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Continued: 3 job search lies that keep you unemployed

  • Article by: KEVIN DONLIN , Star Tribune Sales and Marketing
  • Last update: September 19, 2011 - 10:52 AM

The truth is, you can get hired by employers who have rejected you before, if you persist and stay on their radar with creative tactics.

To illustrate, here's a recap of a success story from two weeks ago.

Steve Fox, from Edina, Minn., was hired by an employer after they turned him down last year. He had been one of three finalists for a position, but wasn't hired.

"So I asked myself, 'What can I do differently?'" says Fox. "I decided to create an action plan of what I would do in the first 90 days on the job."

Fox wrote and sent the employer a 90-day action plan -- a research paper spelling out what he would do in his first three months in the position. But this, by itself, was not enough.

"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," says Fox.

At this point, an average job-seeker would think, "Oh, well. Tough luck. Time to look someplace else." But Fox redoubled his efforts and followed up creatively.

"We were planning a family trip to Chicago. 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."

For those unfamiliar with it, the Coffee Cup Caper is a box with three items: a customized resume, cover letter, and a paper coffee cup. In the cover letter, you ask to meet the hiring manager for a cup of coffee.

But Fox took it a few steps further.

"In a box, I sent four items, all taped to an 8.5 x 11-inch sheet of paper. One was a roll of tape, for stick-to-itiveness. Then 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.'"

What happened next?

"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," says Fox.

That interview led to a job, with an employer who had first turned Fox down.

Lie #3: Traditional networking is the best way to uncover job leads.

Truth: Traditional networking is largely unproductive. After all, if networking worked, you would have a job by now.

Instead, the best way I've found to get job leads is to stop "networking" ... and start being useful to other people.

Think about it: Whose emails do you read, those from the guy who's "networking" -- spamming you with pleas for job leads every other week? Or the emails from someone who sends you helpful nuggets of information?

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