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Need a Job? Stop Trying to Storm the Fortress

With the U.S. unemployment rate just shy of 10 percent (and despite a few glimmers of hope), job-hunting right now is undeniably frustrating. In response, some job seekers set their teeth and get determined -- raining a hail of applications and phone calls down on prospective employers. Sounds like a good plan, but is it?

Blog The Wisdom Journal isn't knocking determination, but in a thought-provoking recent post they asked whether getting yourself into a siege mentality for your job hunt is really the best way to go. Forget brute force and a resume barrage, the blog suggests you get creative instead-- rather than thinking of yourself as storming the castle of prospective companies, take a lesson from the Trojan war and get crafty (no giant wooden horse required). The blog offers dos and don'ts to explain:

  • Don't just catapult your resume over the fortress walls. Use a targeted approach instead. Try going old school and sending a printed copy of your resume to the specific department head at the specific company for which you wish to work.
  • Don't use a battering ram hoping for a break-through. By using weak networking contacts, using a strong contact too soon, or relying on a contact under the wrong conditions, you can make things worse. You won't batter your way into the company so don't hope that your fraternity brother's dad can "get you a job" just because he plays golf with the CEO.
  • Don't storm the fortress by using social media. You will never force anyone to give you a job interview, even if you Facebook or Twitter them half to death.
  • DO find secret doors to get inside the fortress. Many times a company has an opening but prefers to either fill it internally or through word of mouth. Use your networking contacts wisely to find out about these positions and their requirements. Sometimes the gatekeeper is a computer set up to scan resumes looking for keywords. Make certain your resume is full of the right keywords.
  • DO make friends with the guards. Sometimes a friendly conversation with a gatekeeper can get you in the door faster than the perfect resume. It will never work against you to be nice to someone at your target company. Knowing who the gatekeepers and guards are, and befriending them puts people with subtle influence on your side, and subtle influence is one of the best kinds.
  • DO tunnel under. All the people above your target position may not be willing to listen to you or even read your resume. When all else fails, consider learning about the people below that position. Could you step back into a lower level job in order to position yourself for a promotion in a few months?
  • DO go around. Make contacts with the company's vendors, suppliers, and customers to uncover information about what's going on at your target firm. Is there a specific need that the company isn't meeting -- that would be your ideal position? Companies create new positions all the time. If this is a real, quantifiable need, you could be the solution to a problem the company didn't even know it had.
(Image courtesy of Flickr user bazylek100, CC 2.0)
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