Four Guerrilla Job-Search Tips from Ireland

by Donlin, Kevin Wednesday, May 19, 2010
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Sometimes the shortest route to a new job is a straight line.

That’s what one Irish “guerrilla” job hunter found in Canada, with ramifications for your job search -- no matter where you live.

This story is courtesy of Curt Bolan, a career and employment consultant at Canada-Saskatchewan Career and Employment Services, in Saskatoon.

Read on to learn four ways you can get hired faster by taking the “Irish” approach...

“It was Spring 2009 when Pat first e-mailed me, from Ireland,” says Bolan. “He and his young family were interested in opportunities in Saskatchewan, where he wanted to work as a heavy equipment mechanic.”

In June 2009, Pat flew to Saskatoon. He and Bolan met and went through his list of 15 area businesses that might be interested in hiring mechanics like him.

“Pat had put together a portfolio that outlined his work history. It wasn’t splashy, but it was illustrated with pictures of heavy equipment he had worked on in Ireland, including buses and transport vehicles,” says Bolan.

Portfolio in hand, Pat headed out to Saskatoon companies, knocking on doors and asking to speak with owners or company managers.

Employers were intrigued by Pat’s approach, according to Bolan. “Pat reported that people were quite surprised when they heard this fellow had flown all the way from Ireland to spend two weeks in Saskatchewan looking for work.”

Long story short: After a week of knocking on his list of doors, Pat was offered a full-time position as a heavy equipment mechanic with a large trucking company. From start to finish, his job search took seven days.

What can you learn from Pat’s story?

Four things.

1. Begin with clarity

Pat started with a specific job in mind and a list of 15 employers. He knew what he wanted to do and whom he wanted to do it for. Do you?

To the extent that you are clear about the job and employers you seek, you will find work faster. To the extent that you are not, you won’t.

2. Take the direct approach

Pat went after a job directly. Rather than surf the Web for jobs or e-mail his resume to HR, he knocked on doors and met with decision-makers. And they hired him. Imagine that.

Look at it this way: You can never be hired by any company without first meeting someone who works there. You can hope and pray and wait for that first meeting. Or you can make it happen and find a way to meet someone on your own terms.

That’s what Pat did. He’s working now. Are you?

3. Extreme motivation produces extreme results

With the right why, you can handle any how.

Pat flew to Canada with one goal: find a job before returning to Ireland. His choices were to succeed or fly home empty-handed. This put him in an uncomfortable spot.

Had he been comfortable, he could have taken easier actions, such as emailing resumes, checking the job boards, attending networking events, etc.

He chose massive action instead. And he got a job in 7 days.

How can you motivate yourself by making things uncomfortable?

Could you carry around a picture of your family with a sticky note on it that says, “Feed them”? Or hand your best friend a $50 bill and say, “If I don’t have a job interview by Friday, mail this to Keith Olbermann/Rush Limbaugh (pick one)”?

4. Don’t claim it, prove it

Pat brought along a portfolio, to illustrate his on-the-job achievements and prove that he could do the work he sought.

How can you prove your skills on paper? With graphs, charts, or pictures? Letters of recommendation from clients or managers?

And what about video? You can shoot testimonial videos from happy customers or supervisors, then upload them to your YouTube channel or LinkedIn profile.

More proof equals a shorter search for your next job.

Now. You may think, “None of this will work for me. I’m not a mechanic. I’m not from Ireland. I can’t create a portfolio. I can’t knock on doors.”

Horse dip.

If you are authorized to work wherever you’re looking for work, you enjoy a huge advantage over Pat, who needed visa sponsorship to get hired in Canada.

And you have his story to inspire you, a blueprint to work from.

Pat had none of that.

All he had was a clear goal for employment, extreme motivation, and a willingness to take the direct approach. All of which existed only in his head.

What’s in your head?

What will you do today to break out of your comfort zone and get the job you seek?