In my June 24 Yahoo!Finance column, I look at some unique job-search tactics that helped unemployed folks find new jobs. A recent survey by CareerBuilder.com found nearly a quarter of hiring managers have seen attention-grabbing methods, which in some cases led to a new hire. A few examples:
Survey respondents said some job seekers used the “show-me-what-you-got” method: One candidate applying for a casino table game position came into the manager’s office and started dealing on the desk while pretending to talk to players, which demonstrated her guest-service skills. A prospective teacher brought in a box of props to demonstrate her teaching style. Another person came prepared with unique business cards featuring the company’s logo and a self-introduction brochure.
Other new hires demonstrated the value they could add to the company: One candidate sent in a letter that explained how to solve an issue the company was having with a certain type of technology. Another wrote a full business plan for one of the firm’s products with his resume submission. A third created a full graphics portfolio on the company’s brand. Here are a few other tips gleaned from the experts I interviewed for the story:
1. Leave a trail of “digital crumbs” so employers can find you.
“If you’re not on Linkedin or Facebook, or don’t have a Twitter account or a website, we can’t find you, and if we don’t find you, we can’t call you,” says Dave Perry, managing partner of Perry Martell, an executive search firm in Ontario, Canada. “Most people will get up in the morning and apply to jobs online for hours and get nothing but frustration. All it really takes is sitting down for a couple of hours to think about how you are going to leave a trail of digital bread crumbs so some recruiter somewhere who is looking for someone like you can find you easily.”
2. Get your resume hand-delivered to HR.
If you don’t know anyone at a specific firm you are targeting, find the name of anyone at the company, even if it’s the CEO, and snail-mail your cover letter and resume to that person, says Cynthia Shapiro, career strategist and author. (See below for a way to find names.) “They will open it up and hand it over to HR or the hiring manager, but it will look like a hand-delivered submission from that department – it’s a great way to get them to read it first,” she says. Make sure the resume is on 100 percent cotton paper, she says: “Psychologically, the thicker and nicer the paper, the more substantial the candidate appears.”
3. Get on ZoomInfo.
“Most large Fortune 500 companies have a subscription to Zoom Info, as do executive recruiter firms,” says Perry. “Recruiters have become very adept at micro-targeting candidates rather than running an ad and sifting through 10,000 responses for an ad on a job board. We’d rather talk to the six people we know who are qualified.” Zoom Info has created an application that job hunters can use for free. It also launched a program last year that gives new users eight weeks of free access to all 65 million people in its database, so you can find the right people to target in your search. Click here for more info.
Let’s say you want a job in engineering. You can do a Zoom Info resume search for the vice president of engineering at the ten or 12 companies you are targeting – finding both current and past employees. Perry suggests calling former employees with this pitch: “This is unusual, but I know you used to work at XYZ Company, and I’m looking for a job there. Can I ask you a couple of questions about this department?”
Have your script worked out, Perry says, and nine in ten people will tell you want you need to know. That information can be used to create a targeted letter, focusing on the successes you have had in the past dealing with similar challenges or issues. (Obviously, don’t suggest the company has problems or mention your source. You might say, “Many firms in the industry have faced ____ issues, which I managed successfully at my last firm by doing x, y and z.”)
Have you used an unusual tactic to find and land a new job? Comment here or email me at laura at laurarowley dot com.