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Guerrilla Tactics - Rejection to Success

By David Perry

Imagine you own a gold mine. You spend weeks digging with a pick and blasting away with dynamite. You dig, dig, dig and dig.

But you find nothing. So you give up and sell the mine to somebody else.

"Sucker," you think.

The new owner goes down in the mine, starts digging in a new direction … and strikes gold 15 minutes later. A fortune of untold riches now belongs to him and you get nothing, because you quit when you were only inches from success.

How does that make you feel?

But it's just a silly story, right?


The same thing may very well be happening in your job search, right now.

You may be overlooking untold riches, in terms of salary and satisfaction at work, if you quit after being rejected by employers. And all it might take to "strike gold" is a few minutes of effort in a different direction, like that new gold mine owner.

Here are two stories of Guerrillas who hit it big after refusing to give up. What can you learn from each?

Tactic #1: Drop In and Drop Off

Even if the job you want is given to someone else, stay in touch with the hiring managers while looking for other positions. You still might get hired down the road, especially if you're willing to take to the road and visit them in person.

Let me explain.

One client of ours found himself driving past an employer he had applied to -- and been rejected by. He dropped in anyway to see if the hiring manager was available; unfortunately, he was in a meeting.

Out in the parking lot, our smart client recognized the manager's car (it was a small business), and stuck his business card on the window, with a note. The manager found the card, read the note, and called our client to say he admired his tenacity, which led to an interview … and a job!

Tips to make this work:

  • Keep in touch with everyone you've had a conversation with at any company where you want to work. This includes hiring managers who have turned you down. Because "No" today doesn't mean "No" forever.
  • Find reasons to "be in the area" and stop by to talk with employers. Plan to drop off a white paper you've written, a list of prospective clients -- anything that may prove you can do the job you want. Think: What would delight your future boss?
  • Be ready to talk at length about how you can help an employer, i.e., be ready for a job interview. Because every conversation you have with every hiring authority is, in fact, a job interview.
  • If you don't get to meet the employer, drop off your "gift" and promise to follow up later by email and phone.

Tactic #2: Talk Your Way Back In

Ever been rejected for a job? Of course you have.

Ever turned that rejection into a job offer? Probably not.

But you can!

It starts when you remember this: The aim of all your job search efforts, from sending out resumes to talking on the phone with employers, is to get an in-person interview with someone who can offer you a job.

One client of ours got hired by a company president who called to turn him down for the job. Instead of hanging up, he hung in.

Our client offered the employer a few smart business ideas and posed questions as if he were networking. The employer was so impressed that he invited him in for an interview.

Let me repeat that: This man turned rejection for a job into a job interview!

What happened next?

The president created a new position for our client -- remember, the original job had been filled -- and hired him one week later. And it never would have happened if he hadn't been quick on his feet mentally and persistent in selling himself on the phone.

Tips to make this work:

  • Like part 1 above, understand that every talk you have with every hiring authority is a job interview. So always be ready to "sell yourself" in conversation.
  • Practice reciting a short list of your most valuable skills, with success stories to back up each, until you sound as polished and convincing as a senator on "Meet The Press."

Now. What do these two tactics have in common?

Both of the Guerrillas profiled went beyond the ordinary.

  • They refused to take No for an answer.
  • They refused to give up on an employer at the first sign of adversity.
  • They continued to sell themselves because they continued to believe in themselves.

As a result, each got hired by the same employers who had originally turned them down.

You can do this, too.

Today, look back over all the employers who have rejected you up to now. Pick one to work on using these tactics.

When you do, you will be that much closer to striking gold in your search for work.

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.