonstrating desperation, a trait that is not desired in job seekers.
  • You seem oblivious to how another will view this (to put it politely, not well).

Sometimes we read information about how to land a job. A lot of it can work in specific situations, but most of the jobs are acquired by a pretty predictable path. That path is laid out in the "What Color is Your Parachute" book, and you need to read it with an eye for the approaches with the highest success rates.

Now, if you have tried the most common approaches, with little to no success; you need to ask yourself "why?"

  • Are you overestimating your abilities? (it is easy to do, those who don't know much about a thing don't know how much there is to learn about it).
  • Are you trying to transition careers (it's hard) but not building a narrative compatible to the job posted? (again easy to do, but good managers aren't guaranteed to be good system administrators, etc.)
  • Are you attempting to get a job worthy of your stature, and applying for positions higher than your experience? (again, what you don't know means you don't realize how silly this looks)

In some ways, you're saying you don't have the entry requirements. In other ways, you're saying you are "building up experience" by contacting people looking for jobs. That's not they experience they need. They need experience on the job, not experience looking for the job.

Indeed, your failure to land a job is more indicative of not having experience looking for a job, and that's why I'll again ask you to read "What Color is my Parachute" to educate yourself on effective job hunting techniques, so you don't learn the hard way (like having another year of no progress signal that your approach isn't working).

  • thanks, great answer. I think one of the biggest difficulties is that I am not looking for a job, more a placement eg upto 3 months to gain experience and have on my cv. I am definitely going to get a copy of the book you recommend.
    – user311438
    Dec 23, 2018 at 17:34
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    "up to 3 months...to put on my CV". I don't know know what you're trying to achieve but a short 3 months job (or, even worse, a row of them) will NOT look good in your CV. Dec 23, 2018 at 18:45
  • @user311438 If you aren't looking for a job, stop sending out cold calls to land one. Placement for 3 months is a job, just a short-term one. Unfortunately, the amount of time you will keep the job, and the amount of money you will (or will not) be paid, doesn't alter the process of landing a job. Good luck!
    – Edwin Buck
    Dec 23, 2018 at 20:22

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