Job Hunting in Tough Times
Here's how to get a job when you've tried all the normal methods.
The method is adaptable for your own situation.
It's also adaptable for self-employed people seeking work from local businesses.
In fact the method is effective for all sorts of job-hunting - especially for finding local work and for targeting particular employers - whether the economy is in recession or not.
To skip the explanation and introduction - go straight to the method.
This is a proven empowering process.
It gets you feeling good and productive from the moment you commit to it.
The method is simple, easy, and is about taking direct action, rather than waiting for opportunities to come to you, or for the economy to improve.
Employers - notably bosses and senior people - are usually very impressed by this method.
The method says a lot about you - that you are proactive, determined, and brave enough to take initiative rather than wait for things to happen or to be helped.
This job-hunting method also allows you to break free and get around the frustrations and obstacles that generally stand between job-hunters and job opportunities.
Significantly the process works because the vast majority of people who are out of work and struggling to find a job will not try to use it, including most people reading this page. If everyone used the method it would not work.
Usefully the method also defeats the habit-forming feelings of inactivity and low self-esteem arising from being out of work for long while, which can be a problem when you do meet a potential employer.
When you start to use the method you begin working full time for yourself.
Your job is finding a job for yourself.
And you keep going until you get one.
This job-hunting process is especially effective for:
- High unemployment and recession
- People who find the usual job vacancies and applications processes very difficult
- Job-hunters competing with better qualified candidates for advertised job vacancies
- Job-hunters who are fed up getting nowhere applying to job adverts and visiting the local job centre
- Job-hunters who are fed up being exploited and abused by employment agencies
- Job-hunters who want to take control and direct action - instead of listening to useless advice from government and other institutions which haven't much idea of what real life is like.
And while this method works for people of all ages, it's especially effective for young people.
If you want, adapt the process and techniques to suit your own situation.
The problems faced by many job-hunters - especially during times of economic hardship - are also the reasons that usual job-hunting methods don't work well:
- There are too many people chasing too few vacancies - the numbers are stacked against you
- There are lots of better-qualified people chasing the jobs you want - graduates chasing lowly jobs, managers chasing supervisory jobs - everyone 'trading down', which squeezes all the more typical candidates for those jobs
- Simply getting an interview is impossible because of the above
- Jobs are gone before they are advertised - someone 'in the know' always seems to hear about a vacancy before you
- Rejection is demotivational and depressing - which is unhelpful for job-hunting
- Normal methods can make you feel you have no control or influence over your life - also unhelpful for job-hunting
This is a method anyone can use. It's a simple logical process.
Aside from the process itself the main ingredients are determination and a big smile on your face.
Here's the process, first in quick summary, then afterwards in more detail.
- Adapt this special job-hunting flyer to fit your own situation. See the guide to adapting the flyer. See the notes about the free trial offer.
- Make initially about 30 copies of the flyer, because you may want to improve it after first using it.
- Personally take the flyer into local businesses/organizations - anywhere that you would be prepared to work.
- In each premises, ask the receptionist for his/her help. Explain your purpose (for example, you are determined to find work), and that you'd be grateful if he/she can pass this to the person in charge: i.e., the MD (Managing Director) or Chief Executive (CEO) or branch manager, depending on the type of organization.
- It is acceptable to ask the receptionist for guidance about the person in charge - there is no reliable way to guess the boss's job title. See the rough guide to boss job titles below.
- Ideally the flyer should be put into an envelope and the name of the MD/CEO/boss written on the front. Most business receptions will have envelopes, which is a slightly cheeky but acceptable way of saving your own costs. If the receptionist hesitates to agree to forward the flyer to the person in charge, say you'd be equally happy with it being passed to the boss's PA (Personal Assistant) or secretary.
- Try to get the receptionist's commitment in ensuring the flyer reaches the boss. This is important, or it could easily be lost.
- Keep a note of the company/organization name, and name of the boss, so you are prepared in the event of receiving a call.
- Seek feedback from people you meet while doing this. You will find many people are very supportive because you are taking matters into your own hands and being creative in looking for work.
- Refine your flyer and test different ideas.
- Stay positive and open-minded.
- Look smart and presentable. Visual impressions count. You can be called to attend a chat or interview at very short notice.
- Plan where you take your flyers to maximise your distribution. Treat it like a full time job. If you do so, you will get responses. The results you produce from this process will reflect the effort you put into it.
- If you distribute 50 flyers it is likely you will get at least one response. You should be able to distribute at least 30-50 flyers in a working day. If you plan your calls well, and are fortunate to have lots of employers close together, this figure could be more.
- You should get a job before you exhaust all the places you can take your flyers. If you don't, check your flyer and your approach by asking for feedback. Start again. You can return to places you've already visited. Persistence eventually pays. And (according to marketing theory), response rates generally improve with repeat contacts. Why else would we keep getting the same mailshots through our own letterboxes?.. The direct approach inevitably works if you do it often enough.
The suggestion to offer a free trial period raises the risk of exploitation.
Certainly if offering a free or very low trial fee you should guard against being cheated or exploited, as far as you can do.
You should also check that you are covered by your employer's insurance, since this might need special arrangement.
If you are not happy to offer to work for free for a week or two, then adapt your offering accordingly.
If you feel you are being cheated at any time, then you should walk away.
Whatever, tough times require creative and determined methods to compete with other job-seekers, and to attract the interest of employers in a highly competitive job-market.
Offering to work for free or a low fee for a trial period signals a faith and confidence, which decent employers will recognise and respect.
Some employers will insist on paying for work, even if it is offered for free.
If you are an employer and you are approached by a job-hunter offering to work for free, and you want to give the person a chance, I would urge you strongly to pay the person a fair rate for their work. It takes courage and faith to make this sort of offering to an employer. Please reward it suitably.
For many job-hunters the fundamental issue to consider is:
What else would you be doing with your time?
If not much, then why not make use of it towards getting a job.
The key elements of this flyer are:
2. Personally walk into the receptions of businesses in an area you where you could work.
Personally visiting employers' premises is a no-nonsense way to connect with organizations, so that you avoid the agencies, job centres, and job adverts that everyone else is chasing. This technique also increases your chances of hearing about new vacancies before other job-seekers. The technique identifies you as being different and more determined than other people, and many employers value this quality - especially bosses of organizations, who will remember having strived in their own early career like you are now doing.
3. In each business, ask for the receptionist's help in getting your flyer to the business chief (MD, CEO, branch manager, etc) or the chief's PA (Personal Assistant).
This is a vital part of the process. Your flyer must reach the boss, or somebody senior in the organization, or it can easily get lost among all the thousands of other pieces of paper which move around organizations every day. Reaching the overall boss (or somebody else senior, if the receptionist thinks so) is important also because many heads of businesses and organizations respond favourably to imaginative individual approaches, whereas recruitment departments tend not to, and don't have time to differentiate. Try to avoid the flyer being passed vaguely to the HR or personnel department, unless the receptionist is confident it will be given special attention. In general the technique works best if the flyer reaches the overall boss. If the boss then passes the flyer to a recruitment department it naturally tends to be treated with more respect.
4. Respond constructively to every opportunity that results.
You can be called to an opportunity very quickly. Sometimes even before you have left the premises. Many receptionists are surprisingly well-connected in organizations. In smaller companies it is not unusual for the receptionist also to be the managing director's secretary. Always be ready to react positively and enthusiastically to any opportunity that arises.
5. Continue to refine and improve your flyer based on results, suggestions and feedback you receive. Make more copies when you need them.
You will receive lots of feedback and support from people - including receptionists - while you are working on this process. People will commend and admire your initiative and determination. This feedback is good for the soul, your self-esteem, and also for refining and improving your flyer and your other techniques, especially the way you engage the receptionists' help in getting your flyer through to the best person. Identify a few places where you can make photocopies at a good price, so that you can replenish your supplies when necessary.
6. Stay positive and happy - you are now working for yourself - full time. Your full time job is finding a job for yourself.
When you commit to this process you will immediately start to feel better about things. You are now working. You are working full time - for yourself - on a campaign to get yourself a job. If you particularly enjoy the 'cold-calling' aspect of the process you could maybe consider a career in selling. There are many different sorts of selling, and cold-calling is the most potent skill of all. It underpins networking and telephone cold-calling, and generally marks out the special people who can make things happen, rather than waiting for someone else to do it. The experience of working with this process will be valuable for many other situations in your life, especially when you come to start your own business. Despite the wonders of the web and modern technology, there is still no better way to make things happen than go directly to people and communicate to them personally, what you want to achieve, and what you can do for them.
Here's a guide to job roles and titles of bosses of different organisations:
- Business/manufacturing units on industrial estates - managing director (MD)
- Public services and institutions - chief executive
- Branch offices of larger organizations - branch manager, general manager, site manager
- Shops, retail and leisure outlets - manager, general manager
- Big independent companies - chief executive (CEO), managing director
- Small companies, partnerships, sole-traders, professional services - owner, boss, managing partner, principal
- Educational establishments - principal, head
In most business/organization premises, the receptionist (or first member of staff to greet you) will generally be able to tell you the name and title of the person in charge, provided you ask politely and explain your reason for asking.