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How to Find a Job 65% Faster

Mary Berman, from Farmington Hills, Michigan, had been looking for work since February 2009 before starting a “Guerrilla” job search, in late September.

Up to that point, 20 weeks of job hunting had produced zero job interviews.

Just 7 weeks later, she accepted a job on Thursday, November 12, as a marketing executive assistant.

How did she use Guerrilla job hunting tactics to find work 65% faster?

“I saw a job advertised online and applied by mail. I sent a box with a paper Starbucks coffee cup, my cover letter, and resume inside. On the side of the cup, where it has boxes for the type of coffee, I made my own box that said, ‘Hire Mary’ and checked it with a black marker. I heard back a couple days later to get my first interview,” says Berman.

After her first job interview, which went well, Berman followed up with panache.

“It was Halloween time, so I decided to send them a chocolate covered apple with my hand-written thank-you note in a bag. I had a friend of mine, who was off work that day, take it over and deliver it to [the employer]. That was a big hit -- they were thrilled -- and I got the second interview out of it.”

Berman’s second job interview was with the executive vice president. Afterwards, she followed up diligently. “When I came home, I wrote a 30-60-90 day plan. I had taken copious notes during the interview and used that information to create suggestions for what I would do in my first 30, 60, and 90 days. I sent that to them via FedEx with another thank-you note. And I got a job offer.”

Now. Let’s break this successful Guerrilla Job Search down …

  1. Start smart

    The Coffee Cup Caper -- a paper Starbucks cup, full-color Guerrilla Resume, and a cover letter (asking to meet for coffee), shipped in a box -- gets extraordinary results. By contrast, ordinary resumes and cover letters, sent by email, get ordinary results.

  2. Follow up with style

    Delivering a Halloween treat with her thank-you note was correct seasonally, if not politically. Use good judgment before sending items that might be perceived as bribes by employers sensitive to such things, such as universities or public-sector organizations.

    In Berman’s case, however, it worked like a (chocolate-covered) charm.

    And, leaving out the gift, think of the impact a hand-delivered thank-you note can have on an employer, versus standard U.S. Mail or email. Could you arrange to have your thank-you note delivered by a courier, or a friend acting as one? Of course.

  3. Give employers another reason to hire you

    Mary did this in spades after her second interview, when she sent a written plan of action that outlined her first three months on the job.

    A 30-60-90 day plan is a way of proving you can do the work -- before you’re even on the payroll -- by describing how you would learn the job, build rapport with employees/customers, and contribute to the bottom line.

    Mary’s plan was 8 pages long and took the better part of a Friday night to prepare. (Before you balk at spending an entire evening at home researching and writing a 30-60-90 day plan, ask yourself if you wouldn’t trade a night out for getting a steady paycheck again.)

  4. Score style points with your delivery

    Mary’s first follow-up, the chocolate-apple-thank-you note, was delivered by a courier, not by email. Her 30-60-90 day plan was delivered by FedEx, not by email.

    Do you not see a pattern? Email should NOT be the delivery method for your career documents. Because you can’t delete a courier, and a FedEx envelope can’t get caught in a spam filter.

    Bottom line: This smart Guerrilla had failed to get even one job interview in 20 weeks of job hunting with conventional tactics.

After adopting unconventional Guerrilla tactics, she found work in only 7 weeks.

If Guerrilla job search methods can work in Michigan, where the unemployment rate tops 15%, they can work where you live. The only thing stopping you from thinking and acting like a Guerrilla is you.

- Kevin Donlin

Kevin Donlin is contributing co-author of "Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 2.0." Since 1996, he has provided job-search help to more than 20,000 people. For a free glimpse, visit Guerrilla Job Search System DVD.