23 February 2011

Job-hunting in your native habitat

If Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 2.0 wants you to practice stealthy cover letter maneuvers and ninja-like resume writing, I'd rather wear a pith helmet, ready to exclaim "Crikey" like a certain Australian naturalist when first observing a dream job -- then go after it. I'm calling it my plot, prepare, pick strategy.

I didn't dress up like David Livingstone, but I did use safari-like tactics when I targeted my internship. First, I researched prospective companies in my area that fit my interests and career path. I followed them on Twitter. I read their blogs. I've created Google news alerts for them so I can track their industry activity. In short, I've stalked them like a cheetah stalks an unsuspecting antelope on the Serengeti, except I'm a lot nicer and less likely to feed on your carcass.
So how did I finally net my internship? The company tweeted about a summer internship opportunity. I mentioned the tweet in my cover letter, didn't disguise the fact that I wasn't a college student, and they seemed to respect my bluntness and acumen for Twitter. As I mentioned in a previous post, I opened my cover letter with a (true) story and set it up to explain why I should be the firm's newest intern. I also prayed a lot about it. After the interview, the firm asked me to start sooner than the summer -- immediately.

I'm using the plot, prepare, pick strategy from now on. It's given me way more options to choose from, and a chance to work at a job I love.

20 February 2011

Our Unemployed Brethren

Here's a great profile from the ranks of the unemployed. I find it fascinating that the video was posted in 2006, before the worst of the U.S. economic crisis. But the real question is, did this guy trade in his AT-AT Walker under the Cash for Clunkers program?

12 February 2011

Review: Guerrilla Marketing, Part I

I've enjoyed reading Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 2.0. The authors divide their massive job-hunting treasure map/survival guide/pep rally into four parts. Each section is packed with advice, cajoling and "Guerrilla Intelligence" sub-sections that detail self-marketing strategies. Levinson and Perry's contention is that the job market is so competitive that ordinary job-hunting strategies are defunct. Therefore, guerrilla tactics -- effective marketing principles and tech savvy -- are de rigeur. The book, published in 2009, reflects the U.S. economic climate and pessimism of the time. 

Unfortunately, at least for Part I,  the publishing date also showcases some passe technologies and applications. For example, Alta Vista is listed as a top news search engine. This may be still be true, but they didn't even appear in this article. (To be fair, the article counts both news search engines and individual news outlets as "news sites.") Personally, I hadn't been on the Alta Vista site since 2003. The authors also stress using Google apps, which by now many people have synthesized into their technological consciousness. Storing your resumes on Docs may be slightly different, but using Gmail for professional correspondence is standard procedure.

But Part I of Guerrilla Marketing does have some enlightening material. It proposes using "resume lingerie," that is, adding attention-grabbing (but truthful!) details to your resume. It encourages featuring company logos in place of ho-hum job headings, detailing specific achievements (e.g., increased sales $234,000 in a year by developing and managing 19 accounts), and crafting a personal brand. For those of us who've sat through Marketing 101, it's not shocking news, but the manner in which it's applied is refreshing.

The first part of the book inspired me to re-write my cover letter with the wisdom of my old journalism professor in mind: tell a story. A small anecdote about the names of my childhood pets (strange, but relevant to my career path) in the introduction paragraph grabbed the attention of a public relations firm. I got an interview and was offered an internship.

In conclusion, I think Guerrilla Marketing's Part I offers some great tools for re-thinking your job-searching approach, in spite of some dated apps. I'm excited to dig into Part II, which gets into more specific "guerrilla weaponry"; tackling resume and cover letter writing. 
I'm becoming convinced that I may need to be a guerrilla in my job search. Minus the camouflage.

03 February 2011

Dive! Dive! Dive!

My normal web-surfing was interrupted last night by a sneak attack. For the first time in my life, my (junk) e-mail was hacked. I sounded the klaxons and managed to lock down the attempted invasion. What does this have to do with job-searching? Don't give out a lot of information on job sites (as we've all been told), but also, don't post your resume to a thousand different sites. Pick a couple (I like Simply Hired) and choose strong passwords. For advice on that, go here. Along with net security, it'll save your sanity from checking sixteen different job boards.