1) Know the position you want, with absolute clarity, right down to the job title.
2) Know where you want to work, right down to the names of 10-20 ideal employers.
3) Use unconventional "guerrilla" tactics to get noticed -- and get hired.
Here are the stories of two people who did all the above -- and found great jobs -- right in the middle of the current recession.
Anyone for Coffee?
Janet FritzHuspen from St. Paul, Minnesota, landed a job after mailing coffee cups to area employers. That's right -- coffee cups. Here's what she did ... FritzHuspen found jobs advertised online, then sent a box with a travel coffee mug, her resume and a cover letter inside. Her letter said, "I would like to meet you over coffee to discuss how I can benefit the ABC Corporation as your director." "I sent the box via FedEx Ground, so I could track and know when they signed for it. I waited about 20 minutes after it arrived. Then, I called and said, 'Hi. You just got my package!' and I went from there," she says.
FritzHuspen sent three coffee cups in two weeks. "I called and spoke with somebody at all three employers, and had a conversation with one hiring manager that resulted in an interview." About two weeks later, FritzHuspen got the job!
Here are three ways to make this tactic work for you:
1. Find names and phone numbers of hiring managers on Google or Linkedin.com. Can't get a name? Call and ask the receptionist -- that's what Janet did. Then, she dropped the receptionist's name into the first sentence of her cover letter, by saying, "I spoke with Sally Smith today about â€¦" This instantly established a rapport with the reader. Smart!
2. Save money on shipping by using FedEx Ground or UPS. Speed is less important than real-time delivery confirmation -- you want to call recipients right after they open your box. This makes an incredible first impression!
3. You can buy travel coffee mugs for under $5 at any department store. So, for about $15, including shipping, you can get on the radar of almost any hiring manager you want to meet. What would that worth be to you?
Gilbert Fonseca from Pharr, Texas, got hired for an insurance sales position very quickly after doing something simple and direct: He called an employer that was expanding, introduced himself, and asked for an interview.
That sounds like cold calling, right? Wrong. Fonseca did several smart things first, before calling his future boss.
Through research, Fonseca learned his target employer was expanding. And, thanks to his prior job, he knew all about one of their key competitors. A call to company headquarters produced the name and number of the local hiring manager. "I called the hiring manager and introduced myself. He wasn't too eager to talk, but I did what any job seeker should do -- I sold myself," says Fonseca. Here's what he said: "Good afternoon Mr. X, my name is Gilbert Fonseca, I live in Pharr, and I heard that you're coming to our area. I wanted to introduce myself and explain how I know about you -- I worked for one of your competitors in the past."
At this point, the hiring manager pushed back and tried to get rid of him. But Fonseca pressed on. "I know how your products work and I have a big book of business I could bring with me," said Fonseca.
This got the manager's attention -- who wouldn't want to hire someone who brings his own customers? "That's pretty much where the conversation ended," said Fonseca, who got the names of other hiring managers and was told to call them.
No interviews resulted, so Fonseca pursued other leads. But two weeks later he got a call. "The hiring manager said that things had changed and I was asked to come in. I interviewed on Tuesday and had the job on Wednesday," he says.
Here are three things to keep in mind as you "smart call" for interviews:
1. Tell employers -- specifically -- what you've done before and can do again. Example: "I've saved more than $90,000 a year the last three years and can do the same for you." Do your homework and assign a dollar value to any time you've saved or money you've earned. Alternately, drop the name of a competitor they hate, a client they'd love to have, or something valuable you can bring -- that's what Fonseca did. How can you help? Be specific!
2. Follow a script. It can ease your nerves to read from a piece of paper. Just be sure to practice until the words flow smoothly.
3. The worst that can happen when you call employers is â€¦ they say no. Nobody dies or goes to jail. But you may land a job interview. All you have to do is ask.
Chances are, you've never thought of sending coffee cups or "smart calling" employers. But these Guerrilla Job Search tactics work, as the stories above demonstrate. Why not give them a try today?