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Guerrilla Marketing in Your Job Search

By David Perry

Faced with stiffer competition from around the globe and an economy slowly recovering from a recession, companies today are focused on productivity and profits as never before.

As a result, smart employers hire only candidates with the most potential to help the bottom line. For many companies, employees are seen as a variable cost – hence the term "human capital" – to be kept on the books only as long as they produce.

So, you need to realize that looking for an old-fashioned job with a pension, great benefits and stability -- like the one Dad used to have -- is a waste of time.

Instead, realize that your career will be made up of perhaps six or more jobs held during your lifetime. From this day forward, you need to always be looking for your next opportunity.

This is the cold, hard reality. But it can be bracing when you understand that your future is bright, if you take full control of your career. And that control begins when you understand how to market yourself effectively to employers.

Guerrilla Marketing: The Key to Career Success

Here's another cold, hard fact: the most qualified person is rarely the one who gets hired.

Jobs invariably go to those who present themselves as the best solution to an employer's problems.

Today's job market is tilted in favor of those who market themselves as the ultimate solution to employers.

Which means that becoming a Guerrilla job hunter is the only way to consistently move your career forward.

What is Guerrilla Marketing?

For job hunters, Guerrilla Marketing refers to the use of unconventional tactics to get noticed and hired by employers. It relies on the creative use of your time, energy and imagination. And it requires you to thoroughly understand your target employers, their products and their competition, before you ever approach them for a job.

Here are the key principles of Guerrilla Marketing for job hunters:

  • You can create your own job market -- with no competition -- by approaching employers on equal terms and offering specific solutions to their problems, as opposed to approaching them as a supplicant, asking for a job.
  • The primary number to measure your success is how many in-person interviews you get each week, not how many resumes you send out.
  • You should also track the number of new networking relationships you make each week.
  • Start a fire by focusing intently on a list of 10-25 targeted employers, instead of applying to all jobs everywhere.
  • Use a combination of marketing methods to reach employers. Doing so leverages the Force Multiplier Effect and creates synergy.
  • Use the latest technology as a means to reach employers, not as an end in itself. The test of any technology is, does it produce interviews?

Guerrilla War Story

Here's an example of how one person used Guerrilla Marketing tactics to land a job.

John was booked for a week-long project as a freelance copywriter in a big Seattle ad agency. He knew the minute he walked through the door that he wanted to work there permanently. So here's what he did.

"The Monday after my assignment ended, I came in early and fished some important-looking papers out of a recycling bin. I found an empty office with a computer whose monitor didn't face the door and sat in it surfing the net for a few hours every day."

Every hour or so, John walked the halls muttering at his papers and looking busy.

"I talked on the phone. I ate lunch in the lunchroom. I waved to the receptionist when I left for the day. And if anyone asked me what I was doing, I told them I was a freelancer handling some paperwork, which, while not entirely true, was not entirely false, either."

After a couple of weeks, John -- who had literally become a Johnny-on-the-spot -- was booked for another assignment, which he parlayed into five years as a full-time employee.

Now. Can you use John's tactic, and lurk about an employer's office after fulfilling a temp assignment, in the hopes of turning it into another contract or a full-time job?


Can you use John's guerrilla mindset, and get creative about turning a temp or contract position into a permanent one?


Finally, let's take this a step further.

How could you "act the part" for your ideal employer and make it blindingly obvious that you are the best person for the job? How could you convince them to create a job for you, if one is not available? What research, volunteer work, or other efforts could you employ to get employed?

Until next time, here's to your success, Guerrilla!

About this author...

Job-Hunt's Guerrilla Job Search Expert David Perry is a recruiter, co-author of the book "Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters" and managing partner of Perry-Martel International. Find David on LinkedIn.

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