Detroit Woman Finds Job in Only 7 Weeks

by Donlin, Kevin Tuesday, November 17, 2009
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Gail Neal, from Detroit, Michigan, started looking for work on June 7, 2009.

From that day until September 17, when she learned about Guerrilla Job Search methods, she had zero job interviews.

After starting a Guerrilla Job Search on Monday, Sept. 21, interviews came quickly.

She accepted a new job 51 days later, on Wed., Nov. 11, in a city where unemployment tops 25-30%.

How did she do it?

1. Turn Online Contacts into Offline Opportunity


She first learned of the job opening at a Guerrilla Job Search Secrets seminar. Neal says, “I met a gentleman who’s a member of my Linkedin network, who I recognized from his photo on Linkedin. I introduced myself and he mentioned a radio station that was hiring,” she says.

Turning a contact from Linkedin into an offline encounter — and a job lead — is smart. Very smart.

(And getting recognized by people in your network is another reason to upload a picture of yourself to your Linkedin profile. “He looked exactly like his photo. I walked right up and started talking to him,” says Neal.)

2. The Trojan Thank-You Letter

To apply for the job, Neal used a small, square envelope meant for a thank-you note and inserted a Guerrilla-style resume and cover letter. “I stuffed them in there, hand-addressed it, and put it in the mail,” on Monday, September 21, she says.

The first line of her cover letter read, “Thank you for reading my letter.” Get it? This is called building a rapport with your reader — instantly.

On Thursday, she called to follow up with the employer, as smart Guerrillas do. They know that a phone call can double the response rates of any letter. In this case, according to Neal, “I didn’t get anywhere” with the phone call, because her name didn’t ring a bell with general manager.

On Friday, Sept. 25, she received a strange call back from that same general manager. “He didn’t want me to go the whole weekend without knowing that the sales manager would be calling to interview me the following week, and he did first thing on Monday morning” says Neal.

3. Smart Research Leads to Smart Interviewing

Neal proved to the interviewer that she knew enough about the company to make a rapid contribution. “I went online and found out about their corporate structure, and I developed intelligent questions based on those observations, so I was able to hold a pretty good conversation.”

The interview went well, but the hiring manager told her that they were close to making a decision to hire somebody else.

Time to give up and move on to another opportunity, right?

Wrong. Neal followed up thoroughly, because you never know what might happen. Because that’s what Guerrillas do.

“I sent a thank-you email, and I followed that up with a thank-you card [mailed] to both the sales manager and the office manager” — the two people Neal had met at her interview.

After one week, Neal was contacted by the sales manager, with news that one of his employees had resigned. Guess who was the top candidate for consideration? “He told me to talk to the general manager and I would be in,” says Neal.

(How often have you given up on an employer after a job went to someone else? Remember this word: attrition. Because “no” today doesn’t mean “no” forever.)

It turns out that, for EEOC purposes, they had to start the hiring process again for the new position, but Neal had the inside track.

4. More Research Leads to More Success

Her second interview with the employer was September 30, nine days after first applying.

How did she prepare?

“I went to the library, where I have access to the Reference USA database” of company names, and addresses. Neal looked up potential sales leads, printed the contact information, and started making phone calls. “I brought the sales leads to the second interview and actually identified people who wanted appointments,” says Neal.

This was Gail’s way of “starting work before you’re hired,” a proven Guerrilla tactic.

(Most major libraries have a subscription to Reference USA or a similar database. Call your local library or go online to find out.)

5. Give Employers Another Reason to Hire You

Neal was asked to interview again. “Between the second and third interview, I found some relevant blogs. I emailed the links to the sales manager. At the third interview, we discussed these, as well as the sales leads I had brought in before.”

Did emailing blog links give that employer another reason to hire Neal?

“I think so because it showed that I’m thinking about the industry and I’m an active player,” says Neal, who accepted her new job in sales on Wed., November 11.

Neal turned a chance encounter with someone from her online network into a live job lead by recognizing that person from his photo, obtaining a job lead, then pursuing it with creativity and diligence.

To sum up, here are the tactics Neal used to get a job in only 7 weeks, 73% faster than the average job search time of 26.9 weeks (based on US Labor statistics):

1. Nifty networking.
How smart is it to recognize someone from your online network by their photo at an offline event, introduce yourself, and come away with a hot job lead? VERY smart. (How many of your online connections have you met in the flesh this month?)

2. The Trojan Thank-You Letter, mailed with a Guerrilla Resume and Cover Letter inside. (Putting aside the creativity of this “Trojan” tactic, how many resumes and cover letters have you physically mailed this month?)

3. Research to uncover facts that lead to intelligent interviewing. (How many hours did you research and how many smart questions did you bring to your last job interview?)

4. Persist past the first “No.” Neal was actually told in her first interview that the job was going to someone else. Yet she took the time to mail thank-you notes to the hiring manager — and the receptionist. (How did you react the last time you were told you didn’t get the job? Did you let an opportunity slip away?)

5. Start working before you’re hired. Neal proved her sales skills by calling, qualifying, and delivering sales leads in her second interview. Brilliant! (What can you bring to your next job interview?)

6. Give employers another reason to hire you. Neal did this every time she contacted her target employer, until she was offered a job. (How did you add value the last time you followed up with a potential employer?)

Bottom line: This smart Guerrilla did a lot of things right and found work fast as a result.

Now you now know what she did. Will you keep doing what you’ve been doing to find a job? Or are you ready to try something different?