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Three Job Search Lessons from Two Californians

Written by Kevin Donlin Author of Guerrilla Resumes

While in California last week to deliver a job-search seminar, I met two people with stories that could help you get hired faster by doing a few things differently.

Their two stories are below.

What can you learn from each?

  1. Turn online job postings into in-person interviews

    Matthew Ringue, a Career Services Advisor for Heald College in Concord, Calif., got hired by his current employer after doing something unexpected.

    "I saw an ad online for a position as an admissions advisor. I submitted my resume but I normally didn't get a response from doing that, so I decided to walk my resume in. I found the college, went up to the receptionist, and said: 'I applied for a position online and I was hoping there was someone I could talk to about it.'"

    The receptionist's reaction?

    "She said, 'Oh. Let me see if someone is available,'" says Ringue.

    It turned out that nobody was available.

    But the receptionist suggested Ringue come back the following Tuesday. Upon his return, he was again unable to meet anyone. So he politely asked for and received an appointment. On his third visit, Ringue got the meeting he wanted with a decision maker.

    How did it go?

    "Very well. The hiring manager said, 'I really appreciate your being persistent. I think it's great that you came in a couple of times and pushed for an interview,'" recalls Ringue.

    He was eventually hired, but not for the job he first applied for. It turns out that the college no longer had an opening for an Admissions Advisor. But executives were impressed enough by Ringue to hire him for another position, the one he now holds, Career Services Advisor.

    Your takeaway lesson: Always try to apply in person at an employer, even if they don't expect you.

    You can take the direct approach by walking up to a receptionist and asking for a meeting, or you can get referred by an employee first. In either case, persist until you get a meeting.

    However you do it, know that every time you meet with an employer, you'll have no competition from ordinary job seekers, who are content to sit behind a computer keyboard and fire off resumes electronically.

    Also, know this -- asking to meet an employer is not pushy or aggressive, unless you are.

    Remember why an employer buys online job postings in the first place: To hire the right people. And before anyone can hire you, they have to meet you. So, by meeting with employers -- whether they expect you or not -- you demonstrate initiative, persistence, and a bias for action. Who wouldn't want those traits in a new hire?

    Put another way, it's perfectly reasonable to take the ordinary approach and not apply in person for a job posted online. But how has "ordinary" been working for you?

  2. Look for ideal employers and make yourself "recruitable"

    Michael Florido now does videography and digital photography for his own Boj Productions, in Pittsburg, Calif.

    But some of his most-valuable film-making experience stems from a job he got two years ago at The Discovery Channel, as a production assistant.

    While the work of a production assistant may not seem glamorous, Florido relished the role. "It allowed me to learn a lot about cameras, photography, and even how to be in front of a camera," he says.

    Florido's attitude and work ethic led to later gigs on other projects. "I met a lot of important people in the business who got me a lot of work after that," he says.

    Your takeaway lesson: Actually, there are two.

    First, Florido took a less-than-ideal job with an ideal employer. The position of production assistant was not one he wanted long-term. But working at The Discovery Channel put him in contact with industry leaders who helped him find more-desirable jobs later.

    Second, Florido made himself "recruitable" by doing his job with a winning attitude. As a result, when a manager left to work on a feature film, Boj was recruited away and eventually found himself in the videography job he now holds. Mission accomplished.

The three lessons you can learn from these two job-seekers -- strive to meet hiring managers in person, consider taking less-than-ideal jobs at ideal employers, and make yourself "recruitable" -- have led to employment success in good times and in bad.

Why not give one of them a try today?

- Kevin Donlin

Kevin Donlin is co-author of Guerrilla Resumes. Since 1996, he has provided job-search help to more than 20,000 people. Kevin has been interviewed by The New York Times, USA Today, Fox News, ABC TV, CBS Radio and others. Learn more about Guerrilla Resumes

copyright (c) 2009 by Kevin Donlin