Résumés, cover letters and references are all standard items utilized in job search. Many people, once they have created these documents, believe that their work is done, and that the documents will sell themselves. While this is often true for individuals who have strong résumés and experience, it is not the case for everyone. This is especially true for individuals who choose (right or wrong) not to use cover letters.
Before (or after) frustration takes over, meet unemployment head on with targeted activities:
Guerrilla Networking – instead of meeting employers at their site to inquire about job possibilities or simply answering an ad, find the employers where they are. Local festivals are a great way to meet employers. Festivals such as Rotary Fest and Buskerfest include booths from local agencies. The Chamber of Commerce hosts Take 5 mixers specifically to facilitate networking. Employers are much more likely to have a conversation with you when they are not bogged down with their own employment tasks.
Guerrilla Interviews – when attending an interview, wow them with the additional skills that you have. Most interviewees attend with, at best, copies of their résumé and perhaps certificates. Bring to your interview a presentation to show the interviewer you are the best candidate. Items to consider are:
• Video – if possible create YouTube videos of yourself performing work/showcasing your skills. i.e. a carpenter could show create movies of how to use tools properly and safely. A counsellor could create mock counselling sessions to provide clarity.
• Paper – bring in examples of your work if possible. Photos of completed projects or an example of a proposal for government funding can showcase your skills in much better ways than words.
• Business cards/Swag – if you are in a position to spend a few dollars, consider purchasing pens and or business cards that you can leave behind with the interviewer. Keeping your name in front of them is essential.
• Role play – not everyone is spectacular at explaining their skills properly. That doesn’t mean they aren’t a spectacular employee. If the interviewer asks about how you deal with customers, suggest a role play so they can see first hand how you deal with customers. If you know that this will complement your interview ahead of time, you may wish to ask the interviewer if you can bring in a friend (or someone else from their company) so the interviewer can observe and not need to participate.
Guerrilla Job Search – find jobs for your friends at companies you want to work for. Perhaps you have always had your eye on Ontario Lottery & Gaming (OLG). If your goal is to be an Accounting Representative, but the only openings you find are Office Assistants, pass those job postings on to anyone you know who would fit the bill. The more people you have on the inside, the more likely you are to hear about job postings before they are posted.
Guerrilla Self-Marketing – in a city the size of Sault Ste. Marie, it is not difficult to have your name circulated. Of course circulation of your name should be positive, and demonstrated. An easy way to do that, is by joining Twitter and providing useful information to others in the community. Another option would be to answer editorials in the newspaper/online news sites. The more often your name appears in print, the more likely others will recognize you. I still can’t believe how many people come up to me and say, “Aren’t you from SooNews?” I write these articles once a week. One hour a week has provided me with great branding in the community.
Job search is not an easy endeavour. Simply waiting for opportunities to drop by, or only waiting for call backs from your résumé is not the way to find a job quickly. If your marketing materials are the bare minimum, prepare to be judged by them. When no one knows you, your only voice is what you give them. Make it count!