For some reason, people think I’m hiring. And the more dire the economy, the more jobs I – evidently – have available.
“Any chance you could get me a job? Or at least help me find one?” wrote Maliah Scheetz in an e-mail. “I am at my wit’s end. The traditional job search does not work!”
All I can say is: How desperate must the times be when a person reaches out to a total stranger (let alone a reporter) to help him or her get work?
Well, we know times are tight. Nationally, unemployment was 6.1 percent in September.
So what advice can be given to jobseekers that hasn’t been given before? Everyone knows not to do anything silly, right?
People will do “crazy things to get a face-to-face interview,” says Mark McNulty, president of HR Dimensions in Indianapolis. Case in point: One guy sent McNulty an old shoe filled with dirt and a live plant. Stuck in the shoelaces was a resume with a note: “Now that I have my foot in the door … can we meet?”
“I’m not making this up,” McNulty says.
Everyone knows how not to get a job, right? Spell the company name wrong on the resume. Use an unprofessional e-mail address like firstname.lastname@example.org. Wear ripped jeans to the interview.
But these days, even taking the appropriate, traditional measures isn’t enough.
“I know how difficult it is to get a job,” says Albert Redd, who finds he either doesn’t have enough experience or is too qualified for every job he tries for. “If you have any information that can be a starting point, I would gladly appreciate it.”
Since the traditional isn’t working for most, why not try the untraditional?
Ditch the résumé. Instead, write an impact letter. This newfangled, one-page report highlights what you can do for a company, rather than who you are and what you’ve done elsewhere. It will take some research about the company you are applying to, but it can make you stand out.
Ask for an informational interview rather than a job interview. Show the employer you are interested in learning more about the company for the future, not because you are trying to get a job now (even though you are). This sideways method to getting your foot in the door may land you an unexpected job.
Find the phone number for the manager of the department you are applying for and call him or her. Sound too bold? Too desperate? It’s not. That person may just remember you.
Get a few good men (or women) on your side. The more people you know who know the important people at the company, the better. Don’t be shy. Call on them to put in a good word for you.