Go Guerrilla: 10 Job Search Tactics that Work

Job Search Second Thoughts IICareer experts claim that only 20% of open positions are posted online. So if you want to get a job faster, become part of the 20% that is seeking 80% of the jobs… those which aren’t posted online. In other words, you must go guerrilla:

You must get creative and do things differently!

Here are ten guerrilla marketing tactics you can use in your job search:

1. Pick up the Phone!

I bet only 1% of people actually pick up the phone to introduce themselves, ask for a coffee meeting or start a conversation. This is a self-inflicted fail caused by not wanting to be too pushy. Here’s the reality, though: You aren’t cold calling for an interview or a job; you are simply starting a conversation. Don’t over think it… just pick up the phone.

When you do, put the person at ease by letting them know who referred you to them or how you know them. Did you meet at a networking event?  Did you get his or her business card at a career fair? Did you look her up in your sorority alumni directory?

Chances are they won’t answer or be interested in talking to you the first time you call.  Follow up again via email. Still no answer? Make one last attempt by emailing them a week or two later. It’s VERY normal to contact busy people a few times before getting a response. In many cases, they’ll thank you for your continued follow up!

2.  Stop Job Hunting and Start Company Hunting

The beauty of a guerrilla-style job search is that your efforts will be very targeted.  You’ve researched industries, companies and even people. You know what you want and who you want to talk to. This is not a reactive job search where you apply to 50 jobs online and sit by your phone and wait. Find companies you like, then look into their competitors and their vendors. Target companies, not jobs.

3. Send a Coffee Mug

I first heard about this idea on an awesome podcast series called “Secrets of the Job Hunt” where sending a coffee mug helped former job seeker Janet FritzHuspen land a job within two weeks.

  • If you find out about an open position you’d like to apply for, send a coffee mug along with your resume and cover letter in a box via FedEx/UPS ground so you can track the package
  • In your letter, state that you’d like to set up a time to discuss how you can contribute and add value to <company> as their <title of position you are inquiring about>
  • When the package arrives, give the person a call about 20 minutes later and say “you just got my package” and go from there

This tactic will not work every time, but word on the street is that it works almost every time.  This tactic is better suited for more creative industries and positions rather than for a old-school company.

4. Send an Article

In this tactic you are simply sending interesting articles about the company, industry, or competition via snail mail. Before sending, put a sticky note on the printed article that says, “I thought you might be interested in this.” Also, make sure to include a note that lets the hiring manager know you like their company, what you are interested in and how you could contribute to their firm. Set up free Google alerts to stay on top of the newly published articles of interest.

5. Get In Touch with ex-Employers

Most people only look at the future when conducting a job search. Therefore, you should be one of the few looking behind you. Hopefully you left your previous positions on good terms and can send a short email saying hello and letting them know you are on the market. That’s it. They have tons of clients and contacts, and perhaps they even need you back.

6. Take Advantage of Temp Jobs

Let’s say you were offered a temp position at a company you like. A lot of people would pass up this opportunity. The guerrilla thing to do? Accept the temp position and start networking with those within the company. Since you are already working on-site, it’s easy to send an email and grab coffee or lunch with those in your building. Do this throughout your temp contract, and it’s likely you’ll be offered a formal interview now that they know who you are, your work ethic, etc.

7. Start Work at the Interview

Rather than being like every other candidate, consider getting a head start on getting hired. If you’re applying to a marketing position, bring a fresh marketing campaign idea into the interview. If you are going into sales, come in with a list of leads. If you are interviewing for an editing position, bring in a copy of one of the publication’s articles with your edits.

If you haven’t been granted an interview yet, you could also use this approach by proposing an improvement or new idea and sending it to someone within the company.  This is a very proactive approach which shows the employer that you are a hard worker who takes this position very seriously. You are also adding value to the company before you even start, which is something most wouldn’t bother doing.

8. Consider Using a “Guerrilla Resume.”

Authors David Perry and Kevin Donlin of “Guerilla Marketing for Job Hunters 2.0” recommend using a resume that includes endorsements of your work in the left hand column (these quotes can be pulled from your LinkedIn recommendations) and up to 5 logos of well-known companies or clients you have worked with. Although most traditional HR folks would disagree with this approach, they feel color and visual appeal will help you land a job faster.

9. Use Twitter

I’ve personally seen what Twitter can do for one’s professional life. So why not use it to help you find a job? The catch here is: you don’t use Twitter to find a job. You use it to build relationships. Authors Susan Britton WhitcombChandlee Bryan and Deb Dib recommend thinking of Twitter like a cocktail party that you leverage to achieve your job search goals. They also suggest strategically using lists and hashtags. For more great tips, check out their book “Twitter Job Search Guide.

10. Get Smart and Get Out There

  • Read your local paper and don’t hesitate to contact those featured in the articles
  • Read popular business books; doing so will provide you with tons of conversation and examples for an interview or when meeting new people
  • Volunteer doing something you love; you never know who you will meet
  • Start a simple business while you are unemployed, you may be hired on full-time by one of your clients
  • Take a class at your local college, get more training, or obtain a certificate in something that will add value to you as a candidate.

Do you agree with using a non-traditional job search and networking approach? What guerrilla job search tactics have you used? Did they work? Let us know in the comments below!





For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Ms. Career Girl!


Ms. Career Girl


nicole emerickAbout the Author: Nicole Emerick founded Ms. Career Girl in 2008 to help other ambitious young professional women find and thrive in a career they love. Ironically, growing MsCareerGirl helped Nicole transition her own career from commercial banker to digital marketer. Today Nicole leads the social media practice at a digital agency in Chicago. In addition, she is an adjunct professor at DePaul University where she helps develop the careers of PR, Advertising and Communications students. Tweet with Nicole @_NicoleEmerick.



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