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How to Find a Job 65% Faster

4 December 2009 Written by: Kevin Donlin 6 Comments
How to Find a Job 65% Faster

Mary Berman, from Farmington Hills, Michigan, had been looking for work since February 2009 before starting a “Guerrilla” job search, in late September.

Up to that point, 20 weeks of job hunting had produced zero job interviews.

Just 7 weeks later, she accepted a job on Thursday, November 12, as a marketing executive assistant.

How did she use Guerrilla job hunting tactics to find work 65% faster?

“I saw a job advertised online and applied by mail. I sent a box with a paper Starbucks coffee cup, my cover letter, and resume inside. On the side of the cup, where it has boxes for the type of coffee, I made my own box that said, ‘Hire Mary’ and checked it with a black marker. I heard back a couple days later to get my first interview,” says Berman.

After her first job interview, which went well, Berman followed up with panache. “It was Halloween time, so I decided to send them a chocolate covered apple with my hand-written thank-you note in a bag. I had a friend of mine, who was off work that day, take it over and deliver it to [the employer]. That was a big hit — they were thrilled — and I got the second interview out of it.”

Berman’s second job interview was with the executive vice president. Afterwards, she followed up diligently. “When I came home, I wrote a 30-60-90 day plan. I had taken copious notes during the interview and used that information to create suggestions for what I would do in my first 30, 60, and 90 days. I sent that to them via FedEx with another thank-you note. And I got a job offer.”

Now. Let’s break this successful Guerrilla Job Search down …

1. Start smart. The Coffee Cup Caper — a paper Starbucks cup, full-color Guerrilla Resume, and a cover letter (asking to meet for coffee), shipped in a box — gets extraordinary results. By contrast, ordinary resumes and cover letters, sent by email, get ordinary results.

2. Follow up with style. Delivering a Halloween treat with her thank-you note was correct seasonally, if not politically. Use good judgment before sending items that might be perceived as bribes by employers sensitive to such things, such as universities or public-sector organizations.

In Berman’s case, however, it worked like a (chocolate-covered) charm.

And, leaving out the gift, think of the impact a hand-delivered thank-you note can have on an employer, versus standard U.S. Mail or email. Could you arrange to have your thank-you note delivered by a courier, or a friend acting as one? Of course.

3. Give employers another reason to hire you. Mary did this in spades after her second interview, when she sent a written plan of action that outlined her first three months on the job.

A 30-60-90 day plan is a way of proving you can do the work — before you’re even on the payroll — by describing how you would learn the job, build rapport with employees/customers, and contribute to the bottom line.

Mary’s plan was 8 pages long and took the better part of a Friday night to prepare. (Before you balk at spending an entire evening at home researching and writing a 30-60-90 day plan, ask yourself if you wouldn’t trade a night out for getting a steady paycheck again.)

4. Score style points with your delivery. Mary’s first follow-up, the chocolate-apple-thank-you note, was delivered by a courier, not by email. Her 30-60-90 day plan was delivered by FedEx, not by email.

Do you not see a pattern? Email should NOT be the delivery method for your career documents. Because you can’t delete a courier, and a FedEx envelope can’t get caught in a spam filter.

Bottom line: This smart Guerrilla had failed to get even one job interview in 20 weeks of job hunting with conventional tactics.

After adopting unconventional Guerrilla tactics, she found work in only 7 weeks.

If Guerrilla job search methods can work in Michigan, where the unemployment rate tops 15%, they can work where you live. The only thing stopping you from thinking and acting like a Guerrilla is you.

Kevin Donlin is co-author of “Guerrilla Resumes.” Since 1996, he has provided job-search help to more than 20,000 people. Kevin has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fox News, ABC TV, CBS Radio and others. To learn more visit Kevin’s Guerrilla Resume website.

Kevin Donlin is a frequent Career Jockey contributor. He is also a co-author of Guerrilla Resumes. This is a recommended Career Jockey resource for writing a resume that will make you stand out and get noticed.

You can learn so much about this author by clicking here.


  • uberVU - social comments said:

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by CareerJockey: How to Find a Job 65% Faster http://ow.ly/IpUj

  • Karla Porter said:

    This gets 2 thumbs up. Being competitive doesn’t cut it, you need to work to get the job.

  • Jim Edwards said:

    Holiday Job Hunting: Fact & Fiction

    The Quiz & Answers

    Please indicate “Fact” or “Fiction” for each of the statements below.

    1. There is less competition for jobs in December.

    Fact. Competition for positions is greatly reduced because of the prevailing belief that employers don’t
    hire in December. Most of your competitors will not be looking for a job this month but look out in
    January! Many job seekers get offers they wouldn’t ordinarily get by looking in December.

    2. There are only a few positions open in December.

    Fiction. For most companies, next year’s budget is already approved. Hiring managers either want to
    start the year with full staff or have requisitions for positions that begin immediately after the New
    Year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics surveys show no pattern of a drop-off in permanent hires at year-
    end. In fact, most companies have the same number of openings at year-end as they do the rest of the
    year but they have fewer candidates. There may also be pressure to exhaust this year’s hiring budget.

    3. January is the strongest hiring month of the year.

    Fact. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, January is the strongest hiring month of the year.
    Remember, it’s the legwork done in November and December that puts job seekers in a better position
    to snag the first-of-the-year positions.

    4. Hiring managers are too busy during the holidays to do interviews.

    Fiction. Fewer business trips and daylong meetings take place in December making it easier to reach
    decision makers. Most managers have reached their goals and are at their desks planning for the New
    Year. Managers could also have tips of positions that will open after the first of the year.

    5. Calls to potential employers are not welcome during the holidays.

    Fiction. For most of the year, managers strive to screen the tide of job hunters coming their way. At
    year-end, however, that tide has thinned and hiring managers are in a more giving mood. The best time
    to call is first thing in the morning and late afternoon. By mid-day they are likely to be roaming the
    halls or taking longer lunch breaks.

    6. Holiday parties are great places to get job leads.

    Fact. Of course, you have to have your strategy well planned. Collect your holiday presents early by
    requesting job leads and referrals from your friends. Be company and department specific in your
    request naming your target company and the specific department. Get names, numbers, and permission
    to mention your contact’s name in the initial call. Appearing desperate is a downer for everybody.
    Engage in some relaxed conversation about job openings.

    Make appointments with willing friends and acquaintances for coffee or other short social meetings to
    discuss your search. Have your 90-second commercial ready along with a 60 second description of
    your ideal job. (See the “Tools” handout for more information.)

    7. Sending Holiday greeting cards is a waste of time.

    Fiction. Use your holiday cards to update friends, associates, and family on your current status. An
    upbeat note in the card will start your phone ringing. Expanding your list of card recipients will put
    your name in front of more people, possibly some that you will see at holiday parties.

    8. December is a good month to take time off from a job search.

    Fiction. The prevailing concept is that companies don’t hire during the holidays. Fact: they do!!
    Taking yourself out of the game shrinks the pool of candidates and gives someone else the edge.

    9. Traveling during the holidays stops a job search.

    Fiction. Okay, it’s a trick question. If you are already interviewing with a prospective employer, taking
    a trip is a great reason to call the hiring manager with your contact information. Another possibility is
    that your travels may take you to one of your target locations. How about calling potential employers
    ahead of time to set up visits?

    10. Taking a temporary holiday job is a bad idea.

    Fact & Fiction. Taking a temp job to fill the dwindling coffers could be necessary. Selecting that job is
    important. Many retail jobs will end after the rush and you’ve taken yourself off of the market at a
    critical time. Temp jobs with companies that are on your hit list or if the work closely matches your
    preferences and skills could be a great idea. Companies are hiring “temp to perm” more often these

  • Kevin Donlin Guerrilla Resumes and Simple Job Search Manifesto | Career Jockey said:

    […] coffee, then call to follow up. (Editor’s Note: In an previous Career Jockey article “How to Find a Job 65% Faster,” Kevin gives a detailed account of how Mary Burman, one of his clients, used this technique […]

  • The FindAJobAlready Blog said:

    101 Ways To Find A Job…

    To help you find a job, we’ve compiled a list of “101 Ways To Find A Job”. The list is at:

  • Jamie Favreau said:

    I am going to use this with the dream team I want to work for. That is the plan anyway.

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