June 22, 2018

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SCAMPER For Your Next Job

You can learn a lot from books.

The solution to almost any problem can be found in a book somewhere, and that includes problems you may be having with your job search.

In fact, there's one book I've used since 1996 to generate creative new ideas - at will - to produce job-hunting breakthroughs for my clients and readers.

Here's the funny part: It's not even a book.

It's a collection of 56 idea-generating cards, called, "Thinkpak: A Brainstorming Card Deck," by Michael Michalko. And it ought to be required reading for anyone in search of new ways to solve old problems.

"Thinkpak" helps you break out of habitual modes of thinking by forcing you to look at a given subject in nine different ways, arranged around the mnemonic SCAMPER.

They are: Substitute; Combine; Adapt; Modify or Magnify; Put to other uses; Eliminate; Reverse or Rearrange.

This week, I'll apply the first three SCAMPER principles to problems found in the typical job search and see what creative solutions we can come up with ...

  1. Substitute: How can you substitute something new in your job search efforts?

    Ideas: If you've been applying for advertised job openings for weeks and months with no results, what if you applied to companies without advertised job openings?

    What if you got to know decision makers at five organizations you wanted to work for, met with them, and presented possible solutions to their problems, based on your research and experience? Might they create a new job for you? Yes. It happens all the time. All you have to do is substitute the hidden job market for the advertised one.

    Could you substitute a different job title? Say, Traffic Manager instead of Production Supervisor? Or Trainer instead of Classroom Teacher?

    What if you sent your cover letter and resume to a different department, say, the Accounting Department (if you want a job in bookkeeping) instead of HR?

    Could you substitute snail mail, a courier service or faxing instead of emailing your resume? Another size or color envelope for number 10 business envelopes?

    Who else? What else? Where else? When else?

  2. Combine: How can you combine something else with what you're doing to get hired?

    Ideas: What can you combine with your resume when applying for jobs or going on job interviews? A collection of work samples from past jobs? A new mini-project -- produced specifically for the job you seek -- such as a small software program, marketing campaign or how-to guide?

    What can you combine with your cover letter? You can attach a lottery ticket, with the phrase, "Hire me and you'll never have to trust blind luck again." Or a small stone, with the phrase, "Your business is about to get rocked." Or a key, with the phrase, "Great employees are the key to higher profits." (I've received variations of each of the above in the mail, by the way.)

    How about combining a YouTube video of you giving a presentation with your LinkedIn profile by linking them to each other?

  3. Adapt: How can you adapt something else to your job hunt?

    Ideas: What have your friends done to find jobs that you can adapt to your situation? What do their resumes look like? How do they follow up with employers after submitting first contacting them? What do they do to follow up after job interviews?

    What could you adapt from the world of sales and marketing?

    How about a product demonstration, like the kind you see on QVC or at the state fair? How about giving something of value to friends, similar to how Hare Krishnas used to hand out flowers at airports, to gently "obligate" them to give you job leads in return? What if you marketed yourself to employers the way Hollywood promoted a new movie?

What could you borrow from fundraising to use in your job search? Music? Golf? TV news? Gardening? Architecture? Warfare? Internet dating?

Stay tuned next week for the remaining four SCAMPER principles to help you solve your job search problems!

- 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.

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