A guest post from LiveCareer
You’ve been on the job market for a while now, and you’re starting to wonder if your only options lie in published postings for established positions. What if you really want a job that isn’t available? Or a job that doesn’t technically exist? What if you find yourself attracted to a certain organization, but the company website has no specific “careers” listing? What if a company has no positions to offer right now, but makes a claim like “We’re always looking for great people”?
Here are the two most common scenarios job seekers face when they decide to step outside the realm of published positions and job boards. If you find yourself dealing with either of these, you’ll need to choose a bold approach that matches both your goals and your target audience.
1. You love the company.
You’ve made up your mind, and regardless of the availability of open positions, you’re determined to pursue a dream job—or any job—with Google. Or the American Heart Association. Or the Atlanta Zoo. There’s only one problem: they aren’t looking for anyone right now. And they haven’t exactly expressed public interest in someone with your specific skill sets.
To work around this, start by keeping a level head and reasonable expectations. You can’t arm-twist or stalk any company or manager into hiring you, but it’s certainly within bounds to reach out to the firm and let them know how you feel and what you can do. Go online and find a specific person in the department that interests you. Then send a well worded, respectful and convincing email to this person attached to a resume. Tailor both the resume and the letter to the exact company you’re interested in working for. Most importantly, be very clear about what you’d like the manager to do next. She may or may not be interested, and she may or may not follow through (don’t wait by the phone for an answer) but it won’t cost anything to ask.
2. You know the position you want, but it isn’t available.
You’d like to be a mobile app developer for a start up you’ve just heard about. Or you’d like to sign on as junior editor for the local news station. Or maybe you’d like to be a personal trainer, an accounts manager, an in-house designer, or an educational activities coordinator for a little company you admire called “Any Company At All”. But these positions are few and far between, and when they open up, they tend to be staffed quickly.
To solve this problem, gather a list of every relevant employer in your geographic area. (If you’re a museum curator, this means every museum.) Then go online to find contact information for relevant department heads and send a polished application package to each one. If you can’t identify specific department managers, just send your package to HR. Again, be very clear about what you’d like the recipient of you letter to do. (Call you on the phone to discuss your credentials further? File your resume and contact you if a position becomes available? Allow you to come into the office during a one-hour period next week and present your case in person?)
After you’ve sent your messages, be ready to follow up with each company several times. Keep a running tab of which employers you’ve contacted, the number of times and the outcome of each follow-up call or email.
Creating your own job takes a little courage. It also takes a willingness to invest some time and resources in a strategy that may or may not pay off. But if published positions aren’t getting you where you need to go, it may be time to take control of your own destiny… What’s the worst that can happen?
Need general job search help or guidance with a specific employment situation? Visit LiveCareer.com and explore our resume building tools, mock interview questions, and other career development resources. Or join LiveCareer on Facebook and Google+ for insider tips and advice on all things resume and career-related.