New Ideas For Your Job Search

  • Article by: KEVIN DONLIN , Star Tribune Sales and Marketing
  • Updated: August 26, 2009 - 10:10 AM

Great ideas are all around. You just need to notice and apply them to your job hunt. When you do, you will literally have no competition from other job seekers, who spend their days surfing the net and e-mailing resumes.

Want to get hired faster and get ahead on the job?

If so, ponder this: some of the most amazing new ideas in history weren’t new at all. They simply resulted when one observant person transplanted an old idea into a new context.

Example: Velcro was invented in 1948, but it’s really an ageless idea from nature - the tiny hooks on cockleburr seeds - put into a new context.

Example: the first drive-through window opened at the Exchange National Bank of Chicago in 1946. But it took McDonald's until 1975 to put this billion-dollar idea into a new context and open their first drive-through.

What does this mean for your job search?

Great ideas are all around. You just need to notice and apply them to your job hunt. When you do, you will literally have no competition from other job seekers, who spend their days surfing the net and e-mailing resumes.

Here are three of the many, many ideas you can adapt to your job search ...

1. Strategic planning What is strategic planning? It's simply choosing the best way to reach your goals.

You do it every time you drive somewhere on vacation - you choose the best way (roadmap) to reach your goal (destination city). And every Fortune 500 company engages in strategic planning to reach their revenue goals.

So, why not use it to reach your job search goals? It’s easy to do.

Simply write down the job you want, the date you want it by, and what you’ll do to get there. That's it.

Congratulations. You are now ahead of roughly 90 percent of all job seekers, who have no clear goals, no written plans to reach them, and no way to know each day whether they're on track or not.

Now you do.

2. Junk mail You can learn a lot from those sales letters you get in the mail every day. That's because the companies that use direct mail to sell credit cards, fundraising appeals, etc. spend six and seven figures on research, to fine-tune every word in every letter.

So, because your cover letter is really a sales letter, "selling" an employer on reading your resume and calling you to interview, why not borrow an idea or two from your junk mail? Especially those letters that actually got you to buy something!

Here are some to get you started:

Address the reader by name (never "Dear Sir or Madam") Use clear, everyday language (most cover letters do NOT) End with a call to action (example: "Please pick up the phone and call 612-555-1212") Include a P.S. at the bottom, to restate the letter's most important point (because a P.S. always gets read).

3. Dating What does finding a mate have to do with finding a job? Plenty. Because job hunting is like dating: it all comes down to meeting the right person and making him or her like you.

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