June 21, 2018

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Marriage, Infomercials, and Your Job Search

Written by Kevin Donlin contributing co-author of "Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 2"

You may have heard that finding a job is like finding a mate.

But did you know it’s also like writing a sales letter?

Or producing an infomercial?

You’ll find the explanation below, along with sure-fire tips to use in your job search …

  1. Treat networking like a mating dance.

    If your networking isn’t paying off, you might try a less-obvious approach.

    Consider Bill McCausland, a marketing executive from Novi, Mich. His networking improved when he stopped asking for job leads and started asking for information.

    This makes sense, when you realize that hiring is a lot like marrying.

    Asking people for job leads at their employer, especially someone you’ve just met, is like asking someone to marry you on the first date. You look desperate, oafish.

    Instead, ask your contacts for information -- a reference or suggestion on companies you should pursue. This is more likely to lead to a dialogue, which leads to meetings with hiring managers, which leads to employment.

    That’s what McCausland did on networking web site He sent a personalized email to people who joined his network. His advice? “Write a short, 4-5 sentence message saying you are looking for career opportunities in X industry and do they have any recommendations on great companies you should research?”

    This helped McCausland, who was hired for a new job, at a higher salary, less than three months after being laid off in June.

  2. Stop sending cover letters. Start sending sales letters.

    What’s wrong with most cover letters? Consider the words “cover letter” -- they imply wrapping paper, something to tear through and discard.

    That’s not what you want.

    You want to sell employers on the idea of hiring you. And a great way to do that is to send a sales letter.

    So start learning all you can about sales letters. Read books on sales letters. Keep and analyze the best sales letters you get in the mail.

    To get you started, here’s a basic tip: Emphasize specific results in every letter you send employers.

    Example: Which of the following statements is more interesting?

    A. I’m a hard working Javascript programmer, with excellent attention to detail.

    B. You will benefit from my Javascript skills, which saved $142,590 for my last employer.

    It’s B, of course.

    The candidate who sprinkles results throughout his/her sales letter is more likely to get hired. Every time.

    That’s what Jay Robinson, from Newport, Ore., found after sending sales letters to employers earlier this year. He was hired in mid-July as a construction inspector in a county with less than 45,000 people and no large employers.

    Robinson enjoyed a 12% hit rate after sending out about 25 sales letters and landing three interviews.

    He found success this way: “I sent my sales letter and resume to an out-of-town company. One of the principals called, drove three hours to my town, interviewed me, and hired me on the spot.”

    Robinson researched the company to write a cover letter that resonated. But the kicker was his use of testimonials -- his letter included four recommendations from past supervisors, such as this one:

    “Jay is a very dedicated and conscientious worker who is always willing to lend a hand at a moment’s notice in order to get the job done.” -- John Doe, ABC Associates

    Ordinarily, you won’t find testimonials in cover letters. But they’re found in most good sales letters. Which leads to the third tactic …

  3. Include testimonials on your resume.

    Since 1996, I've urged people to include testimonials in their resumes.


    Watch any infomercial with a stopwatch and time how much of the program is straight selling and how much is testimonials from customers. It’s usually 30-40% of the latter -- or more.

    This illustrates the power of testimonials as sales tools.

    Jim Muehlbauer, of Woodbury, Minn. learned this in mid-February and received two job offers a few weeks later.

    “Both jobs had similar salaries to what I was making before I was laid off. This was extremely exceptional considering my profession currently has about 50% employment,” he says.

    Muehlbauer hit pay dirt after including recommendations (testimonials) on his resume.

    “I was told by a colleague at my new firm that mine was one of 160 resume that came in on the first day the job was posted. I asked HR if my resume made a difference, and she said the recommendations definitely caught her attention,” says Muehlbauer.

    Where can you get testimonials for your resume?

    From recommendations on your Linkedin profile, letters of recommendation, and performance reviews, to name three sources.

Now, you have a choice.

You can keep using the same job-search tactics you’ve been using up to now, and keep getting the same results. Which, if you’re reading this, probably aren’t good.

Or you can take a step in a new direction by trying one or more of these tactics today.

- 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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