I've stressed in a number of ERR blog postings that creativity is a must throughout your job search. Well, it's time to get concrete about what that really means. Here are a few unusual and unconventional tricks and techniques you can leverage throughout your search:
The Post-It Note Technique
If you have a strong advocate among your references or network, you may want to consider this resume-enhancing technique. Have the person fill out a series of Post-it Notes (3"x3" size works best) with the following handwritten note:
They then sign their name (and title, if appropriate). This technique works best when the resume is being sent to a contact who knows your reference. But it can be used virtually anytime you want an extra impact with the "instant recommendation." An alternative would be to have your reference write: "Highly Recommended--Definitely Interview" on their business card, which is then attached to your resume.
The Highlighter Technique
Another unconventional method of bringing additional focused attention to your resume is to selectively highlight two or three of the most important points with a highlighter pen. Again, use of a highlighter is often accepted as a means of emphasis in communications and will provide your resume with the nearly immediately eye-catching color that will draw the reader to the key areas of your background. Also note that if your resume is circulated beyond the original recipient, it will usually be assumed that the recipient highlighted the resume, making it an even stronger message.
The Bolding Technique
If you are sending your resume via e-mail, you can also emphasize important points in your resume by bolding keywords and key phrases. This technique is especially helpful if you know what the employer is looking for in filling a position and you want to highlight that experience on your resume. This technique is used quite often by staffing agencies and contracting firms who are responding to specific employer requests. By bolding or highlighting the key information, it jumps off the page (or the screen, as the case may be) to emphasize that the resume meets the necessary qualifications of the position.
The Baby on the Doorstep Technique
Baby On The Doorstep is a sales technique named after the proverbial "drop the baby off on the doorstep and someone will make sure she is taken care of" method of adoption. This sales technique is used every day by energetic salespeople who call on customers unannounced, in person--many with a great deal of success. You just pack up your resume, head down to the company location, and try to find your way as close to the hiring manager as possible. Ask if the hiring manager is in, state your name and that you have a personal package to be hand-delivered. If the person is out, ask when he or she will be in again and call at that time. If the person is in, ask to meet briefly. When and if you do get through, say that you were "in the neighborhood" and decided to drop off your resume personally. State your interest in working for the company and ask if the person would schedule fifteen minutes so that you can talk further. Do not push for anything more than that. If you are offered time right then, go for it. If not, be willing to come back at a later time that day or later that week. Remember that you are interrupting the person's day and schedule, so take only what you are given and don't push for more.
Three super articles you must read on creative ways to leverage the power of networking into job possibilities: