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10 Unconventional Job Search Tips & Strategies

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In unconventional economic times, conventional thinking may actually be limiting all of the doors that could be opening for you.

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In unconventional economic times, conventional thinking may actually be limiting all of the doors that could be opening for you.

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Career Resources

Job Search

In unconventional economic times, conventional thinking may actually be limiting all of the doors that could be opening for you.

By Mark Goldman and Ryan McCormick

Are you actively seeking a job? Has your search been long, difficult, and frustrating? In unconventional economic times, conventional thinking may actually be limiting all of the doors that could be opening for you. Here is some advice intended to help your efforts in landing a position.

1. Never send your resume and cover letter to the HR department; instead make a connection with the CEO. In this economy, human resources departments are already inundated with more resumes than they can handle. Even if you are qualified, you can still get passed over. Instead, try sending your resume and a personalized cover letter directly to the CEO. The CEO is the most important person in the company and an important person to have on your side. If you impress the CEO, that person will likely forward your resume to HR, helping you stand out and change how the HR department will view you during the interview.

However, if you can't reach the CEO (or if that person is in a different state), your best bet is to contact the top manager of the company at whatever location you are applying to. The most important thing is to make a direct connection with upper management, since they are the ones who offer the best chance of offering you a job.

2. Stop sending Word resumes as file attachments. Sometimes they get caught in email spam filters. You're better off pasting your resume in the base of the email so it can be read from a smartphone.

3. Cover letters should be brief (two short paragraphs at most) and personalized. Be specific in the cover letter. Tell the company what you'd like to do for them and what exactly you offer. Present your big ideas. The more detailed you are, the more you'll stand out. If it takes you more time to crank out letters, so be it. Generic cover letters that land on our desks are never read and quickly discarded.

4. Create an online resume through WordPress. It's free, and it will make you stand out from thousands of other job seekers. Your online resumes should have these tabs: home, resume, testimonials, contact. Some people are very visual and when you show that you're much more than just words on a resume, you open the possibility of connecting with them on many other levels. 

New NPAs far as testimonials on your site, ask your previous managers and/or coworkers for a statement that's about a paragraph in length. If a CEO or HR person goes to your online resume and sees four to six solid letters of endorsement, you'll impress them and may even save them time in checking your references. A web resume is also fantastic because you can easily paste the link in a brief cover letter.

5. During the interview, bring your enthusiasm and ideas. Research the company you are being interviewed for, know their vision, and offer ideas and ways that you can bring value to them. Have the mindset that you're not just a person applying for a job vacancy, but that you are a rich asset the company should (and needs to) acquire.

6. Send a handwritten thank-you card after the interview. It's a real nice touch and will make you stand out, since people rarely do this.

7. Don't ever friend the boss on Facebook pre-employment or after you get hired. Yes, we mentioned making a personal connection with the CEO earlier; however, keep Facebook out of it. If you choose to "friend" your boss, you're giving that person access to elements of your personal life and he may choose to not hire or promote you based on this. Never give your boss the opportunity to judge you for anything beyond how well you do your job.

8. Don't take it personally if a company doesn't hire you. Brush it off and move on. If, during the interview, you presented yourself honestly and gave them every reason in the world why hiring you would be a great decision, there's little else you could do. Feel good that you got the interview and learn from the experience.

9. Read books and self-educate. Read as many books as you can about the industry you want to work in and continue to self-educate even when the phone isn't ringing for job interviews. By doing this, you are not only preparing yourself to hit the ground running in your next job, but you are training your mind to not accept limits or a career ceiling.

10. Go into business for yourself. If you know you have amazing skills, a strong work ethic, and the ability to provide excellent service, you should consider starting your own business. In the United States, small businesses provide 55% of all jobs and 66% of all net new jobs since the 1970s. Starting your own business puts you in total control of your career destiny and earning capacity. Running a small business, you don't have to wait around for someone else to appreciate your talents and give you a raise -- you'll get a raise naturally based on how successful you are.

We wish all of you the best of luck in your job searches.

Mark Goldman and Ryan McCormick are co-founders of Goldman McCormick Public Relations, a New York-based media relations agency.


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