While some will simply ignore you during your outreach process (this is why you need to have a pretty large target list before you start) others will respond, but try to reject you with some basic objections. Do your best to keep the conversation going. Most of these responses will work best by phone or in person, but many can be adapted for an email reply as well. Here are some typical objections and how to respond:
Employer: “We’re not hiring”
You: “I understand! All I’m hoping for right now is a few minutes to help me understand if my background is a fit for what you typically have available, and if not what I can do to make myself a better candidate. Could we talk for just five minutes?”
Employer: “I’m too busy to talk”
You: “I promise not to take more than five minutes of your time…”
Employer: “Send me your resume”
You: “Thank you! I’d love to. What is your address? I’ll send it right now while we are talking. Do you have another minute for a quick question?”
Employer: “Everyone has to apply online”
You: “I totally understand the need to have everyone apply through official channels. I’ll do that today/already did, but I was hoping you could answer a quick question…”
As soon as you get past the objection with either an “OK” or even just a silence on the other end of the phone, you need to have a question prepared to keep the conversation going. If you are successful in moving the conversation forward, don’t take more than five minutes of your contacts time but try for a next step.
Use whatever comes up in conversation as a clue about what to ask for next. If they seem open to you but don’t have positions open, ask when they expect to hire next or when to follow up again. If the conversation is going well, ask if there might be a good time where you could come in and talk in‐person. If they mention other departments or areas that might be a better fit for you, ask if there is someone you can speak with in that area. There is no “right” answer here. You have to take your cue from the conversation and look for a way to move closer to another conversation or in‐person interview.