Advice: Three Guerrilla Job Search Q & A

  • Article by: KEVIN DONLIN , Star Tribune Sales and Marketing
  • Updated: August 29, 2011 - 2:56 PM

If you're like most people looking for work, times are tough. So why be like most people? If the things most people do to find a job do not work, why do those things?

Over the past few weeks, I've received dozens of questions from job seekers around America.

Yes, if you're like most people looking for work, times are tough.

So … why be like most people?

Think about it. If the things most people do to find a job don't work, why do those things?

The best advice I can give any job seeker anywhere is simply this: Look at what most people are doing to find a job. Then consider doing the opposite.

That's Guerrilla Job Hunting in a nutshell.

Now, having said that, here are my answers to three job-search questions with broad appeal.

How many apply to you and your job search?

Question #1: "I had to close my business and look for a job. What can I do with my skills?"

Answer: Here's a tip: Use one of the major employment web sites to generate ideas for you.

Example: I went to a monstrously big job board and searched for these three skills: writing + training + German. This brought back 11 job openings nationwide, including German Help Desk Analyst, Customer Service Associate, and Web Editor/Writer.

This brainstorming exercise can help you select potential jobs to go after next, no matter what job you had before. You can then approach people in your network with a focused list of job titles, making it more likely they can help you find something.

Question #2: "How can I improve my networking? I've been networking for months, but it hasn't produced a job."

Answer: First of all, I dislike the term networking because it's freighted with unpleasant connotations for so many people who have had slow results -- or no results -- doing it.

Here's a thought experiment: Forget everything you know about networking. In fact, stop networking altogether for a week.

Instead, start helping other people get what they want. Give freely of your information, personal contacts, expertise, knowledge, time, etc.

Example: Pick 10 people you know who are connected to people you'd like to meet. Spend an afternoon researching the needs of these "top 10" contacts. You can even call them and ask, "What would help you do your job better?" Then make a plan to help them get what they want.

When you focus on helping others, your ego is removed from the equation, which makes you less self-conscious and more relaxed. That's because, while not everyone is a natural networker, everyone can help another person. Done right, that's what networking actually is -- helping other people so much that they're happy to take your calls and send you job leads.

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