May 20, 2018

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From Mired to Hired: Another Guerrilla Job Search Success

You might think there’s never been a worse time to look for work in the traditional job market, with unemployment at 10.4% and no relief in sight.

But you would be only half right.

While there’s never been a worse time for traditional job-search methods, “Guerrilla” job hunters are enjoying consistent success -- even in today’s awful economy.


Because Guerrillas choose not to participate in the recession.

To illustrate, here’s a recent story from our client files: Steve Cobain, from Pittsburgh, Penn.

Cobain was laid off as a financial services executive in December 2008, after which, he followed the standard advice given by a well-known outplacement firm. “They introduced me to the ‘new age’ of job search, which was mainly Internet-based. It focused on getting a resume out, playing a numbers game, going through advertised positions. And it was a very frustrating process,” he says.

How frustrating?

“In nine months, I looked on all the employment web sites, responded to 400 advertised openings and sent out about 1,500 resumes by email,” says Cobain. “That produced four job interviews and no offers.”

Frustrating, yes. And all too-common. Repeat after me: If you do what everyone else is doing to look for work, you’ll get results like everyone else is getting.

And everyone else is taking 29.7 weeks -- about 7 months -- to find a job, according to February 2010 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which tracks the average length of unemployment.

So, Cobain changed his job-search strategy and decided to “go Guerrilla” in December 2009, one year after being displaced.

He did five things differently. And he got six job offers in only six weeks. He’s now working again.

Want to know what he did?

  1. Write a job shopping list

    Most people take the “blind archery” approach to job hunting: They think, if they respond to enough postings and fire off enough resumes, they’ll hit the target eventually.

    That’s what Cobain was taught in outplacement. But 1,500 resumes later, he had nothing to show for it.

    Guerrillas know better. They create a targeted list of 10-20 employers, then go after them systematically.

    What, you say? Your ideal employer isn’t hiring? Doesn’t matter.

    Because the one-word antidote to a hiring freeze is “attrition.”

    Guerrillas know that companies lose workers every day, week, or month, through resignations, death, or layoffs. By focusing their efforts on a shortlist of employers, Guerrillas contact hiring managers enough times to stay top of mind until a position opens up or is created for them.

  2. Create a Guerrilla Resume

    Ordinary black-and-white resumes, no matter how well-written, get ordinary results.

    Guerrilla Resumes, using color graphics and logos, along with short quotes from past clients or managers, get extraordinary results, as Cobain found.

    “Virtually everybody commented on the creativity of the Guerrilla Resume,” he says. “I had several people tell me that, instead of the position I was interviewing for, they should hire me into their marketing or PR group.”

  3. Tell your network how to help

    Guerrillas know that people in your network will help you, if tell them exactly what to do.

    Cobain got job leads for several weeks after sending a “chain email” to friends and past co-workers that said, in effect, “Here are the 10 employers I want to work for. Who do you know that I should be talking to there? And could you please forward this email to 10 other people?”

  4. Get names of hiring managers

    Cobain used online tools like LinkedIn and Zoominfo to find the names of executives who could either hire him for an unadvertised position or create one for him.

    In most cases, they were VPs or CEOs at his target employers. In no cases where they HR people. Because hiring managers give orders on when and how to create jobs. HR managers only follow those orders.

  5. Contact hiring managers, Guerrilla-style

    Cobain used the Guerrilla “Coffee Cup Caper” with excellent results.

    He inserted his Guerrilla Resume in a coffee cup, wrote a cover letter asking to meet for coffee, then sent all three in a box addressed by name to the hiring manager.

    “I had numerous comments congratulating me on the creativity about how my resume arrived,” says Cobain. “Several people asked: ‘How did you find me? I usually don’t get resumes. How did you know I was the person you needed to come to?’”

So, what were the final results?

Cobain’s Guerrilla job search produced eight interviews, six offers, and a new job as a VP close to his Pittsburgh home -- in six weeks. He started work on February 22, 2010.

Now, go out and make your own luck.

Kevin Donlin is author of "Guerrilla Resumes." To learn how people are getting hired for new jobs in 30 days or less, please visit:

Best regards,

Kevin Donlin, Co-Director Guerrilla Job Search International

Phone: 952.946.7952 -- Fax: 952.941.7258 7455 France Ave. S., #263, Edina, MN 55435

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