A couple of months ago, I had a Twitter discussion with Eric Dodds from Brains on Fire and Doug Tetzner from Shopify about cold-calling that was so intriguing, it’s worth revisiting.

twitter conversion of Eric Dodds and Doug Tetzner screenshot

The power of cold-calling is not to be underestimated. With determination and hard work, I was able to secure my current job, an internship with Women On The Fence, as well as a Chapter Lead position for Ladies Learning Code – all through making cold calls!

“Everything” may have been a bit of an exaggeration, but allow me to share a story with you…

My two years of fundraising for a non-profit during university were made even more special by the incredible mentorship and support I received from my director. As graduation approached in 2012, I invited her out to lunch to thank her and tell her that it was time for me to explore other opportunities. With newfound confidence and enthusiasm, I started researching available options with vigor!

I categorically rejected the idea of involvement with:

– A government job (been there, done that)

– A job that felt stagnant

– A job for the sake of a paycheck

Cold calling is the next step.

I conducted extensive research to uncover the ideal occupation that would provide me with ample opportunities for creativity, autonomy, and leadership while also providing a stimulating challenge. Consequently, I took initiative and reached out through phone calls and emails in hopes of finding such a role in Ottawa.

I had heard great things about Shopify, which is why I instantly applied for a sales support job when I found the posting. A week later, Doug Tetzner kindly told me that he didn’t think my lack of experience was the right fit for this role. However, through researching more about Shopify and their team members, it became clear to me that working alongside Harley Finkelstein (Shopify’s CPO) was what really excited me. His #hustle mentality inspired me!

With the aim of demonstrating my worth, I took a chance and sent him an email introducing myself. To illustrate how serious I was about working for him, I offered to provide one week of free labor.

Confidence and authenticity were integral elements of my success. My earnestness made such an impact on Harley that he was moved to tell me how much he appreciated my dedication; only a week later, I found myself sitting in the whimsically decorated Shopify offices with their head of recruitment!

After talking with Doug for a mere half an hour, it was crystal clear that Shopify wasn’t the right fit for me. I’m passionate about social business, not e-commerce – even though Shopify is great and all! However, this experience proved to be invaluable; I still feel lucky to have had the chance of meeting some of Ottawa’s top-notch startup experts.

Moral of the story:

Take the opportunity to create an authentic and convincing offer for your dream employer, look up their email address, and then have the courage to follow through. This step worked wonders for me; it got me in touch with one of the most renowned technology startups around!

What potential pitfalls should I be aware of?

Photo Courtesy of Look at You

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