Despite the tight labor market, you can stand out from the crowd and get the job you really want.
Consider Eugene, a software developer from Savage, Minn.
After getting serious about his job search, he found his ideal job -- at a higher salary than he expected -- in just over six weeks.
Eugene hit the jackpot with some old-fashioned persistence and a little creativity. You can, too.
Here's what he did:
"I saw a job posted on the Internet that I really wanted," says Eugene. "Like most people, I thought I would just email my resume and wait. But that approach had not produced any callbacks for three months, so I decided to try something different."
Eugene picked up the phone and called the contact person listed in the job posting, after getting her phone number from the company switchboard.
"I asked if I could hand-deliver my resume. She said 'No,' but I struck up a conversation and learned enough about the position to write a very targeted cover letter, which I emailed with my resume," says Eugene.
After that, Eugene made three follow-up calls, one week apart, to very politely ask if a decision had been made. Since he had already built a rapport with the hiring manager during his first call, she did not see this as an intrusion.
Between his second and third follow-up calls, Eugene employed a brilliant tactic that set him apart from every other candidate.
"During my second follow-up call, I offered to deliver a portfolio of additional material. I wanted to maximize my chances of getting that job!" he says. The hiring manager agreed.
So Eugene put together a collection of awards and descriptions of projects he had worked on. As he was dropping off this "brag book" with the receptionist, he met several employees in the lobby. "I asked about the four biggest problems they were facing on the job," says Eugene. "I took notes, then went home to think up solutions."
Finally, after four weeks, three follow-up phone calls and one hand-delivered portfolio, Eugene was called for an interview. He aced it, aced the interview that followed ... and got the job.
"After talking to employees and researching the company's products and customers from their Web site, I was able to talk intelligently and make helpful suggestions. The interviewers were impressed by that," says Eugene.
Does all this research and telephone follow-up sound like a lot of work to you? Not if you consider your job search to be a full-time job in itself. Eugene spent only a few hours total on this approach, but the pay-off was enormous.
"I start next week at a higher salary than before and with a great company. I'm really excited about this new position," says Eugene.
Here's hoping you will enjoy similar results!
Originally published Feburary 1, 2002.