By David Perry
Here are two case studies of Guerrilla Job Search success.
Each of the Guerrillas profiled below got hired by thinking and acting very differently than the typical job hunter.
Best part: Everything they did to get hired cost exactly $0.
What can you learn from them?
One job seeker, we'll call her Jane, was looking for a position in retail merchandising -- putting together POP displays, planograms, etc.
While developing her résumé, she mentioned that she could walk into any retail setting and show the store how to make more money with better merchandising.
Suddenly, she got an idea. How could she prove this to potential employers, on the spot?
Jane targeted 5 major retail outlets, went to a number of their locations, and made notes on what she saw and how she would improve it.
The first company she contacted was a major outlet with offices located in the building above the store. She walked into the office and asked to speak to the person in charge of marketing, but was told he was in a meeting until 11:00am. So she scribbled a quick note on a piece of paper that said this:
I've just spent 30 minutes in your store. I found 3 merchandising inconsistencies and identified 7 ways that should increase your sales by about 12-15%. My name is Jane Smart, and I will be waiting in the coffee shop downstairs.
"Please hand this to him at the end of his meeting. It's very important," she said, and walked out.
Shortly after 11:00, the VP of Marketing came downstairs, found her in the coffee shop, and spent the next hour walking through every corner of the store to discuss her findings.
The VP hired her as the new Director of Merchandising, although no such position existed! The job was created just for Jane, as a result of the valuable expertise she had demonstrated.
Be like Jane. If you were already employed at your target company, what would you be doing all day? What's stopping you from doing it right now and demonstrating your expertise to potential employers, as Jane did?
Could you walk into their lobby and deliver proof of your expertise in the form of a white paper, a list of sales leads, a PowerPoint presentation, or something else?
If you research your target company and "start working" for them before you have any job interview, this can prove you're someone they need to hire -- even if they have to create a new position just to bring you on board.
One of our clients, Tom, just found a great job by attending a job fair and impressing the hiring manager with how much he knew about the company's plans to expand.
How did he get this knowledge? By reading a local business magazine in search of companies signing new commercial leases, a sure sign of a need for increased capacity.
With a little research, you can uncover valuable information about any employer that will help you make a winning first impression.
Here's how Tom did it:
"I kept up on the local real estate market by reading Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal magazine. I learned that the employer had picked up 200,000 sq. ft. of office space on a 10-year lease, and I filed that information away mentally. When I met the hiring manager at the job fair, I told him what I knew about their plans to expand downtown. He was impressed with my knowledge and everything went very quickly after that first impression, ending with a job offer."
Here are two ways you can make an instant, winning rapport with hiring managers at a job fair …
1. Research and find relevant facts about employers before meeting them.
All job fairs publish a list of participating employers before the event, which eliminates guesswork for you. Simply research target companies until you find unusual data about them, their competitors, markets, problems, or opportunities.
2. Bring notes to the job fair.
Once you've found information that proves your interest in an employer, jot down notes on 3x5 cards (or in your PDA) and bring them to the job fair. That way, you can review your notes before talking to hiring managers, so you can make the best impression, stand out … and get hired.
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.