Guerilla Job Hunting

I still advocate the use of the job hunting system in the book “What Color is Your Parachute”. These days the job hunting market is tough, Guerrilla job hunting is the added approach the extra work you have to do to get the job, you have to be tenacious bordering on obnoxious.

To start you need to be super clear on you. What do you want to do? Who do you want to do it for? What are your values? Where do you want to live? What skills do you have? How much money do you want to make? What skills do you need? You need to be crystal clear on your attributes. Plus you need to be totally clear on your capabilities and the impact your disability has on your professional work. During the hiring process if there is any misalignment with the position you’re out of the running. The job market has radically changed there are many job categories that have been destroyed and will not return. You need to know what your strengths and capabilities are and how they can be applied to things you’ve typically done and new things you haven’t done.

There are so many people going for the same job right now. There are so many super stars out on the street out of work. I read recently that there are on average at least five applicants for each and every job out there. If the unemployment rate goes up, as expected, there will be more and more competition for that one job.

Guerrilla job hunting starts with the job ad. Start by deconstructing the job ad that you’ve found on the internet, in the paper, or from a head hunter. Absolutely tear the job description apart and look at every possible angle look at things that are mentioned and things that are implied. Consider things that might not be mentioned explicitly in the job ad, these differentiators will help you to stand out against your competitors. Your challenge is to show that your are the one, the one that is best to do the job, and that your are the one where the expenditure to accommodate you, so you can work, is worth the investment over the next best candidate. Finally think about, if you are successful in the hiring process, what your first 90 days might look like on the job. Its all about impact.

Networking is everything, get signed up on the social networking sites get out there get connected. Use all the tools at your disposal research the company, look at the news articles about the company, see what people are saying. Is this a place where you’d like to work. For every job ad your networking goal is to find the hiring manager and a person in your network who knows the hiring manager.

Next, once you’ve deconstructed the job description into single salient items match your skills, experience and passions, etc. to the job description. Look at the delta between you and the requirements of the job. Look both ways, look at the skills you have and look at the experience you may have too much of. A number of recruiters I’ve dealt with recently are coaching me on reducing the number of years of experience I have on specific things, it can make you appear over qualified. Precision fit is the key. Determine the delta between you and the job, if the delta is less than 15% you have a chance with a well crafted package to get an interview. Preferably your delta to the job description is less than 10%.

Focus on business value and business benefit. When you are applying for a job, contextualize your experience in detail on:

Business Value, how you helped to avoid or reduce costs managing investment for an organization.

Business Benefit, how you added to the bottom line of the organization. This can be a risk equation of avoided expenditure or a pure profit play showing significant value you’ve added to the organization.

Do the work. With this added work you will only be able to respond to only one job ad a day. Finding a job is real work, its a full time job. Construct a new job applicant package aimed specifically at the job. Your job applicant package at a minimum includes a cover letter and a resume both customized and written specifically for this job ad. If you can cut and paste most of your resume and current cover letter to your applicant package you haven’t done enough work. Go back and do the work.

An applicant package must also contain scrubbed versions of major deliverables from your past experience. Ensure that you’ve taken the time to completely remove any reference to companies and people etc. Remove any data that could impact an organizations competitive advantage. Make sure you delete the document taxonomy as well. There must be no obvious reference to the organization you did the work for.

You can’t be lazy you will reap what you sow. Create a cover letter and resume to match the job. You must use the language, the potential employer used, from the job ad, and point for point match your skills, experiences and passions, etc. to the job description. Make sure you take every opportunity to embellish with the items you’ve read between the lines in the job description. Keep the resume to 2 pages 3 pages maximum. The cover letter must be written in a way to fascinate and keep the recruiter reading. You have maximum 6 seconds to grab and keep their attention.

Next create a cover letter that highlights your top three strength’s. You have to be very self aware and totally honest with yourself. There is no wiggle room for baffling with bull shit. Either you’ve got it or you don’t. Again if you have any doubt to your fit, forget it and find another job to apply for. Add you top three skills and achievements, highlighting business value and business benefit, showing your fit for the position. Finally add in your vision for your first ninety days on the job showing your impact in terms of business value and business benefit to the potential employer.

Be aggressive. Call to announce your application, call to follow up to ensure that your application has been received, call regularly to get an update on the process. Ask if there is anything else you can provide or anything you can do to keep the hiring process moving. Keep calling keep communicating until they say sorry no. Ultimately that’s the worst they can say is “no”. Be prepared for a “yes” remember the road to a “yes” is filled with “no’s”. Sometimes lots of “no’s”. Recently I had over 100 “no’s” to get to my “yes”.

Being a Guerrilla, using this approach, I was getting interviews when many of my peers weren’t. I was averaging three interviews a month, yes a month. The work to get those interviews was brutal. Almost as heavy as working back at Microsoft. Be prepared that getting your “yes” may require you do take a significant pay cut, move, or do things you’ve never done before. My “yes” has involved all of these things. You have to be flexible, adaptable, and be willing to go through the pain to grow and change.

The hardest part, REJECTION!!!. If your not hired for the position or if you don’t get an interview don’t take it personally. Its a sign of the times. I am a firm believer that the unemployment numbers for people with disabilities is a solid indicator on the health of the economy. When times are good I attribute at least three rejections to disclosure of my disability. When times are bad I attribute rejections first to my disability, employers are not held accountable to employment equity. Also if an employer is dedicated to employment equity when times are good their commitment wains in bad times, if you can avoid an expenditure, for accommodations, then you avoid them. If I am lucky enough to get past the disability question I attribute the rest of the rejections to the lack of precision fit.

Getting past the disability issue when times are good or bad. You have to have your shit together. You must present an honest face of passion, competence, ability, and tenacity. You have to demonstrate that not only are you the best of the best and they’d be a fool not to hire you. You have to demonstrated that your disability will not affect your job performance and the expenditure to accommodate you is worth the delta over and above the next best candidate. If you doubt your abilities to do a job don’t apply for it. If you “KNOW” you can do a job with or without accommodations go for it.

Your disability requires you to be very introspective, self aware, and honest. If you have doubts about your success in a job it will come out during the hiring process. With your disability you have the added work of knowing your capabilities and abilities. You must present this and sell this demonstrating your abilities not your disability. The trick is to get past the disability in the first 2 to 5 minutes of any interview or meeting. If you cant likely its not a place you’d want to work and you won’t get the job anyway. Disclose your disability in your applicant package. Describe the accommodations you need and why you need them to start the accommodation discussion up front. Frankly its better to be filtered out disclosing your disability on your resume than waisting your time sitting through an interview where clearly the company wouldn’t hire you because of your disability. It hurts less.

Be the Guerrilla, good hunting.

Posted in: Employment

About the Author:

Kyle has ocular albinism and has been legally blind since birth. Kyle leads a very active live and is besides his professional career involved in many projects for persons who are different.

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