5 Great Job Hunting Strategies that Will Get You Hired

I talk a lot about business and entrepreneurship, but sometimes you just need a job. And finding a good one in a “layoff economy” is not always an easy thing. You need strategies that work and you need them now.

To start, you want to keep some essential facts about job hunting and the hiring process in mind:

  • 90% of jobs are not advertised. This is huge, and it means newspaper classifieds, Craigslist, and the big career websites are only telling you about 10% of the jobs out there.
  • There are 3 gateways to get through. The first is getting your resume looked at, the second is getting an interview, and the third is getting hired. You have to get through all 3 gateways to get the job.
  • Companies want solutions to problems. A lot of times, a company will advertise a position but end up not hiring. They end up finding another solution because they don’t just want a warm body; they want a solution to a specific problem.

Just understanding these key points is critical to your job hunting strategy. It tells you where to look for a job, and how to present yourself for maximum results. So put these 5 strategies to work and let me know how your job hunt goes …

1. Get on Top of Your World

Communication has 3 components; body language, voice tonality, and the words you use. Your state of mind affects all these things either positively or negatively, so before you even write your resume or start your job search you need to be in the best frame of mind you can be.

This means sweeping away stress and anxiety, and boosting your confidence, level of happiness, and your go-get-em attitude. Here’s a few ideas to help you pump yourself up:

  • Get active. Run, walk, bike, dance, pump some iron … anything to get your blood pumping and the “runner’s high” working in your favor.
  • Get procreative. Put together a romantic evening with your significant other and make it a night to remember. Guaranteed to make you forget everything else.
  • Have a play-day. Take the family out or go out with friends and just have a blast doing something new and fun.
  • Do something selfless. Help someone out and expect nothing in return.
  • Look good to feel good. Get a haircut or go to the spa for the afternoon. Then, buy a few new clothes to help you look your best.

2. Walk the Road Less Travelled

We know that only 10% of the jobs out there are ever advertised. We also know that 90% of the people out there are competing for those jobs; these odds are not in your favor. And getting a direct referral from someone pushes you right past gate one (getting your resume read) to gate two (the interview). It can even push you right into gate three (getting hired).

This means network, network, network and it’s how the best jobs are always found:

  • Talk to your friends and family. Hit every party and group gathering you can.
  • Play catch-up with former employers and colleagues.
  • Attend conferences and events related to your field.
  • Check out community job fairs.
  • Talk to people everywhere; the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker. Just connect, make conversation, and look for opportunities.
  • Research companies you’re interested in and start cold-calling them. Ask for the HR person, turn on the charm, and talk to them about any positions they’re hiring for.

3. It’s Not a Cover Letter, It’s a Sales Pitch

The best cover letters I’ve ever seen come from marketing people. They know how to sell it, and no matter what kind of job you’re applying for, you need to sell yourself with your cover letter.

Remember, companies are looking for a solution to a problem. And many times, if they don’t see the solution in any of the resumes they get, they just put off hiring someone. No interviews, nothing. Your cover letter needs to convey that you’re the solution to their problem.

  1. Figure out the “real” problem the company needs to solve. They might need specific expertise or experience. They might need better efficiency or higher quality. If you know the job you’re applying for well, you already understand the common pitfalls and challenges that companies are dealing with.
  2. Highlight yourself as the solution. With a few brief bullet points, talk about what you can bring to the job that will solve their problem. Don’t be arrogant or wishy-washy; be confident, factual, and positive. And describe the real benefits that hiring you brings.
  3. You’re talking about what you can do, not what you’ve done. Unless you’re name-dropping, simply refer the employer to your resume for more detail on your experience, education, and accomplishments.
  4. Close your cover letter by asking for an interview to discuss the position, restating your contact number and email address.

4. Your Resume is You

If you can’t get an interview through a direct referral, your resume has to introduce you to the employer. And you’ve got some more sales pitching to do. While your cover letter is selling the benefits of hiring you, your resume is selling the features you come with; education, experience, and key accomplishments.

Putting a resume together is pretty straight forward because it’s simply a record of what you’ve done. But keep these points in mind:

  • Keep it neat and easily scannable/readable whether it’s being read onscreen or printed out. Also, stay away from crazy fonts or anything that’s distracting from the content.
  • Fill any holes or “lost time” in your history. If you have to do this, rather than stating this year to that year, state the number of years you were employed at each company.
  • Fit in with the company’s business culture. For example, a non-union company won’t be impressed if you flaunt your union credentials. It scares them. And the opposite can also be true.
  • Tailor your descriptions of duties, accomplishments, and skills to the job you’re applying for. You want to talk about the things you’ve done that are most relevant to what you will be doing.
  • Use your references up front if it will help. Generally, it’s good practice to finish your resume with “references available upon request”. But, if there’s a chance a little name dropping will help you make a connection, include your references page as well.

5. Kick-Ass Interviewing

If you’ve gotten to the point of getting an interview, you’re more than half way there. And even if you’re up against other applicants who are better qualified on paper, the interview is about much more than that. It’s about you. It’s about what you can bring to the job. And it’s about making the employer believe in you.

  • Sell yourself first. Law 14 of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership teaches us that people have to buy into you before they buy into your ideas. An interview is that kind of feeling-out process. It’s not all business; you have to get to know each other with a little casual conversation too. Be likeable and real. Just leave your funny bone at home; some people don’t like funny.
  • Be interested. Look for things you know about when you go in. These might be customers or suppliers you’ve dealt with before, equipment you’ve operated, or a process you have experience with. Ask questions and relate your own helpful and positive experiences to those things. A little “shop talk” goes a long way.
  • Be confident. Anything you don’t know that’s part of the job is something you can learn. Anything about the job that doesn’t appeal to you is something you can change later or adapt to. Fear itself is always the only thing you need to fear. If you need a boost before the interview, hit strategy #1 quickly and go in there while you’re on top of the world.

So there you go. A job search is basically marketing. I think you can see that understanding what an employer needs will help you immensely. Looking in places where jobs are best found will also help you immensely. And being at your best throughout the whole process will help you … let’s hear it … immensely.

Now go get ’em.

33 thoughts on “5 Great Job Hunting Strategies that Will Get You Hired”

  1. Very interesting And very cogently put together. I am sure this will help many – especially at ties like this, any bit helps.
    Of course it is also important to know your domain.
    When I interview people I look for what they know (not what they don’t know). So, the interview goes like this: pick up your favourite project / subject and explain in detail. The candidate then gets about 2-3 minutes (or longer) to talk. Based on what the person has explained, I ask questions.
    I never recruit anyone who cannot explain what they have worked on (or for fresher, who cannot explain their project) in sufficient details.

  2. In todays world, getting job has became a day dream. Lots of big companies are cutting off their workers.
    These tips are useful for finding jobs. Thanks.

  3. Also, get your CV on-line, in a format that is easy to extract data from it.
    Make sure people who do find you, can contact you, but don’t add too much personal info like your full address.

  4. I used to like Craigslist for looking at new want ads for jobs, but they arent very good anymore since they started charging $25 per ad.
    Scary to go to an interview and see 5000 people there for that interview.

  5. Very useful article Shane! In my view, it is helpful for both the novice and experienced job seeker.

    Would like to add a couple of points on cover letters and the interviewing process.

    Job seekers should ensure their contact details -email, telephone, postal addresss, are clearly stated on the cover letter. When cvs are separated from coverletters, you need to make it easy for potential employers to access your details

    Increasingly telephone interviews are used to further shorten a short list. Be prepared for this and if the call is received at a time not suitable for a conversation, let the caller know this and arrange an alternative time, preferably later in the day. Useful to get their name and telephone number at that point. Many job seekers hinder themselves and prevent that invitation to the face to face interview by trying to shout above the background noise of traffic or children shouting at home. Keep it professional at all times.


  6. Hi,
    Very useful and interesting tips.
    Im only a teenager but I will need a job one day so thanks for the great ideas that may help me in the future!
    Also a thank you to veronica who also gave useful tips especially the last one.

  7. great breakdown of advice and important thinking points!

    it is also VITAL that you do due diligence in researching the prospective company so that when you walk in for the interview, you know as much as possible about the company, its culture, staff, achievements etc. this provides you with a lot of information to strike up a discussion and ask intelligent questions. very impressive.

  8. Hoong,

    That’s a very important tip. The hard part is often getting to the interview stage – you certainly don’t want to blow it if you get that far. I’d also say that doing some due diligence and reflecting that you did your homework on the company in your resume would also be very helpful.

  9. Things in the employment scenario have changed for good. And it is very important that job seekers take note.

    To research the company culture and draft a personal profile to see if the candidate/applicant matches THEIRs is critical. We still see people submitting aaplications, resumes, and cover letters where they extensively describe themselves…but what about the company team they want to join? Boy, this is a real turn off for applicant screeners.

    Forget that you are one in a million applicants. Just concentrate in finding the best match for you and the resulting energy will make the diffirence in how you approach the recruiter as well as how well the interview flows. There must be “chemistry” between the two at that point. And you, the applicant contribute 50% of that magic.

    in this economy, do not waste your time and your hopes in dead end lines and wasteful spending on miriad copies of the same resume. Instead, log the information on your computer and tailor it specifically to the job title and company when you search/apply/interview. I think everyappliacnt should undergo sort of a cleansing process where old worksites, employers, and situations are wiped out of our individual memories. being willing to start anew is a key element for success in this most competitite 21st century workplace.

    In this regard, you should consider securing the assistance of a career developer to gide you through the maze.

  10. While looking for employment, people must also spend some time in learning new approaches to job search, application and interview processing. Along with this, you must realize that job titles HAVE CHANGED and it is wasteful to look for a job that NO LONGER EXCISTS!

    Companies blend, reconfigure, and add on new duties to jobs at their will. And they also rename them at will. So applicants MUST research, conduct informational interviews, and do everything that gives them a clue as to what they may be best matched to. We must remember, HR recruiters DO NOT screen twice on the same batch. If you target job title does not add up with the information you present on your resume, they will not do a favor” to find the best match for you. It is your responsibility as an applicant “to do your homework” and not to waste their time either.

    And this goes for desperate job seekers. Applying right and left is not smart. There is no such title as “Any Job”. No joke intended.

  11. You sure have given out the real stuff as it concerns job hunting. Most guys out there ignore lots of these things. Thanks

  12. I should agree partially with what you said here, be proactive, enegertic, that are what we need in job interview. And we also should have profound knowledge in the job field and skills!

  13. Great article. I always advise job seekers to go about their search like I go about getting new business as a 3rd-party recruiter. Put on your sales hat, pick your target(s), do your research and get out there!

    I would also add that leveraging social media tools, such as LinkedIn, can be a great complement to your resume and personal networking efforts if done properly.

  14. Luv the whole thing!!!! Gave me the confidence back that I had once!! Thank you so much!!! It is so inspirational!!!!

  15. Hello,
    You have some pretty good points..good ideas, on job hunting. I think finding a good job these days is getting harder & harder. It shouldn’t be that way.

    When you live out in the country, like I do…jobs are hard to find..

  16. I absolutely love this article– too many people focus on the “easy” routes of online searching, and as you mentioned, it isn’t even CLOSE to the majority of jobs. Get out there and knock on some doors!

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