Looking for work? Think outside the box

Turning a ‘we have no openings” into “we’d like to create a job for you,’ isn’t a long shot. It happens all the time
Ronald J. Bourque|!!| a consultant and speaker from Windham|!!| has had engagements throughout the United States|!!| Europe and Asia. He can be reached at 603-898-1871 or RonBourque@myfairpoint.net.

A friend of mine quit his job. No doubt, that takes courage in this economy.

His company had hired him a new boss, and they were having trouble seeing eye-to-eye. Rather than pretend to go along with things with which he couldn’t agree, he quit, and I respect him for that. Very few would have had the courage to do the same.

But then he needed a new job. After some discussions with his wife, they decided they wanted to move back to Colorado. (Colorado is nice, very nice, but how can anyone leave New Hampshire?)

With the help of the Internet, it was easy to find job listings in the Fort Collins area. In fact, he found one for a company in a related industry of which he knew. He wrote a cover letter and sent his résumé.

But he didn’t stop there. He thought one of his friends in Colorado might know someone in this company, and he called to ask. It turns out his friend knew the CEO and was happy to call for him.

It turns out the CEO never saw the résumé in question and went to his HR manager to ask about it. He was told she had already deleted it, eliminating my friend from the running. Well, the CEO told her he wanted to see that résumé and asked her to get it.

So she had to call my friend and ask him to send another, which he did. The CEO told her, “Bring this guy out here; I want to talk to him.”


Mix it up


When my friend made his reservations, he gave himself a few extra days out there at his own expense. Then he started calling other companies in the area, especially those in his industry.

“I’m going to be in the area. Would you talk to me?”

“We don’t have any openings.”

“That’s OK. Let’s just have coffee and see what we can learn from each other.”

Several of those other companies agreed. Out in Colorado, he had a full schedule. He met first with the company that brought him out, and the interviews went very well.

Then he met with each of the other companies and finally flew home. As it turned out, he came in second for that first job — the one that existed. He had beat out quite a few candidates, but he was from a different, although related industry. The winner’s résumé was similar to his, but from that industry. Close, but no banana …

Several days later, one of the other companies called and said, ”We’d like to create a job for you.” He started the Monday after Thanksgiving. There’s going to be a beautiful house going up for sale in Salem.

No doubt, this approach wouldn’t work for everyone, and it wouldn’t work all the time. Finding a job today is really tough, even if you’re good. Doing what just about everybody else does will probably get you the results that just about everybody else gets.

We’re told there are eight times more people looking for jobs than there are jobs available. That means seven out of eight are losing repeatedly. In order to become one of the one-of-eight, we’ve got to mix it up a little to see if we can get things more in our favor.

And of course, when you get that interview, you want to tantalize them with stories that stimulate their imaginations on what you can do for them. Turning a “We have no openings,” into “We’d like to create a job for you,” isn’t a long shot. It happens all the time.

Such jobs are never advertised, and of course, you’re the only candidate in the running.

So what company would you like to work for? Do you know anyone who knows someone there? Will they introduce you? Try to learn as much as you can about the company, its people and what you can do for them. Who cares if they’re not hiring?

Develop compelling stories of how you’ve achieved results for others, the kinds of results you think these folks might want or need. If you can tell them something they haven’t already thought of, they’ll want you.

This isn’t easy, and it doesn’t work all the time, but you just might find it produces better results than answering online ads with nearly impossible odds.

If you’re not looking for a job, could some of this kind of thinking help you do the job you have even better?

Ronald J. Bourque, a consultant and speaker from Windham, has had engagements throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. He can be reached at 603-898-1871 or RonBourque@myfairpoint.net.

Categories: Workplace Advice