July 21, 2018

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Job Search Problems, Keys and Solutions

It's been said that, successful people aren't free from problems, successful people solve problems.

To be successful in your job search, you must solve problems -- lots of them -- between now and the day you get hired.

The faster and more creatively you do so, the shorter your search for work will be.

Here's the story of how one woman ran into a roadblock in her job search, with suggestions that can help her -- and you -- solve problems and get hired faster.

Dear Kevin,

I had an interview last Friday with an ad agency for an Account Executive position. The main partner got stuck in traffic and couldn't make it. I met with the other partner for 10 minutes, while we waited.

I hardly had a chance to talk about my qualifications. After that, I waited in a conference room for 40 minutes, alone.

Finally, they told me the other partner was not going to make it. I sent a thank-you email to the man I did meet, letting him know that I was very interested in the opportunity and that I looked forward to continuing our discussion. He emailed back, thanked me for my time, and said they'd be in touch.

I called Monday and left a message with the person who set up the interview, letting her know I would like to reschedule.

It is now a day later, and I still haven't heard anything back. What would you do if you were in my position? I don't want to be a pest.

-- Jane M. in Michigan

Here's what I suggest for Jane ...

First, these guys seem like jerks. My hunch is you won't want them as bosses.

That said, if your research, networking contacts and gut tell you that this is a place where you'd love to work, you need to try something creative to get back on their radar.

Here's an idea: You said the other partner never showed up, which means you met with only half the team, right? So let's use "one half" as a key to a possible solution.

First, I suggest you print out whatever PowerPoint presentation, case study or information you wanted to share with both partners, but weren't able to.

Then, cut the whole thing in half, from top to bottom, so they can't read any complete sentences but will get a sense for the scope of your material.

Finally, mail half of it to the partner who never showed up, with a note that says, "Sorry we couldn't connect on Friday. I met with only half your team, so I couldn't explain the many reasons why hiring me would be a terrific idea. Here's one half of what I wanted to show you -- please call me today at 313-222-7777 to arrange a meeting when I can deliver the rest of the story."

To take this one step further, you can tape one half of a dollar bill, along with a P.S., at the bottom of your follow-up letter. Write this: "To avoid traffic headaches like you ran into last Friday, we could meet at a central location. How about the Starbucks at 123 Main Street? Here's a down payment on the gas you may use driving over -- please call 313-222-7777 to arrange to meet me for the other half."

If they don't reply to this, they won't reply to anything. You can then file that company under "half wits" and move on.

Now. How can Jane's situation help you?

Here's the big idea: Inside every problem is at least one key to its solution. Your job is to find it.

For Jane, the key was one half -- that's all of the hiring team she was able to meet. I used this "half" theme to develop her follow-up materials.

Want more examples?

Here are two more ways to find the keys that solve problems in your job search.

Example #1: Let's say your problem is emailing your resume to employers. Did they get your email? Was it vaporized by a spam filter? You don't know.

So, why not print your email and mail it to the employer, with a note that ends, "P.S. -- I'm sending you this 'paper email' to make absolutely, positively sure of getting through your spam filter." (You may laugh, but I've done this to reach busy authors and company presidents -- it works.)

Example #2: The job application asks for writing samples, but you don't have any.

How about this: Call executives in the company you're applying to (or their customers or competitors!), say that you're writing a freelance article, and interview them about a hot topic in their industry. Then, the writing sample you submit will be all about the company you're applying to! (Don't laugh here, either -- one of my clients is doing that this week.)

So, if you have job-search problems, join the club. You can lie down and let them run you over. Or, you can look inside your problems for the very keys that unlock solutions -- and get you hired.

- 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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