How to Choose And Hit Job Search Targets Creatively

  • Article by: KEVIN DONLIN , Star Tribune Sales and Marketing
  • Updated: July 28, 2008 - 2:37 PM

It's not just folklore: the creative job-seeker may choose a non-conventional approach to job search. You can apply creativity to your job search too.

Ever want to slap your forehead and say, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

You might, after you discover how one New York man found the right job, largely as a result of blind luck … or was it creative smarts?

Read on to judge for yourself and, more importantly, to find the two lessons that can get you hired, too …

“College prepares you for the real world. That’s what my guidance counselors told me, anyway,” says Robert Basso of Hicksville, NY. “I thought a Bachelor of Arts degree was going to guarantee me a job with great benefits and a pension after I graduated from college in 1994. Wrong.”

After finding it impossible to get a position, Basso was reduced to begging for his old college job back -- making sandwiches at a deli on Long Island.

Fortunately, the owners supported Basso’s efforts to find a job related to his degree, and gave him latitude to promote himself to employers while at work.

One day, Basso hit upon an idea.

“I decided to wrap every sandwich I prepared with my resume and include it with the order. I sent out about 75 resumes that way over three days. Much to my surprise, I got customer reactions -- some nice and some not so nice,” says Basso.

While this may seem like a low-tech equivalent of email spam, Basso was targeting potential employers in one respect -- geographically. All the sandwich orders went out to office buildings within a few blocks of the deli. And Basso knew that, like a fax, his resume would likely be carried to a manager who could give it their attention.

“I was aiming for any entry-level job, but all the calls I got were for sales and marketing positions. The resume itself was pretty standard, but I guess the delivery method was extraordinary and convinced employers that I knew something about marketing,” says Basso.

Within two weeks, Basso’s “sandwich” resumes had produced five job interviews and four offers, one of which he happily accepted in the marketing department of a health care firm.

Success, right?

Wrong.

“A week before my start date, a human resources manager called to say their company could not hire me because of budget cuts! Now I had to beg for my old job back -- again,” says Basso.

But, then, another twist …

A few weeks later, Basso’s phone rang. It was the HR manager who couldn’t hire him.

“She had a new job lead for me. It was for a sales position at a company run by … her husband,” says Basso.

Perhaps the HR manager felt such remorse about not hiring Basso that she gave him a break. In any case, because she had already vetted him for a job, Basso had an edge when her husband’s company needed another employee.

This is how networking works, by the way. The more people who know you, trust you, and know what job you’re suitable for, the shorter your search will be.

Basso met and became trusted by an HR manager who first hired him, then reneged. But the trusted relationship remained intact -- and led to a new job.

Now. What can you learn from Basso’s unconventional job search?

Two things …

1) Pick a Target Market While Basso didn’t have a specific job title or employer in mind, he did have a location -- nearby office buildings.

Although I can’t recommend a blind “submarine sandwich” approach as your first option, geographic targeting can get you hired.

Example: One of my readers, Rod S., from Waterloo, Ontario, found a job within 31 days after targeting 19 firms within a 5-minute drive of his home, then contacting each with a customized resume and cover letter. You can do this, too.

2) Reach Your Market in a Compelling Way
Basso decided that sandwiches were a vehicle he could latch onto for getting his resume to employers. He was right. And his delivery method was so compelling that it compensated for the fact that, by his own admission, his resume was rather bland.

Think about what and whom your ideal employers interact with every day: pizza boxes, flower deliveries, the cleaning lady, bicycle messengers, billboards, elevators, etc.

What one unconventional way could you deliver your resume and cover letter to employers? It should be creative, compelling and, of course, legal. List 10 possibilities then pick one to test.

Now, go out and make your own luck!


Kevin Donlin is Creator of TheSimpleJobSearch.com. Since 1996, he has provided job-search help to more than 20,000 people. Author of 3 books, Kevin has been interviewed by The New York Times, Fox News, CBS Radio and others. His free report, The Simple Job Search Manifesto, is found at www.TheSimpleJobSearch.com
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