A guy called this morning. By his very foreign accent and urgent sales pitch, it was instantly evident that this was a boiler-room call. That’s what a room full of people on phones, many in places like Sri Lanka, India and Russia, who do nothing but make sales pitches.
This guy wanted to sell me, the typical retiree sucker, some kind of useless insurance, time share or vacation plan. Or worse, if he or one of his kind of callers could get this vulnerable, addled-head senior to spell out my Social Security, credit card and/or bank account number, he could instantly rip me off.
However, as obnoxious and crooked as the guy was, he was applying the old technique that smart job-hunters use. By making 50 or 100 or 200 calls a day, he’ll hit the jackpot with two, three or four people. Too often and sadly, it only takes one good hit a day to empty out an old pensioner’s bank account of a couple thousand dollars, or sell the credit card number for other crooks to run up huge bills.
In your own honest endeavor, if you’re hurting for a job, the more places you can plant your name, or better yet, your butt for an interview, the better your chances are of getting hired. Use the same kind of persistence those hard-sell boiler room phoners apply.
Get on your phone and computer and check out every possible job opportunity that looks like it’s for you. It also applies to prospective jobs you see in the daily want ads, posted on campus bulletin boards, lists provided by your school or college career advisor or wherever. Then, by snailmail, email, fax, phone or personal visit, let the potential employers know you’re interested in the available jobs. ‘Then do it in every way that will give you the best possible shot at it.
You don’t have to be fancy with that first contact with long letters, ten-page resumes, insincere career goal statements, how you starred in the school production of “Naughty Marietta” and the rest. You know that 90 percent of those who get your message won’t even bother to respond. And if your paperwork is too long, they won’t even bother to read it.
Just list the important biography facts, and if you’re sure you have some appropriate skills and experience that can be compared to the specific job offered, that should be the most important part of your message. Get it out and fast!
Of course, when I was a job seeker, I tried every trick I could think of to get my foot in the door ahead of all the other job seekers. One way was if I knew someone who was already working there. I’d call and ask for a recommendation, and if he/she could help me make an appointment before the general interviewing began. It worked once or twice early in my career, and is always worth the try.
Showing creativity and persistence in making your bid for the job can always be a big plus in impressing the interviewer, especially if he/she will be your eventual boss. In my experience, I always admired the creative job seeker, even if he/she used unusual methods to get my attention and foot in the job door.
When I had worked my way up the ranks to become manager of an ad department of a large company, and we were always expanding, I hired an average of one or two people a month. I sought mostly entry-level college grads, with one or two years of business experience. I preferred those who had business majors, rather than grads with academic degrees. I needed writers who could sell our products, not glorify a sunny morning in May. This may disappoint my old English lit prof, but by their approach to applying for the job, I could always tell in advance if the applicant had a degree in advertising or early Irish poetry or Shakespeare’s minor sonnets.
The non-academic business-headed ones were always cocky, found unusual ways of getting to me to make their pitches and show samples. Some found my home phone number and, with appropriately insincere apologies, said they thought I’d prefer to talk away from the busy office.
Some just showed up at my office door without an appointment. One found out from a friend in my division that I was attending a concert, and she … yes, she … started up a friendly conversation with me at intermission, and just happened to bring up the subject that she was looking for a job. I hired her, and within a dozen years made it to director, then VP, and became my boss. Damn her! (just kidding, almost)
The academic grads always followed protocol, made appointments, came in with polite faces and quietly told me of their achievements, which were usually limited to excellent grades and poems published in obscure journals. I remember one was phi beta kappa, but was so shy and otherworldly, I just couldn’t imagine him writing ads for our hard-nosed products.
I’ve seen many methods of applying for jobs, and I consider anything goes as long as the result is: you get the doggone job!