Guide to Approaching Employers
Approaching an employer directly is also known as self-marketing or cold calling. Start with a list of potential employers and contact them to see whether they have any openings or are interested in taking on an apprentice or trainee.
Step 1 - Make a list of employers
Use a search engine such as Google to find local employers, or if you are out and about and you see a ute, truck, shop or factory that indicates an opportunity for an apprenticeship or traineeship.
Make a list of these employers, including contact details such as their address, phone number and website.
For example, here are useful search terms for some specific industries:
- Aircraft maintenance and repair - airlines, aeronautical
- Animal care - veterinary clinic, animal shelter or animal welfare agencies, pet grooming
- Childcare - child care centres, after school care centres
Click the link to download AATIS' Steps to Approaching Employers Guide.
Step 2 - Contact an employer
When applying for an apprenticeship or traineeship with an employer who does not have a position listed on their website, it is best to contact them directly by phone and ask to speak to the person responsible for hiring new staff. If they are not available ask for the person's name, job title and email address, and contact them through email.
- Prepare by reviewing your resume
- Practice what you are going to say
- Write down your opening words so that you can read them out in case of nerves
Here is a sample script that to use when calling an employer: "Hello, my name is _____________. I understand that your company does _____________ and that is my area of career interest. I am wondering if you have any current apprenticeship/traineeship/job openings?"
If the contact says no, ask if they anticipate any openings in the future or if they know of anyone in a similar type of business that does have an opening. Make sure to get the full name, title and contact details of the person you spoke to. Keep a copy of your resume open in front of you for reference in case they ask questions.
If the employer seems interested, ask to meet them to discuss possibilities in more detail. If they can't meet ask if you can send them a resume. Whatever happens, thank the contact, send them a thank you email and restate interest in working for their organisation.
Approaching an employer in person
You may need to approach an employer directly by door-knocking. If you are using this method take copies of resumes to leave with the employer or the employers contact person. If you are underage or just need moral support take someone with you.
Keep the information about their organisation, including the details on the person contacted to and when. This information may be needed again.
What to do after you have made contact
Always follow up! There is absolutely no point going to all that effort in contacting an employer, either by emailing, or door-knocking and giving them your resume if you don't follow up with them. It will show initiative and that you are really keen.
For more information about how employers recruit and interview their apprentices and trainees, have a look at Australian Apprentices - Employer Stories video series on our MyGain YouTube channel.