CNN.com recently spotlighted a woman who set up a website (myhusbandneedsajob.com) as a graphic illustration of how tight and desperate the job marketplace is right now. The CNN article also quoted Paul Forster, co-founder and CEO of the job search site Indeed.com, who gave advice to job seekers that they need to find ways to make themselves stand out from the crowd, instead of blasting employers with résumés. The online article mentioned that as a result, the woman's husband has received quite a bit of interest from several companies.
So what are you doing to kick up your job search a notch? Obviously, you have to get your ducks in a row by having a polished résumé, targeted job search and solid networking plan. But in this hyper-saturated job marketplace, these three approaches will only get you so far. The key is finding a way to attract attention to yourself... in a positive way.
A simple way to garner attention is to simply drop off your résumé and cover letter in person, instead of hitting ‘send’ from home. Several clients have used this approach, and gained an on-the-spot interview as a result. Employers are going to be much more likely to remember to someone they’ve met rather than just another entry in their email ‘inbox.’ Be careful, however, that your sudden appearance in the lobby with your résumé isn't misunderstood as an immediate demand for an interview. An important thing to also remember is if you are going to stop by the employer, you should always be dressed up as if you might be interviewed. Most people don't realize that the receptionist is often instructed to make notes about the appearance and demeanor of the applicant when they come into the office to either pick up or drop off application materials.
Some other creative approaches include creating a thematic approach to your submission process.
Here’s a specific example:
A client slipped his résumé and cover letter into a large manila envelope and hand-addressed it to the specific hiring manager to personalize it. On the outside of the envelope, he wrote “Confidential” - most of us would tear into something that looks that important, right? You can imagine that this immediately got the hiring manager’s attention.
It gets better. In the cover letter, his first paragraph after the contact information started out as follows:
“I’ve got a secret to confess.
For 15 years, I have had a passion for (name of industry that the company is in), and when I read about your position opening, I realized that my dream had come true.”
Catchy, huh? He effectively tied in the envelope gimmick with his enclosed career materials by mentioning “secret” to loop back to the “confidential” statement made on the outside of the envelope.
Right now, capturing employer interest in this buyer’s market requires thinking outside of the box. You’ll need to evaluate what kinds of innovative tactics you can employ (in a tasteful fashion) to attract positive attention to your application.
A good way to gain the right perspective is to gain as much insight into the company and hiring manager as possible, and then develop essentially a marketing campaign strategy targeting that audience. You could do something as simple as sending a cookie bouquet with your résumé and say that you offer a sweet opportunity to build the company revenue base.
Being creative and knowing your audience can elevate your market position with employers. Remember, your job right now is to market yourself, and by thinking strategically to boost your profile and visibility, you’ll have a decided advantage over other applicants.