5 alternative ways to market YOU.

cardboard boxYesterday I read about Richard Millington’s alternative approach to landing an internship with Seth Godin. Basically, Richard has gone one step further than simply sending in his CV and has created a blog to showcase his talents and – not so subtly – to let the world know that he wants to work with Seth Godin.

It’s a good idea. It’s different enough to be noticed (it’s already appeared in at least one UK national newspaper) and as Richard states, it’s also a much better vehicle for communicating character and personality than a plan old CV or resume.

Will it work? Only time – and Seth Godin’s patience (erm… he did specifically ask for a 4-page PDF) – will tell.

But in the meantime, here are 5 more alternative ideas for marketing yourself to prospective employers. Ideas that are way more creative than simply sending in your CV or resume, and which could…

  • uncover jobs which haven’t been advertised
  • impress potential employers with your initiative
  • bypass the drudge of filling in application forms
  • help you feel much more positive about your jobhunting efforts!


1) Get your walking shoes on.

Knocking on doors and asking to be considered for existing or upcoming positions takes guts, make no mistake. Usually called ‘doorstepping’, it basically involves heading to a hand-picked selection of organisations, aiming directly for the HR or personnel department (or the main reception if that fails), introducing yourself, outlining the reasons why that company should interview you, then leaving your CV or resume as a calling card.

If you’re ‘doing’ several businesses in one session, plan an efficient walking route between them beforehand. And remember to dress smartly, and be polite, personable and chatty. Finally, if no-one is willing (or has the time) to listen to you there and then, try to at least make an appointment which will let you come back and have your say.


2) Mail yourself.

No, I’m not talking about buying a big old cardboard box, taping yourself up inside, then mailing yourself to the company you’ve always wanted to work for. That would just be weird. And it would probably get you arrested.

I’m talking about applying one of marketing’s most potent methods to your jobsearch and creating a piece of direct mail that sells you – and your skills. Think about it… good direct mail always stands out. It’s memorable. It makes an impact. And if the sales message is strong enough, there’s a great chance that it will work, too.

So why not take inspiration from some of the best – and most memorable – pieces of direct mail that you’ve ever received and create a direct mail ‘pack’ that sells your skills, rather than cars, holidays, whatever – and then mail it to a hand-picked selection of the people you’d like to work for.

Remember to make it personal (address it to a ‘named’ person rather than a job title), and think about what you could include. Start with a letter, and maybe design a leaflet, include a couple of business cards, a designed and printed poster, some stickers, a reply-paid envelope, etc, etc. And if you don’t have the skills or the software to design and print any of this yourself, get a designer friend to help you out, or look online for templates or ideas.

But above all, make sure your overall ‘sales’ message is strong. Do this well, and you’ll not only be remembered, you’ll leave no doubt that whoever receives it should consider you – for an interview at the very least!


3) Add value.

Most businesses try hard to add value to their services, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t do the same when it comes to applying for a job on spec. People love receiving a little extra, whether it’s a 10% off coupon for future purchases, a unexpected free gift or just a level of customer service that totally stands out – it makes an impact and it’s very, very memorable.

You can add value to your on spec job applications by doing your research on the company you’re applying to – and then turning that research into usable ideas for new products, suggestions for new ways of working, or valuable thoughts on how customer service could be improved.

Then, incorporate all this into your application when you send it.

You’ll really need to do your homework on a company – and its customers – and you’ll need to be careful not to tread on anyone’s toes with your findings. But going the extra mile and helping make someone’s job a little easier for them could land you with a great job of your own.


4) Just ask.

Questions, questions, questions. Without them you wouldn’t get answers. And without answers to the questions you want to ask, you won’t gain the knowledge you need to get the job you want. Make sense? Good.

It’s called networking, and it can be one of the most effective job search strategies around. In its simplest form, it involves asking people to help you find a job, and asking people to recommend you to other people. It’s all about building a network of contacts, with the ultimate aim of gaining the kind of information – and reputation – that will help you get a foot in the door. Literally.

So start out by asking the people you know – family, friends, college tutors, fellow members of organisations or clubs, etc – to keep their eyes and ears open for you, and then work on increasing your network based on who they can put you in touch with.

After all, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.


5) If all else fails…

I like this one. It’s fun. And in spite of the title, it’s not a last resort technique at all.

It’s bribery.

Heh. Not quite, but where’s the problem in sending someone a little something to get you noticed? I’m not talking thousand dollar bungs, jewellry, or Rolex watches – I’m talking quirky little gifts that will make your application, CV or resume stand out from the hundreds that you’re competing against.

So… how about sending a Starbucks voucher along with your application so the recipient can "spend 20 minutes chilling out and reading your CV over a coffee"?

Or, what about sending a voucher towards an Indian Head Massage, to "relieve the stress of having to read so many rubbish applications (present company excepted, of course)"?

Or a quirky/retro toy or bag of sweets "just to say thankyou for taking the time to read your application"?

It doesn’t have to be complicated, or expensive. Just keep it simple, try to give your *cough* bribe *cough* some kind of context, and keep it lighthearted and fun.

And see where it gets you!

Healthcare – a hot growth industry?

The Daily Breeze has an article that covers the reasons why healthcare is a great career choice right now. Check it out…

Clearly, the need for health-care workers will continue to rise, largely because of two factors: Aging baby boomers will require more services, and current health- care workers will retire, leaving their jobs to be filled.

So, make sure you keep an eye out for jobs at the wurk healthcare job listings!

School holidays: how do you mix work with your kids?

painting303D3618 ccI used to love the school holidays when I was a kid. But now that I work from home and have kids, it’s a completely different story.

During term time, my kids (ages 6 and 3) are out all day at school and my time is my own, save for school runs and the like. I can get stuff done. It’s fantastic. But during holidays – like the two weeks starting from today here in the UK, for example – trying to work with any great deal of success is like wading through a vat of treacle.

It’s all… "Dad, can I have some juice", "dad, I’m huuungry", "dad, where’s my pen?", "dad, can you find my gloves so I can go outside", "dad, what time’s dinner?", "dad, I’m huuuuuuuungry"… and on and on and on…

And that’s when they’re getting on with each other. When they’re fighting it’s ten times as bad. At least.

I know I should have planned a little better for this, but I wasn’t expecting the weather to be so bad. Normally, they’d be playing outside for the two weeks and wearing themselves out, or we’d be off doing stuff together. But with the snow we had this morning (it’s April, for crying out loud!) and my current workload, that’s not happening today – and probably not tomorrow, either.

So, with that in mind, we’re spending today thinking of stuff we can do for the next couple of weeks, should the weather stay like it is. I’m thinking lots of Play Doh, paper, pipe cleaners, glue, paints, etc, etc… the messier the better. In fact – the cleaner an activity, the less likely it is to hold their attention.

So, with all that in mind, does anyone have any other ideas on how to get any work done with two housebound – and very restless – kids crashing about the place?

How do you mix your work with your kids – especially during school holidays? Let me know in the comments…

Working from Home

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been asked whether there were really real work at home jobs. There’s no easy answer to that question, but, in a nutshell, the more skills you have the better chance you’ll have of being able to find work you can do at home or of building a freelance business. You will also need a high speed internet connection, a decent computer, and good computer skills – regardless of what you’re doing.

And, if you think you’re going to get rich, the chances of that are even slimmer – don’t believe the ads you see or the forum posts you read that promise you lots of money for a few hours a day. That’s not going to happen. Carefully investigate all the job listings you find and check out companies before you apply. Here’s more information on work at home jobs and how to find them.

Alison Doyle
About.com Job Searching: http://jobsearch.about.com
Internet Your Way to a New Job: http://www.happyabout.info/InternetYourWaytoaNewJob.php
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/alisondoyle

The Home Office Project – Part 1

Working from home has its benefits, make no mistake. But unless you have an entire room (or most of a room) that you can dedicate to your home business, space will become an issue.

Trust me, it will. I work from home, and it has for me. I’ve outgrown my laptop on my knee, the kitchen table, the cupboard under the stairs – and it won’t be long before I’ve outgrown the entire living room. And it’s not as if I need the space for working. I’m a writer for crying out loud.. I shouldn’t need the space!

But I do. Because in addition to my computer and space to spread out some documents occasionally, I need room for printers and scanners, storage for books, storage for CDs, storage for client paperwork, storage for accounting paperwork, storage for… well, stuff.

So… enter my new home office. Or rather, my future new home office.

Home office interior

Yes, I know, it’s a shed. But over the next few weeks months I’m planning to transform it into a lot more than that. It actually makes a lot of sense – it’ll get all of my work stuff out of the house, it’ll give me somewhere quiet to get my head down which will definitely increase productivity, and it’ll mean I don’t lose out on the benefits of working from home (more on that to follow!).

Best of all, it’s not going to cost the earth. Why? Because I’ve already got the shed, and I’m also checking ebay daily for all kinds of insulation and security materials, including new windows and doors.

So, keep following this series of posts if you want to know the outcome – or if you just want to know how much time I end up spending down at the hospital through DIY accidents. Heh.

The work begins tomorrow…

Newcastle chippy staff have had their chips.

Clayton St. Chippy is one of two city centre businesses who are set to be fined for employing iillegal immigrants. Immigration officers recently raided the chippy, where they discovered an Afghani and a South African around the plaice (hoho).

Could be why that sausage I bought a couple of weeks ago was half-cooked – I never though of ordering in Afghanistani.

Catch more details at icNewcastle – Evening Chronicle

Rock staff outlook – not as bad as it seems?

The man tasked with finding work for the thousands of Northern Rock staff facing the axe has said the North East is remarkably well placed to handle the redundancies, reports The Journal

Alan Clarke, chief executive at development agency One NorthEast, claims there are more than 1000 financial sector jobs available in the North East right now – out of over 21,000 current vacancies in total in the region.

Mr Clark also promised Rock staff that his rapid response unit can find them all jobs – a promise backed by claims that there are plenty of financial companies looking to expand in the region and yet more that regional chiefs are trying to attract.

So, the outlook for former NR people may not be so cloudy after all.

You can read the rest of the article at The Journal

Are you a member of staff at the Northern Rock? Let us know how the situation is affecting you by leaving a comment below…

Jobs for Grads

graduateIf you’re a graduating senior or a college grad (regardless of how long ago you graduated) you should be using your college or university career services office to help with your job search. Most offices have career counselors available to assist, job and internship listings just for students and alumni from your school, and alumni mentors you can network with.

In addition, many schools can help you long distance, so don’t hesitate to ask what your career office can do for you – it’ll help expedite your search for a full-time job, a volunteer opportunity, or whatever else you might want to do after graduation. Here’s more info on how your career services office can assist.

Alison Doyle
AlisonDoyle.com: http://alisondoyle.com
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/alisondoyle
Internet Your Way to a New Job: http://www.happyabout.info/InternetYourWaytoaNewJob.php

Looking for contributors.

You might already know that the wurk network will be launching again soon. Right now, we’re looking for post contributors, guest authors and other bloggers who can contriibute high quality, informative and entertaining posts to the network.

In terms of industry-specific content, we’d love to read anything related to looking for jobs and tips and tricks on being successful in your work. And when it comes to city-specific content, we’re looking for posts on how to make the most of working in a particular city – stuff like where to find jobs, how to beat public transport so you get in on time, where to grab the best working lunches, and where’s first choice for an apres work beer on a Friday night.

You’ll receive full credit for all of your posts – including links to your own website – together with the chance to make it into our ‘Top ‘Contributors’ list which appears on EVERY single page in the network.

So, whether you’re a jobhunter, a recruiter, an HR guru, or someone with plenty of tips and tricks to share, it’s a chance to brush up on your writing skills, and get published in one of the highest-quality recruitment publications on the web.

To get started, sign up here, or drop us a line to barrybell(at)gmail.com if you want more info!