As every job seeker knows, it's a jungle out there. So, when conventional approaches to your search leave you feeling defeated, it may be time to consider something unconventional. Here are 10 tips every "guerilla job hunter" should consider if they want to win the battle.
Don't let them get you down
Don't fall into the "send resume and salary expectations" trap and forgo engaging on your terms. Instead, send a (one-dollar) Starbucks gift card and suggest meeting for coffee at a nearby location. At that time bring your resume taped to a pound of fresh-ground coffee. Remember, one way or another, getting an interview can be a grind. Why not enjoy it?
When you're getting ignored, get proactive
Never mistake a busy recruiter's lack of response for rudeness and don't take it personally. But don't let it go unnoticed, either. Send a polite note explaining you understand it's not their intention to ignore you any more than it is your intention to accept it. Withdraw your invitation and conserve your energy for a battle you can win. Better still, you'll feel great about keeping control.
Get dropped behind enemy lines
Does the employer have an Employee Referral Program? Dial the switchboard and ask for sales or customer service. Say, "I'm considering applying for a job" and ask, "Do you have an employee referral program?" Either way, then ask: "Would you consider referring me?" Whatever the answer -- "Yes" or "No" -- no harm, no foul. You might even get some insider tips to help you on the way.
Try turning the tables on recruiters
Recruiters don't think twice about calling someone at home so why should you? With a little bit of sleuthing on sites like ZabaSearch you can find out a recruiter's home phone number and address. Be prepared to deliver a flawless introduction or voicemail and, if need be, follow up with that Starbucks card sent to their home. If the thought of this gives you hives...toughen up!
Shoot for the top
Target the organization that you would most like to work for and call the CEO's assistant. Explain that your career up to this point has been leading up to a job with their organization. Ask for an audience with the CEO. Okay, you'll probably get referred to HR but a referral coming from the CEO's office sure beats coming from Monster.com. If you do get to talk with the CEO be ready to impress.
A highlight is worth 1,000 words
Forget the resume and just send a cover letter that has highlights of the resume quoted. Choose excerpts that are particularly relevant to the job you're applying for and in the letter say something like: "Knowing how busy you are, I imagine it is impossible to do justice to every resume you receive. If you'd like to look at mine, drop me a line and I'll have it delivered to you."
Admit it, your resume stinks
You want your resume to be short, concise and eye-popping. Add the logos of employers or big-name clients in the left margin of a single piece of paper. Edit the resume down to less than 250 words. At the bottom put "Detailed work and achievements available for serious recruiters only." If you can't get the doc to look slick find someone who can.
Enlist your references
Get your references to give you a single word or short sentence that best describes you. Compile a single-page document listing each reference and referrer with contact info in the margin. In the body write: "A recent study finds the best candidates often fail background checking. Call any one of us for a personal introduction to (your name) and cut to the chase." Follow up, explaining one of your referrers suggested you call.
Network, network, network
Like it or not, most jobs are filled through some form of networking. Being an effective networker means that you understand networking is about meeting the needs of others, not yourself! Contact local recruiters and ask them to please refer you to another recruiter with whom they network. Voila! If they don't network, ask how you can help them. Who knows where that could lead?
Network, network, network, Part 2
Track down your target recruiters on sites like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and industry-specific sites like RecruitingBlogs.com. "Follow" them, "friend" them, and comment on their posts. This is a great way to get insights into their day, their processes, their frustrations and concerns. Tap into those things and start a "conversation." Remember, the best question a recruiter can ask of you is,"Don't I know you from somewhere?"
Get tough and get that dream job
Very few people enjoy looking for a job, let-alone putting themselves out to win a battle they probably never wanted to fight anyway. For you, that's a blessing. Rather than cannon fodder, you are resolute, determined, and creative. Above all else, you are willing to do whatever it takes to land your dream job, even if that means an unorthodox job search. But be careful, there's a war going on, remember?