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3 Creative Job Search Tactics

It's a fact: the best jobs attract loads of competition. So it pays to do whatever you can to stand out as a persistent, creative candidate, one that any sane employer would love to hire.

But how can you do that, in this impersonal age of email, chat rooms and mega job sites?

Easy. Just do what has worked for others.

Here are 3 mini case studies from job hunters who got hired by creatively persisting and going after the positions they really wanted.

How can you emulate them?

1) Follow up creatively and get them talking

"I remember one job seeker trying to transition from geologist into a position as a copywriter in an advertising agency," recalls Elizabeth Laukka, National Recruiter for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage in Minneapolis.

"He sent me a resume and work portfolio, then a few days later sent a follow-up note with a stone attached, that read: 'I am tired of being taken for granite in my current industry,'" says Laukka.

Now, you may or may not love puns, but you have to love what happened next ...

"His persistence stood out from a creativity standpoint. But more than that, he took the trouble to find out the name of the hiring manager and sent him the same excellent resume, portfolio and follow-up rock," says Laukka.

So, not only did this candidate show creativity by sending stones in the mail, he started a conversation at the agency by mailing his materials to two people: the HR person and the hiring manager. This got them both talking to each other.

Did it work?

"We offered him the job," says Laukka.

2) Prove your enthusiasm by showing up, and showing up, and ...

Enthusiasm is a wonderful kind of wild card that can trump potential negatives in the minds of employers. And it can get you hired.

Here's proof ...

"I was hiring manager at a retail business, looking for a 'mature' individual for a customer service position," says Los Angeles-based job search expert David Portney (

"A lot of applicants came in, but none really fit. Among them was a young man named Michael. He was dressed to impress, had a charming and polite demeanor, but he didn't match my 'mature' requirement, so I turned him away," says Portney.

But Michael didn't take "No" for an answer.

"A couple of days later, Michael came back, and politely asked: 'Have you filled the position yet?' I told him that I appreciated his follow-up, but that he did not fit the position. He thanked me for my time and left," says Portney.

This didn't stop Michael.

He came back a few days later ... and was again turned away. So Michael came back a third time. Mildly exasperated, Portney started to show him the door, but Michael dropped a bomb.

"He looked me in the eye and said, 'I realize I'm not the ideal candidate. But I want to tell you this -- I think this store is fantastic and I'd be very proud to work here. If you give me the opportunity to prove myself, I'll be one of the best, most reliable employees you've ever had," says Portney.

"I was so impressed that I hired him on the spot. And he proved to be a hard-working employee who delivered stellar customer service that was great for business! He even worked his way into a managerial position," says Portney

(How many times have YOU stopped at the first "No"? Michael didn't. And he got hired. Food for thought.)

3) Prove your skills by following up

If you're applying for a job in which follow-up is important, such as sales, your persistence after submitting your resume can lead to more interviews.

So says Dale Gustafson, Manager for Bloomington, Minn.-based Management Recruiters International.

"For individuals applying for a sales job, tracking down the hiring authority and calling them can be effective. Because any good sales person should excel at finding and cold calling decision makers. So if I am recruiting on a sales position and I get a call from someone who has submitted a resume, I will take the call," says Gustafson.

Does it work?

"I have submitted sales candidates to clients that I otherwise would not have, because they called me following up on their resume. Of course, the candidate must say more than, 'What's happening with my resume?' I expect a polished sales presentation about why they feel this may be the right position for them," says Gustafson.

So there you have it. Three success stories you can learn from to find your next job faster.

Now, go out and make your own luck!

Kevin Donlin is President of Guaranteed Resumes. Since 1996, he and his team have provided resumes, cover letters and online job-search assistance to clients in all 50 states and 23 countries. Kevin has been interviewed by USA Today, CBS MarketWatch, The Wall Street Journal's National Business Employment Weekly, CBS Radio, and many others.

As a reader of this publication, you're eligible for a special offer. Get your Free Job Search Kit ($25.00 value) at the Guaranteed Resumes Web site -

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