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10 ways to get a job … are you missing obvious methods?

10 power tips to get a job, job tips, improving your job search,
Are you considering multiple ways
to get a job?
Recently I realized I landed each job in my career in a different way.

What I learned may help you realize untapped job opportunities.

1) My first job was at a local newspaper selling ads and writing articles.

How I got the job: I got my foot in the door because my dad knew the editor. The pay was poor (I was terrible at sales!), but it gave me valuable experience I could put on my resume and confidence in my writing abilities.

How you can benefit: Make a list of everyone you know, including family members, and determine if they have useful contacts. Search their LinkedIn connections and ask them to introduce you to people in target companies. Learn how.

2) I wanted to work at an ad agency, but there were no openings, so I applied to be a copywriter at a now defunct discount store chain.

How I got the job: When the HR person called, I thought he was calling to schedule an in-person interview, not a phone interview. Because he caught me off guard, I wasn’t nervous even when he told me I was one of 250 applicants. I said to him, “I can’t believe you called me, I had a typo in my resume. I didn’t notice it until after I had mailed it.” He responded, “Somebody who cares enough about a typo two weeks after she mailed her resume to us is someone we want to talk to.”

How you can benefit: First, don’t be cocky about your job prospects. If you are holding out for a dream job, consider jobs that can lead to what you want. Second, vow to exude confidence on the phone and in person (even if you have to fake it.)

3) When the company moved its headquarters 40 minutes farther from my home, I sought an ad agency job.

How I got the job: I sent 20 resumes to 20 agencies. One agency called and I got a copywriter job there that hadn’t been posted.

How you can benefit: If you really want a job, work for it. Research and connect with target companies, improve your resume, write a better cover letter that explains why they need you, and keep following up until they hire you out of sheer exhaustion!

4) The ad agency was great, but business was bad, so I applied to another agency. I didn’t hear from them for months, but then the owner called and asked to meet me that afternoon.

How I got the job: Since the agency owner called unexpectedly, I didn’t have my portfolio with me; so I talked my way into the job over happy hour.

How you can benefit: You never know where your next job will come, so take advantage of every opportunity. Hand out business cards to acquaintances and prepare a brief “elevator speech” about what kind of job you want and why you are invaluable.

5) As you can imagine, a guy who hires someone over happy hour, portfolio unseen, may be a bit changeable … as I learned when he converted the ad agency into a mail processing company over a weekend! Which meant I was on the job hunt again. This time, I targeted nonprofits.

How I got the job: I saw a nonprofit job opening that wanted someone who could write, design, produce commercials, and handle much more … including being fluent in Spanish, which I was not. I applied anyway, figuring I had 90 percent of the qualifications.

How you can benefit: If you have most of the qualifications for a job opening, apply! The company may never find someone who can do it all. Also, keep in mind nonprofits may not receive as many applications as for-profit companies, so you may have less competition.

6) For a myriad of reasons, I decided to look elsewhere. I responded to a tiny blind ad for a radio station and never expected to hear a thing.

How I got the job: I was stunned when the general manager of the largest radio station in town called me about being the director of advertising, marketing, and promotion for a CBS-owned station. I was shocked when I landed the job since it didn’t really fit my background. Fortunately, he could see how my experience could benefit the station.

How you can benefit: Don’t skip over blind ads, tiny job postings, or positions that don’t entirely match your background. Adjust your cover letter and resume to play up aspects of your experience that make you right for the job.

7) The station was sold multiple times so I sought a stable corporate job.

How I got the job: I had heard negative things about the company … crazy things like they wouldn’t let you go to the bathroom. I was resistant, but applied anyway, and learned that the negative things I heard were untrue, at least in my experience.

How you can benefit: Don’t dismiss a job opportunity just because you’ve heard negative comments from a couple of people. They may be disgruntled, had a bad boss, or were bad employees.

8) I worked at the stable company for a long while, but wanted to get back into nonprofit work.

How I got the job: Remember the nonprofit job I’d left for a myriad of reasons? Well, that opportunity came calling again. One of its leaders saw me at a restaurant and told me they'd never realized how valuable I was and asked me if I would come back at a higher level. I said no, but they sweetened the pot and I went back (crazy me!)

How you can benefit: Don’t discount your good reputation! Former coworkers may remember your work ethic and help you find work or hire you back.

9) After the nonprofit stint, I sought to go back into the corporate world, but could not crack the code at a target company.

How I got the job: I expanded my LinkedIn network and took a chance … I invited a former “big boss” to connect. She was someone I thought did not like me. She soon sent me a note saying she wanted to recommend me for a job at the targeted company. As soon as she did, I was immediately contacted by the company and hired within the week.

How you can benefit: Be courageous in your networking and in building your LinkedIn connections. The people you think can hurt you may very well be the people who can help.

10) Exhausted by this drive down my career memory lane? Don’t despair. I’ve arrived at my current job.

How I got the job: I applied online, then went one step further. I typed the company’s name into the LinkedIn search box and learned the president’s name. Then I went onto Google and typed his name and “e-mail” into the search box to learn his e-mail address. I then sent him a personal e-mail. This extra step earned me an interview, and the rest was history.

How you can benefit: Don’t just apply online. Find an executive and/or hiring manager at the target company and send them an e-mail. Include your resume and other materials that can help you stand out from those that didn’t take this extra step.

There are many ways to land a job. Be sure to try every tactic!

In what unique ways have you landed a job? Share your comments!


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