May 14, 2015

3 Examples of Guerrilla Job Hunting

SneakThanks to massive online job databases and technological hurdles like applicant tracking systems, it is more important than ever for job seekers to find unique ways to market themselves to potential employers. Sometimes, you have to get creative.

Enter “guerrilla job hunting.”

Guerrilla job hunting is exactly what it sounds like: much like guerilla marketing, it means taking action outside the normal channels to increase your chances of getting noticed.

If you’re tired of uploading your resume into the abyss of the Internet, or you can’t wait six months for a large HR department to finally call you back, you might want to consider following these examples:

1. Go Around the Front Lines 

Have you ever tried to walk through the doors at a shopping mall on the morning of Black Friday? When you have a lot of people trying to push their way through a small entrance, you get a human traffic jam.

Some people push their way through, but many people get caught in the mob. Even worse — some people get trampled.

The same thing is true of job hunting. Trying to push through the human resources department funnel with the rest of the mob is a frustrating, unrewarding, and potentially dangerous experience.

Instead of forwarding your resume to a generic company email address, try to flank HR’s front line. If possible, avoid HR altogether.

Use a tactic that Appsumo founder Noah Kagan has successfully used in the past to land a business deal and alter it to fit your job hunt.

And how can you do that?

First, research the company for which you want to work for. Go to its website. Go to its Facebook and LinkedIn pages. Search for it on Google. Try to find out as much as you can about the company’s corporate structure.

Then, zero in on a target. Perhaps you can find the name of the person heading the department that you would like to work in.  Research this person as much as possible.

Once you find something — an interest or hobby, for example — gift the person a magazine subscription fitting that topic. Attach a nice note requesting a meeting for coffee and a discussion of potential career opportunities.

If all goes well, you might get your one-on-one meeting with a decision maker. If not, the person will still most likely forward your information to HR.

When HR receives something from a department head, there’s a much better chance they’ll take a good hard look at it, as opposed to the hundreds of digital applications and resumes they receive through email.

Mailbox2. Go Old School 

Another way to grab a decision maker’s attention and get around the electronic logjam is to go back in time.

Once upon a time, before email, there was something we simply referred to as mail; you may know it nowadays as “snail mail.”

While that might not be a complimentary name, you shouldn’t discount snail mail’s potential effectiveness. It allows you to do a couple of things that email does not.

Much like the Noah Kagan angle discussed above, using snail mail gives you the opportunity to direct your inquiries to a specific individual instead of a faceless email address. That means you should be targeting an executive or department head — not HR.

The other bonus to this strategy is that you put your resume into someone’s hands, not on their computer screen.

Have you ever noticed how salespeople like to place the item they’re selling in your hands? They do that because it’s a proven method to grab a person’s attention.

By using old-fashioned snail mail, you sidestep the mass screening process set up by HR and get your resume in front of the eyes that really matter.

3. Go Social

In case you’ve missed it, it’s fair to say that this is the age of social media. It looks like Twitter and Facebook are here to stay — at least for the time being.

Leveraging that knowledge can assist you in getting a company to notice you over the competition.Computers

Just like the previously mentioned methods, this approach starts with researching the company that you want to work for. The more you can uncover about who runs what department and what their contact information is, the better.

Once you have a nice list, you can start to form your strategy. Some of the different ways you can leverage what you have gathered on social media are:

  • Write tweets and “@” the person in charge of the department you want to work in.
  • Join any groups on LinkedIn or Facebook that you know executives or directors are members of.
  • Place ads on Facebook directed at the company or the company executives. (Warning: there is a bit of a learning curve in getting this tactic to work properly, but when it does work, it is very effective.)

Again, these ideas get you past the HR wall and in front of the people that matter — just make sure not to come off as a stalker if you choose a social media approach!

Getting noticed by those that matter is much more difficult when you try to go through the front door. By taking a guerrilla attitude to your job hunt, you are actively engaging those in charge while avoiding getting lost in the HR maze.

Read more in Job Search Advice

Tim Backes is a writer, marketer, and career counselor. A philosophy graduate from Millersville University, Tim is always looking for unique angles people can take in regards to marketing themselves and improving their careers.