STOP Applying for a Job and START Competing for One!


Skip Freeman

Skip Freeman

Are you still applying for a job instead of competing for one? In today’s brutal job market, where there are many more job seekers than there are jobs, you better be doing the latter or you’re going to end up missing the boat entirely! Still, many job seekers apparently either don’t want to believe this, or simply choose not to believe it!

Reading comments across the Internet (such as comments on blogs or news articles), quotes in the media, callers on talk radio, etc., the laments I regularly read/hear from many, though certainly not all, of today’s job seekers go something like this:

  • Hiring companies are no longer “playing fair.”
  • It’s almost impossible to contact a hiring manager or company directly about a job these days.
  •  Hiring companies don’t really seem to care if you have a job or not. The only thing they want to know from you is, “What can you do for them!”
  •  The whole job market seems to have been “turned upside down”! What worked just a few years ago when it came to getting a new job doesn’t seem to work at all anymore! What has happened? What can I do?! Does anybody care anymore?!
  •  I am so desperate these days . . . why doesn’t somebody give me a job?!
  •  And the one that was most interesting was a comment to one of my recent blogs: “Congress should make it illegal for companies to lay people off. All companies want to do is make money. They don’t care about people.”

And, you know what? Such fears, anxieties and laments are hardly without foundation. If you are feeling this way, you are not being paranoid! This is precisely what is happening in the job market today. This precisely describes today’s job market. And, to add insult to injury, there is little chance that things are going to change for the better in the job market anytime soon, if ever.

So, it seems to me—and I hope it will also seem to you!—that today’s job seeker has essentially two choices: Revert to the “fetal position” and continue to obsess about the dismal state of affairs, blaming “them” for not “giving” you a job, or, learn how to adapt to changing circumstances, learn the NEW rules of the “hiring game”—and, yes, that’s what it is, a “game”—and then learn how to “play” by the NEW rules and effectively compete for the jobs that are available today. (Yes, you read that correctly, people are still being hired every single day, even in this extremely challenging job market!)

You Must Compete for a Job in Today’s Market!

At best, only 50% of all jobs are ever posted and those, of course, are the ones that 80% of all job seekers focus on. How to go after companies and not just jobs is covered in depth in my book, “Headhunter” Hiring Secrets, and in the other book I always recommend to job seekers, David Perry’s Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 2.0. (David is also a sponsor of this site, Put America Back to Work.)

Thus, the competition is 2-3 times heavier (and more intense) for the “posted” jobs. To effectively compete in today’s market, you must “reinvent” yourself, as well as ensure that you maintain and project a good, positive attitude. Chances are, if you’ve been unemployed for any length of time your attitude quite probably has taken a “dive.” Whatever it takes to “mask” such an attitude—if in fact you have it!—you absolutely, positively must do! Nothing will turn off a recruiter or hiring manager more than a job candidate who obviously feels sorry for himself/herself, is desperate, etc.

Let me briefly digress here to illustrate how different attitudes are among job seekers today by sharing with you two, very representative reader comments posted to an article that recently appeared on America Online about “Headhunter” Hiring Secrets: The Rules of the Hiring Game Have Changed Forever! (Article can be found at this link):

Here is the first comment, apparently from a job seeker:

“I miss the good old days. Today you have to jump through hoops for companies. Maybe it’s the red tape, maybe it’s just THEM, who knows. I’m sick of stupid tests (I get the highest scores possible and STILL don’t get the job!), drug tests, credit checks and providing my driving record for a lousy 8.00/hr job with no benefits. It is truly an employer’s market these days.”

And here is the second comment, apparently from a hiring manager:

“Getting a job is really not rocket science . . . As a former Hotel manager and now CEO, I can assure you that a hiring manager’s goal is simply to place the best candidate into any position. This means that even when a company is not officially hiring they are always looking. This is especially true in industries of high turn over. This means that individuals need not focus on getting a job, but really on constantly improving and perfecting their skill and knowledge. If you approach an employer as a charity case they will direct you to the Red Cross . . . they’re in it (business) to make money and usually age, education and experience are associated with spending it. This does not mean that you should try to appear young, stupid and less experienced, it simply means that you must illustrate how these factors will translate into saving the additional money which they may have to spend on you.”

I think you will agree that the attitudes implicit in these two comments are about as diametrically opposite of each other as it’s possible to be. Still, they are very typical of comments posted across the Internet by job seekers today in response to the many articles now appearing on the job market. Which person do you believe has the greater, better chance of being successful in finding a new job—even in today’s awful job market?

Contrary to popular opinion—and as so well and succinctly expressed by the second person’s comment—companies are not in the business of hiring people! They are in the business of making money! That means they are looking for potential employees who can either make them money or save them money, and ideally, be able to accomplish both of these things! One more thing: No company “owes” you (or anybody else) a job. A job is something that has always had to be earned in America, regardless of the state of the job market.

‘Magic’ Words? No.

Effective Tactics and Strategies? Yes! 

 Am I suggesting that, merely by having a good, positive attitude, you will be able to succeed in today’s job market? Of course not, but certainly having a good, positive attitude is essential to succeeding in any endeavor. Are there any “magic words” or “magic tactics and strategies” contained in my book, “Headhunter” Hiring Secrets, or, for that matter, in David Perry’s book,  “Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 2.0”? No “magic words,” and, while there are no “magic” tactics and strategies featured in our books, there are, however, effective tactics and strategies!

Both David and I are professional “headhunters,” and we’re in the job market every single business day. We see, very, very clearly, what’s happening in the job market today—what works, what doesn’t work. (Think about it: If we were wrong in our assessments . . . we would soon be out of business!)

Let me give you a couple of quick simple examples.

Recently I posted a job on the Internet for a position I was contracted to fill for a Fortune 500 company. I received 34 voice mails in one day. This is critical to understand…I use my voice mail as a screening tool. I never answer my phone. A candidate has to earn the right for me to call them back. My job is to find the best candidate for my client and the message the candidate leaves is actually the first step in that process—the first step in competing for the job, not applying for the job.

This is the “exemplary” way most people leave a message (that will not get returned):

“I saw your posting online and I have some questions. Please call me at 123-456-7890.”

First, which posting did you see? (I generally have over 20 positions posted at any given time.) And though you have some questions, I don’t have time to return 34 phone calls and just answer questions. Are you qualified? Do you have anything to offer my client? You are competing for my time, so you have to give me a reason to call you back.

Here is another very typical voice mail I receive:

“I saw your posting online. I have researched your company and I would like to go to work for you. Please call me at 123-456-7890.”

Well, if you “researched” my company, then you would know we are a recruiting firm and not the hiring company.

 And, unfortunately, the list goes on and on. There wasn’t a single message among the 34 that I returned. And, yes, I filled the position within a month, so a lot of people wasted a lot of their time (as well as my time) for absolutely no return.

 So, if you are among the millions of unemployed seeking to “get back in the game” today, I have some advice for you. Forget all about how the job market “used to be” because it isn’t like that anymore and it’s unlikely to ever be again, at least in the foreseeable future. Quit blaming “them” (whoever “them” is) for your not having a job. Prepare yourself to get back in the job market by competing for a job and stop applying for one.

Learn as much as you can about the NEW rules of the “hiring game,” and more importantly, how you can successfully reposition yourself to effectively compete in the game. Get your hands on either my book or David’s (ideally, both) because contained in our two books are tactics and strategies that, when properly learned and then effectively employed, give you the very best chance you can have of succeeding in today’s challenging job market! Plus, visit this site often and substantially benefit from the wisdom and experience being shared by other experts on the job market.  By doing this, you have everything to gain and virtually nothing to lose! Guaranteed.

When it Comes to Job Hunting . . .‘There’s Many a Slip Twixt the Cup and Lip’

This old English proverb is an implicit warning not to take anything for granted until the end goal is actually accomplished. This advice seems especially relevant to hunting for a job in today’s challenging marketplace. Everything can seem to be going along swimmingly and then, because of some seemingly minor slip up or other faux pas, suddenly you can be totally out of the running! Sometimes, though rarely, the job candidate can quickly recover and land on his or her feet. Most candidates, though, usually land on another part of their anatomy.

Skip Freeman

Veteran “headhunter” and author Skip Freeman shares some real-life examples of this phenomenon below using excerpts from his ‘Headhunter’ Hiring Secrets: The Rules of the Hiring Game Have Changed . . . Forever!  

How NOT to answer the ‘How do you feel about relocating to . . . ?’ question.

 An extremely well-qualified candidate with a strong marketing background living in Dallas was phone interviewing with a company for a marketing role in San Francisco. She not only was well qualified, but the new opportunity would have clearly been a significant step up in her career progression.

The hiring company was willing to pay relocation expenses but they wanted to make sure that they not only chose the right candidate but that the candidate would be happy living in a new location and not quit in a few months because they were unhappy with their new location. So, toward the end of the telephone interview—which had gone quite well for the candidate up to this point—the candidate was asked, “Why would you be interested in living in San Francisco?”

Her answer?

“My husband is running around on me,” she said. “I plan on divorcing him and will live anywhere that is not Dallas.”

Needless to say, not only was that the end of the telephone interview, it was also the end of the woman’s candidacy for the position she sought!

ONE OF LIFE’S LITTLE LESSONS: Keep your personal business to yourself or you will raise all kinds of “red flags” in a hiring manager’s mind and be IMMEDIATELY eliminated from further consideration for virtually any job you are pursuing in today’s tough job market!

 Wear your ‘school colors’ on game day, not on job interviews!

A top-notch candidate I was presenting to a Fortune 500 company for a sales position had literally sailed through both the telephone interview and the first-time, face-to-face interview at the company’s headquarters. He was now going into his final interview and all indications were that he would be a virtual “shoo-in” for the position.

To put it mildly, I was flabbergasted when the hiring manager called me immediately following the final interview with the candidate and advised me that he wanted me to send him more candidates! Why? In anticipation and support of an important upcoming BIG game for his alma mater, the candidate had chosen to wear a bright orange shirt and a purple tie—his school “colors”—to the final interview!

Game over! (At least for the candidate. Don’t know how his school fared in “The Big Game.”)

ANOTHER OF LIFE’S LITTLE LESSONS: Always dress for a job interview like the person who can promote you! (Keep your “school colors” for game days.)

Snatching ‘victory’ from the ‘jaws of defeat’!

All faux pas made during a job interview don’t necessarily end in disaster for the candidate. Consider the plight of another candidate of ours who also was in for his final interview.

The hiring manager and one of her colleagues had taken the candidate out to lunch. He had ordered French fries with his entre. While engaged in lively conversation, the candidate reached for the ketchup and his tie, unbeknownst to him, had flown up and fallen across his plate. He proceeded to put a healthy dose of ketchup on his plate and very artistically decorated his tie along with the fries! He suddenly noted that the hiring manager and colleague were staring at him with their mouths wide open. He looked down and very calmly stated, “I like ketchup with my fries and ties.” They all laughed uproariously and he ended up getting the job.

The comment from the hiring manager was, “He remains calm and maintains a sense of humor under pressure.”

YET ANOTHER OF LIFE’S LITTLE LESSONS: Many times, having a good, healthy (and appropriate) sense of humor can literally “save the day,” particularly in stressful situations such as job interviews.

 Hey, you said it, we didn’t!

Some job candidates just seem dead set on “shooting themselves in the foot.” Take an innocent thing like an email address. I mean, how much potential damage could an email address cause a job candidate? More than you might suppose, actually.

Here are just three examples of some of the more outrageous email addresses candidates have actually used over the years when applying for positions offered by my recruiting firm:

(Sure makes you wonder how committed this person would be to the job, doesn’t it?)

(And exactly why is it that “dad” couldn’t prepare his own résumé?)

(Hmm. ‘Nuf said.)

ONE MORE OF LIFE’S LITTLE LESSONS: Everything, and I do mean everything, that you use to project your professional image when searching for a new job is crucial and important—including your email address. Select a professional one!

My name is NOT ‘Larry’!

Another of our job candidates had just finished a very productive telephone interview. In closing, the hiring manager excitedly told the candidate that he was ready to move forward and would be setting up a second telephone interview very soon. Great news!

The candidate quickly crafted and sent a very professional “Thank You” email to the hiring manager. The email started off this way:

Dear Larry,

Thank you for your time today. The more I learn about your company, the more interested I become. Based upon our conversation, the three areas where I can add value are….


The candidate

Great “Thank You” email, right? It even included a “value proposition”! Well, as it turned out, not exactly. Here is the terse email response the candidate received from the person who interviewed him:

First, my name is Ron, not Larry. Your information has been forwarded to HR and they will be getting back with you. (Of course, they never did.)

AND ANOTHER OF LITTLE LIFE’S LESSON: You would be more likely to get away with kicking a hiring manager in the shins than you would by calling him or her by the wrong name! No word in the English language is more important (or more pleasant sounding) to most people than their name, so make sure you get it right! The first time!

Be Prepared: You Never Know Who Might be Calling You!

Since the initial contact from a hiring manager or company is very likely to come over the telephone, I always advise candidates to set up a dedicated “job search” number, to answer the phone professionally (not using the traditional “hello”) and to “screen” all incoming calls, i.e., to allow calls to go directly into voice mail or to be recorded by an answering machine. Why? Because by not directly answering the telephone, if it is a hiring manager or company calling, the candidate can be fully prepared to discuss a position when he or she returns the call and not be caught “flat-footed.”

Despite my best efforts, though, some candidates still don’t seem to understand the importance of my suggested approach. One exceptional candidate comes immediately to mind.

She was attending her son’s soccer game when a hiring manager called. The hiring manager repeatedly tried to make the woman understand who he was and why he was calling, but as he related to me later, the crowd noise in the background prevented him from succeeding. When the candidate finally shouted over the phone, “I can’t hear you! I am at my son’s soccer game. Call me back tomorrow!” the hiring manager hung up in frustration. (He never tried to reach the candidate again.)

YET ANOTHER OF LIFE’S LITTLE LESSONS: The Boy Scouts of America have a great motto: Be Prepared. This is good advice and certainly relevant throughout the job search!

 Don’t Answer That Phone!

Oftentimes, the first contact a candidate has with a hiring manager or company comes over the telephone, I therefore advise candidates to set up a dedicated “job search” number, to answer the phone professionally (not using the traditional “hello”) and, equally importantly, to “screen” all incoming calls by allowing them to go directly into voice mail or to be recorded by an answering machine. Why? Because, if it is a hiring manager or company calling, the candidate can then be more fully prepared to intelligently discuss a position when he or she returns the call.

Despite my best efforts, though, some candidates still don’t seem to understand the importance of my advice. One recent candidate I was presenting for an important middle management position with a top company comes immediately to mind.

She was attending her son’s soccer game when a hiring manager called. The hiring manager repeatedly tried to make the woman understand who he was and why he was calling, but as he related to me later, the crowd noise in the background prevented him from succeeding. When the candidate finally shouted over the phone, “I can’t hear you! I am at my son’s soccer game. Call me back tomorrow!” the hiring manager hung up in frustration. (He never tried to reach the candidate again.)

YET ANOTHER OF LIFE’S LITTLE LESSONS: Some hiring managers or other “screeners” make it a point to contact candidates at “unusual” times just to see how a candidate will react to the unexpected. By “screening” calls you can prevent being caught “flat-footed”!

Using the Wrong References Can Come Back and ‘Bite’ You!

Unfortunately, some job candidates give short shrift to the references they list on their résumés. Bad move! While it’s true that references usually aren’t checked until a company gets really serious about a candidate, if those references haven’t been carefully chosen and “prepped” by the candidate, things can unravel pretty quickly and disastrously! Let me give you an example.

I was going over the résumé of a candidate for a position I was trying to fill for an international engineering company. On paper, the candidate looked excellent! My telephone interview with him also went very well. He was articulate, intelligent and obviously fully qualified for the position I was trying to fill. I was pretty convinced that I would indeed present the candidate to my client company, but first I wanted to call his references to see what others who knew him thought of him.

When I called the first person listed as a reference, told him who I was and why I was calling, he hesitated for a long moment and then said, “He told you I was one of his references? Why on earth would he do that?” After another long pause of uncomfortable silence, I asked the reference, “So this is something you would like to pass on?”

“I can’t believe he would ask me to be a reference for him!” the reference said. “Yes, I will pass.”

(So did I!)

AND A FINAL LIFE’S LITTLE LESSON: Never, never, never assume anything when it comes to a job search today, and that particularly includes whom to use as professional references!

2011 Job Market to Become Even More Competitive!

Skip Freeman

If you thought last year’s job market was tough—and it certainly was!—then brace yourself for the 2011 job market because it could shape up to be a whole lot tougher! To effectively and successfully compete in the 2011 job market you’re really going to have to “up your game”!

You’re probably familiar with the applicant-to-job-opening ratio most often cited in the media today, about 4.5 workers vying for the same finite number of job openings. While that number is ostensibly true, it nonetheless is also somewhat misleading. Actually, the number of job seekers versus the number of job openings, at least potentially, is closer to 40 to one! Yes, you read that correctly . . . 40 to one. Let me explain.

At the end of each month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) publishes a report called the Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS). This report shows how many positions were filled during the previous month, i.e., “hires,” and how many positions went unfilled. For example, in December 2010, 4.1 million positions were filled in the U.S., while over 3 million positions remained unfilled at the end of the month. (Most people are either not even aware of this “unfilled” number or, if they are, don’t realize that each month the number is as high as it is.)

At the end of January 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were approximately 139 million employed people in the U.S. and nearly 14 million unemployed people. And it is the interplay between these two key numbers that results in the oft-cited 4.5 applicants for every available job opening figure, i.e., 14 million (number of unemployed) divided by 3 million (number of unfilled positions).

What this figure overlooks, however, are the number of currently employed people who are also competing for these same job openings!

Manpower, Inc., one of the largest staffing firms in the world, does a routine survey of “worker dissatisfaction.” In the latest survey (December 2010), they reported that 84% of currently employed workers say they are ready (and willing) to “jump ship” for another position at the first  opportunity. LinkedIn did a similar survey and reported a finding of 78% who said that.

So, just for the sake of simplicity, let’s round off the percentage of currently employed who say they seek a new position to 80%. That means there are 111 million currently employed people who would like a new opportunity, i.e., 80% x 139 million = 111 million. So now, there aren’t just nearly 4 million unemployed people competing for a finite number of current job openings, there are 115 million competing for these same jobs, or nearly 40 applicants for each open position!

Sobering, alarming statistics, huh?

Why are so many of the currently employed so thoroughly dissatisfied? They say they are sick and tired of having to work virtually “24/7” doing multiple jobs for the price of one. Many, if not most, have received either miniscule raises or none at all during the last several years. They are weary of seeing their friends and colleagues laid off. They have become numb with fear themselves for their own chances of survival.

Now granted, not all will jump ship at the same time and some never will have the courage or will to make a job change—regardless of what they say.  But, as the economy strengthens (and it is) and people gain more and more confidence (and they are), more and more will begin to brave the waters and explore new career opportunities. (In the recruiting business we call this “the churn!”)

The end result, of course, is that this phenomenon doesn’t create any net new jobs. It does, however, create a much more dynamic and much more brutally competitive job market. That means that NOW is the time to carefully examine and update/refine to perfection and an unprecedented level of excellence virtually every aspect of the “product” you will be marketing in the 2011 job market—yourself. Otherwise, I can guarantee you that you will not land that new opportunity when it (or you!) knocks at the door!

Job Search Advice: Protect Your Dreams

You want it? Then go and get it.  It sounds so trite, but I heard that expression a lot from my parents as I was growing up, so the movie, The Pursuit of Happiness, cut straight into my soul when I first saw it.  EArly o in the movie, Chris Gardner [played by will smith] tells his son

don't ever let someone tell you you can't do something…. you want something go get it… period. 

In th emovie and real life, Gardner faced seemingly insurmountable odds but stuck with it and eventually got what he was after.  Throughout the movie people and circumstances were conspiring against him left, right and centre.

Now, the big question is –  is this real life or just the ONE example where this happened to work out?

Well all I know for certain is that it certainly mirrored a lot of what I went through when I first went into the recruiting business.  I could relate to a lot of the same lessons that Chris learned.  Let me explain. 

When I first got into the recruiting business, I did so because I wanted to help people.  I was such an idealist and very naive at the time 🙂 I had spent the previous year [1985] helping my friends get jobs by cold-calling employers and telling them about, "this great guy who's working in my warehouse but has an MBA and really wants to…"  I was surprisingly good at it. So after reading What Color is Your Parachute by Dick Boles and designing my own workbook and get a job system – I decided I wanted to do this for a living.  I had no clue how ruthless and cold-blooded some people really are.  Nor how much sales has to do with this profession.

I approached literally every search, recruiting and placement firm in the city. i was  summarily rejected because I didn't have any direct sales experience.   Which confused me because first I thought it was all about HR not sales and I had two degrees, my commission in the armed forces, had won 28 out of 36 district sales contest, and 3 national sales contest at the the retailer where I had P&L for 5 stores and 16.5M. 

Most of the owners I approached were down right rude to me – only a couple actually laughed. 

But I did eventually get in and my training consisted of a set of Tony Bruno tapes and two big books: The Yellow Pages and The White Pages [remember them] 🙂  It was a ruff, albeit typical, baptism into the business.  I worked in the back room.  Way back, behind the nice reception area and fancy interview offices, behind closed doors. It was what 'sales' guys refer to as a 'bull-pen' with banks and banks of telephones lined up along great long desks.  The environment was built for smiling and dialing and watching for slackers.. 

The company I first worked at burned through "counsellors" on a weekly basis.  We were all a 100% commission based.  To keep us motivated and 'dialing' I heard a daily dose of:

  • only the tough survive
  • no guts – no glory
  • the cream rises to the top, and 
  • put up or shut up

First lesson: pay attention to the 'words' and advice you let into your head. 

Guard against counsel that is presented as being in your best interest, because a lot of times it isn't.  Chris does a great job in this clip explaining that concept to his son.  You should listen to it and  internalize Chris's wisdom.  He got it right. And while not all 'bad advice' is malicious, often it's just plain wrong – no matter how pure the intentions of the person who's giving it to you.

Right now for example, if you're unemployed and looking for opportunities you may have been told that you'll have to settle for a less interesting or lower paying position because the market's just horrible. 

That type of feedback maybe coming from a well meaning spouse OR a friend who has a job, and has run out of helpful ideas and/or grown tired of your situation. 

Don't listen. Here's why.

First, the market is tough BUT the Bureau of Labor Statistic's  monthly “hires rate” has been a consistent 4 million plus since June of last year:  That means that for the last 6 months – four million people were hired in the Untied States.  I will bet you didn’t see 4 million adds did you! No — because that’s not how hiring is done anymore.

The way employers find and hire people today has changed dramatically. They hunt for talent themselves and they do it stealthily.  Moreover, employer's will continue to hire in stealth mode right through 2011.  So if you didn't know that then chances are your friends don't know that either.

But, the truth is, the way people get hired has changed dramatically.   Sort of like when job boards first came along and killed off the newspaper career advertising [circa 1989].  Today, newer techniques such as "Boolean search strings" that recruiters run through Google have changed how employers locate and attract talent/  Employers no longer need newspapers OR job boards by-in-large.

So contrary to popular opinion, there are plenty of jobs in America in the “hidden job market” – lot’s of them.  But hidden they will stay because employers fear been swamped and overwhelmed by desperate unqualified job hunters. 

So, the rules have changed.  In today’s tough job market and slow economy, job hunters need to get their head in the game.  You better be the sharpest razor in the box when it comes to finding a job because jobs today only go to the best ‘searchers – not the most qualified.  To get at these opportunities, you need to re-learn how to search and articulate their value to employers in concrete terms they can understand.

And above all else – you need to focus on the activities that keep you moving forward and that includes a healthy mind that looks objectively at the data and tries to find new ways to reach-out to employers and create a positive future.


Hardly.  I speak from experience.  Remember that recruiting firm I started talking about at the beginning?  It got way more interesting as I got in to it… 

I got married.

My honeymoon was an adventure and lot of fun.  When I returned to the recruiting agency after my honeymoon I was horrified to discover that 3 of my deals had closed while I was on my honeymoon and I wasn't going to get paid for any of it. 

You see, my boss told me behind closed doors – right after he toasted my upcoming nuptials with the entire staff – that if any of my deals closed while I was away on my honeymoon I wouldn't get credit for them. 

So I went down the hall afterwards and asked my coworkers not to tell him if that happened. They laughed.   They said the odds of any deal closing by itself – let alone mine closing- where astronomical.  I was a rookie.  And I was cold-call shy so I didn't pound the phones like everyone else everyday looking for deals.  I had my own way.

Any way, the deals closed.  They told the boss and I was fired that same day I got back – following a rather heated debate where my boss told me,  "I'd just gotten lucky, that I sucked at being a recruiter.  Never did anything the way I was supposed to and was a bad influence on the rest of the staff." 

I was stiffed for my half of the $84,000.00.   I was on 100% commission – and in 1985, $43,000 was a lot of money.  It still is!  I didn't have enough money for a lawyer and legal aid wasn't an option because I wasn't poor enough – yet!

My friends told me to throw in the towel on this and go back to retail OR worse – banking. 

Me, I thought NO WAY!  I'm a sucker for punishment.  Ask anyone that knows me, I'm always rolling a rock up a hill.  That's Just who I am – fortunately!  I wasn't going to listen to my former boss, my friends or anyone else.  I was good at this and I was going to continue doing it.  I figured if my boss was right and I'd just gotten lucky – imagine what would happen when I finally figured out what I was doing.

The only way I could fight back was to go get another job and prove them wrong.  Which I did.  And in my first year as a recruiter I took home $9,000 on $98,000 in billings.  Rookie-of-the-year I was.  Very depressing.  Almost enough to make a grown man cry. I worked 80 hour weeks to make that 9 grand. 

My wife and I lived out in the country – in a house that was 28 x 20 with no basement.  That is small.  Very small.  So small that  I had to go outside.  That's 560 square feet – smaller than most bachelor apartments.  We had one car which my wife needed because she worked nights.  I hitchhiked to work for nearly 5 months.  It was easier in the winter because I looked desperate for a drive but not dangerous in my 3-piece suit and briefcase. 

My parents told me I was crazy and my dad kept telling me I was going to be living out of a box in no time if I kept it up.  He's a Navy man who was schooled in "tuff love".  Actually, he knew exactly how to motivate me.  My new bride was nervous but supportive.

We got through it.   The 2nd year I took home $58,000.00 on $758,000.00 in billings. Not bad for a 26 year old kid.  The following year I opened Perry-Martel International Inc.

Why am I telling you this?  Because it reminds me of Chris Gardner's journey through tough times.  It reminds me of what a lot of job hunters have been going through for the last four years, and I just wanted to remind you that it can work out if you continue to press forward.

I am not suggesting you have to live in your car or a subway bathroom like Chris.  But you may have to take on a part-time job while you're looking for that full-time career.  You may have to make a few detours.  But if you keep your goal in front of you – you can make it. 

Second lesson: if you get tired with doing what you've been doing and not getting any results, try something creative like Chris. 

[Watch the movie and you'll see more than a few creative job search tactics] I won't tell you which ones I used to land that first recruiting gig… but it's in the movie!

Now I would like to tell you one of my favorite quotes. It's about Christopher Columbus – the guy who discovered America – and it goes like this:

If Christopher Columbus had turned back, no one would have blamed him. Of course, no one would have remembered him, either.

Columbus knew what he was doing. He had a clear vision of what awaited him and he stuck with it.

Third lesson: quiting is habit forming – fortunately so is sticking with a plan. 

Stick with your plan.  Stand your ground.  Focus and push Never give up.  Oh sure, you may have to go sideways occasionally but never give the goal of finding a job you absolutely love because when you do, you will never "work" another day in your life.  You will feel better about yourself too.  

And lastly – if you're feeling out of luck this week please DO remember one of my other favorite quotes – also attributed to Portuguese sailors,  

If there is no wind — Row!

David Perry


co-author, Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 2.0, co-founder Guerrilla Job Search International Inc. and managing partner of Perry-Martel International Inc.






Commando Job Search Tactic #2: Become a Guru

Guru Become a Guru.  Write and publish short articles and opinion pieces for your industry’s journals and web sites. 

Learn how to be an articulate spokesperson for your company [at least in your local market] and make certain journalists have your cell number and can count on you for a quick quote.  Ensure press releases from corporate carry your contact numbers for the local media. You can start locally by connecting with your local business journal:

Look what it did for Peter Clayton.  Of course Pete makes people into Guru's.  Maybe he should be interviewing you?

Peter Clayton





All of your efforts will get picked up by ZoomInfo… a very very good thing because ZoomInfo makes you easier to find:-)

Jim Carry demonstrating why ordinary job search coaches drive me nuts!

Few things is life bother me as much as “job search coaches”.  Don't get me wrong, I know they mean well but most are unemployed human resource professionals who are hired by outplacement firms to advise job hunters on how to follow the rules – exactly like everyone else. 

In this video clip Jim Carry demonstrates what happens when you do what everybody else is doing. 

Ordinary job search coaches are a lot like Lemmings themselves – they teach you what everyone else is doing – so you won't actually get a job any faster BUT at least you know you're doing what everyone else is.

Makes lot of sense in this market doesn't it! That model is broken. 

When you do what everyone else is doing you're one of thousands – maybe tens of thousands.  How's that working for you?  Didn't work to well for Dick and Jane.

What about doing something unique? Like maybe showing someone you're creative rather thMarkjhaluska2an just saying "I'm creative…" in your resume. You know, you're not really fooling anyone by doing that. Most people do that – write it in their resume that is.  And they figure that's enough.  Well, that probably explains why the average job search in America is 34.2 weeks.  That's a high price to pay for being average!

Are you tired of being average?  Want to spice your job search up just a little?  Won't work.  Using beige paper isn't enough – been done – to death.  You'll still look like everyone else.  That's so 2008. 

Want to know the secret to getting more interviews?  Maybe more than a few this week and a offers even?  Do something different with your time.  Try talking to Mark Haluska my friend — over at… dare I say – Psycho Ape.

Now, I admit Mark is not everyone's cup of tea.  Sometimes I find him a bit "assertive" myself.  I know, he's a veteran headhunter and retired Navy Seal [though he denies that publicly] which has left him with a bit oif an 'edge'.   And he has a down home country drawl that'll drive most "easterners" crazy— but what a track record of success.  And honestly, who better to learn from than a successful head-hunter who also coaches job hunters?  

Mark understands – what makes you stand out versus makes you look stupid. Mark knows what works and what's being done to death.  Haluska can make anyone look like a star even when they think they've done everything – followed all the rules – even figured out that there are no jobs in their city because they've sent out 1500 resumes. 

Now Mark's services aren't free — but they're way less expensive than staying unemployed – getting no where fast.  And that's where you're going to stay unless you do something different. So is today that day? 

You decide – but do ti quickly.  Check out his web site at:

Happy hunting!

David Perry, co-author Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunter, and co-director Guerrilla Job Search International Inc.

PS.  Do you know someone who did someting really creative to land an interview?  Tell me, they could be in my next book or a future article.


Commando Job Search Tactic #1: Be Hunted

  Man with bullhorn Be Hunted.  Like Google, if you don’t rank among the first 3 people a recruiter thinks of when they’re starting a project… you won’t get “clicked” for the opportunity. 

Increase your visibility and expand your network by presenting at conferences, seminars – even usergroups.  Ask to be your company’s designated speaker.  You   can have someone else write the material if need be.  Public speaking is an effective job hunting technique.  Recruiters will beat a path to your door.

It's a million times easier for yoiu to answer the phone than to try and get an employer to talk to yoiu if you're looking for one  – right!

For more great Guerrilla ideas, grab your copy of our Free Audio.

David Perry and Kevin Donlin
Co-Creators, "The Guerrilla Job Search System"



Discovering Careers to Enact Social Change

The career you choose has a tremendous impact on your life. Your job is likely to affect every aspect of your day-to-day existence. This applies to not only material things, like the car you drive or home you live in, but also to your overall sense of well-being and happiness. It is for this reason that many look for career paths that allow them to make a difference in the world. When you think of careers in social change, jobs like social worker and politician may come to mind. But in reality, almost any job can be a vehicle to enact positive social change. You just have to know how to look for the opportunity to make those changes.


Consider Your Strengths

What are you good at? What makes you happy? Think about your strengths in terms of academics, as well as your personality and character assets. If math and science are your favorite subjects, perhaps a career in medicine or scientific research would be a good place to start. If you get squeamish at the sight of blood and needles make you queasy, you probably aren’t destined for a career in direct medical practice. However, that doesn’t mean you should rule out the medical field entirely. A career counselor at your local college or job center is a good resource to help you explore some careers.


Personal Convictions Matter

In order to find a job that suits you, you’ll need to examine your beliefs. What are you passionate about? What issues and philosophies are you opposed to? Working toward social change means working to change the opinions of people or the policies of a society. You need to have a good sense of yourself and your views in order to find a career that’s a good fit for you. A disconnect between actions and personal convictions leads to being unhappy in your work, which will spill over into the rest of your life.


Where Do You Stand?

Another aspect of work that’s important to consider is whether or not you see yourself as a leader. Assess your personality. Do you love to shine in the spotlight or would you rather help out in the background? This self-knowledge will better direct you toward the type of career that will ultimately lead to contentment. Be honest with yourself. If you’re an introvert, you can still make a difference, just as there’s no shame in enjoying the limelight. It is important to know your preference.


Finding Your Calling

Now that you’ve given these matters some thought, you probably want to know where to go from here. While not all jobs for social change require a college degree, many do. At the very least, some experience, along with some specific qualities, will be necessary. There are a number of resources to help you on your way to attaining a career that makes a difference. Here are just a few:


Online Resources

  • – This site provides a large listing of jobs in the social arena, as well as lists of foundations and organizations. You’ll also find resources on volunteer opportunities and internships, as well as programs broken down by category and geographic location.
  • Opportunity Knocks – Opportunity Knocks is an online job site geared toward nonprofits. They offer a job search center as well as an area for job seekers to post their resumes. You’ll also find resources on topics related to the nonprofit sector.
  • Jobs for Change – This is a section of the website that was developed to offer information and services to job seekers looking to make social change. There is a comprehensive career advice section with articles about everything from interview tips to rocking a career fair.  A listing of job categories will guide those interested in researching career possibilities.



  • Good Works: A Guide to Careers in Social Change by Donna Colvin
  • 100 Jobs in Social Change by Harley Jebens
  • Making a Living While Making a Difference  by Melissa Everett
  • Careers for Good Samaritans and Other Humanitarian Types by Margaret Gisler

You can make a decent living while doing good for others. Keeping an open mind, combined with perseverance and thorough research, can lead you to a wide range of possibilities in working to make a difference.

Mary Davis writes about a variety of career help topics for Inside Career Info.


Don’t Stumble at the Starting Line | Darren Hardy, Publisher of SUCCESS Magazine

Have you made New Year’s resolutions or set goals before and failed?


I start every day with a does of Success – try it! It's habit forming!

New Year’s resolutions for jobless –

It may be a brand-new year, but for job seekers, the stroke of midnight didn’t change a thing. And for those who are finding traditional routes to employment increasingly fruitless, the New Year’s Eve celebrations were undoubtedly dismal affairs.