If you're looking for a job, you know how bad the news is.
Unemployment is now at 9.6%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It's been stuck at 9.5% for 14 straight months -- the longest such stretch since The Great Depression.
Yet, there are jobs out there.
One Minnesota man just one.
Steve Fox, from Edina, Minn. was hired by, an employer that had originally passed him over, about 70 days after seriously adopting "guerrilla" job search tactics.
Read my interview with Steve to learn how he got hired in this awful economy …
Steve Fox: "I applied for a position at my former employer last year, about a month after being laid off by them. I was contacted by the recruiter and was one of three candidates. Unfortunately, I didn't get the job that time."
Kevin: "But they just re-hired you. What did you do about 10 weeks ago that started producing results?"
Steve: "I asked myself, 'What can I do differently?' I decided to create an action plan of what I would do in the first 90 days on the job."
Kevin: "A 90-day action plan is really just a research paper that says, 'Here is what I'll do for you in my first three months on the position.' Anybody can create one and it's was very clever. But by itself, it didn't get you a job, did it?"
Steve: "No. They said, in effect, 'Yes, we understand you want a job. You've shown that you have interest.' But it never got me a face-to-face meeting, and I was afraid I was slipping through the cracks again."
Kevin: "At this point, an average job-seeker would think, 'Oh, well. Tough luck for me. Time to look someplace else.' But you, being a guerrilla, redoubled your efforts and sent them some very creative things after your action plan. What did you do?"
Steve: "We were planning a trip to Chicago for a family vacation. I thought, 'Their company headquarters are in Chicago. I know the hiring manager is there. How can I get his attention?' So I did a little twist on the Coffee Cup Caper."
Kevin: "For people not familiar with it, the Coffee Cup Caper is a box with three items: a very well-written resume, customized cover letter, and a paper coffee cup. In the cover letter you ask to meet with the hiring manager for a cup of coffee."
Steve: "Yes, but mine was different. In a box, I sent a letter, displaying some of my capabilities. And I included four items, all taped to an 8.5 x 11-inch sheet of paper. One was a roll of tape, for perseverance and stick-to-itiveness.
"Then I put in a key, for unlocking the territory's potential. Then a string, tied in a bow, and the words, 'Nice way to tie this all together.' The final item was a coffee cup, and I wrote, 'I'll be in Chicago and I'd love to have a cup with you,' and I put the dates on there that we'd be in town."
Kevin: "Excellent. And things happened pretty rapidly after that?"
Steve: "I got an e-mail back that said, 'Very creative. I won't be in downtown Chicago, but if you can come to our other office near the airport at 8:30 a.m., I'll meet with you.' We had our meeting and interview."
Kevin: "Fast forward to today, October 8. You just got a job offer?"
Steve: "Yes, it took time for them to get budget approval first. After the Chicago meeting, I kept sending follow-up letters with different ideas. In one letter, I listed accounts held by competitors and said, 'I'll make sure that we get these clients and I won't quit until we do.'"
Kevin: "So you gave them another reason to hire you with each follow-up letter you send. Very smart, very 'guerrilla.'"
Steve's story should give you hope if you're looking for new ways to renew old contacts. He got hired by his former employer, after using creative ways to get and keep their attention.
Always remember: When you hear "No" in a job search, it doesn't mean "Never contact us again." It means "Not today."
Steve found a reason to get back in touch with an employer who had said "No" to him. Last week, that employer said, "Yes." And Steve has a job now.
When looking back over your career for job leads, don't limit yourself to old employers. Look also at former clients, vendors, and competitors -- anyone who has seen you in action and has employees who do what you want to do.
You will start seeing new job opportunities, almost immediately. Try it.