Three Ways to Find a Job by Doing the Opposite

  • Article by: KEVIN DONLIN , Star Tribune Sales and Marketing
  • Updated: February 13, 2007 - 7:42 AM

Want to get hired faster? You can almost always shave days, weeks -- even months -- off your job search if you stop following the herd.

In my eight years of helping people find work, I've watched too many job seekers take too long to get hired because they do the same things as everyone else. This is especially true for recent college grads.

So start doing a few things differently in your job search. And start getting called for more interviews.

Here are three ways ...

1. Look where others don't

When you began your job hunt, where's the first place you looked for openings? I'll bet my next house payment it was either the classified ads or the online job boards. That's where EVERYBODY starts their job search. And that's where you have the MOST competition for openings, like fishing off the same pier with 10,000 other people.

Change your approach.

Where's the last place most people look for job openings? Their network of contacts. Specifically, current and past employers. You know, the people who've signed your paychecks.

Think about it: if someone thought highly enough of your skills to pay you a salary every two weeks, do you think they MIGHT be willing to share job leads with you, or at least pass your name on to someone they know who's hiring?

So today -- right now -- make a list of at least 5 current or former managers you are on good terms with and whom you can contact for job leads. Then call or email them to let them know what you're looking for. Today!

2. Write a very different cover letter

Sorry, but there's no nice way to say this -- most cover letters stink like a high school gym locker.

And, without seeing yours, I can predict with 95% certainty that it has one major flaw -- it's focused too much on you and your needs.

Specifically, I'll wager the last cover letter you sent out was rife with language like this: "I am applying for a job with potential for advancement, where my skills will be utilized and where I will be challenged ..." or something similar.

This is how almost everyone writes cover letters. I know, because I've read almost 10,000 of them since 1996.

Stop it. Now.

Instead, do this: replace every "I" and "my" in your next cover letter with the word "YOU."

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