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How to convince employers to hire you even though they don’t have job openings

February 11th, 2009 · No Comments

Career counselor Marty Nemko had a very interesting blog posted called "The Most Potent Strategy for Finding a Job" . He advised job applications to "send a brief but compelling email to 50 potential employers who are NOT advertising a job you’re interested in but who have the power to hire you for a position you’d accept. Follow up with a phone call one day later. For lower-level jobs, the most potent variation on this theme is to simply walk in and pitch the employer."

I agree with the principle behind his strategy — getting a job is about filling employer’s need. Treat job search as sales. You are the product and you’re selling yourself. You must craft a compelling value proposition to the potential employers that you’re absolutely the best person to fill the employer’s needs.

Marty’s advice takes this principle to the next level — instead of going after advertised needs (i.e. job postings), his advice is to uncover needs on your own and pitch yourself to the potential employer about how you’re well-suited to fill the needs you identified. I think the idea is sound, but the key is execution — how to make this happen? That’s the hard part.

To make this idea implementable, you need to apply several tactics:

  1. Take the employer’s risk out of the equation. Work for free or a trial period with a lower pay to demonstrate that you really have whatever it takes to fill the needs. However, I would limit the trial period to one month. Otherwise, the opportunity cost would be too high for you.
  2. When you talk to the employer about the need/problem you have identified and how you plan to solve it, you should try to quantify the impacts in term of increasing revenue or reducing cost. In this economy, the #1 priority for most companies are profitability. If you can have direct, positive impact on either the revenue or cost, it’d make it much easier for the employer to justify hiring you.
  3. You network still matters a lot. Even if you make a brilliant discovery of a need/problem that a particular employer has, you’re still unknown to the employer. Having someone to make an introduction to the employer would be golden in this situation. 
  4. Try to get multiple part-time offers if you have a hard time to convince companies to commit to you on full-time basis. In this economy, it’d be hard for you to convince an employer to create a job for you based on your pitch. It’s very risky to the employer. And the employer might simply not have the budget for a full-time position. An alternative solution would be to make your pitch to multiple employers, and ask for a part-time role with each company. The ideal situation would be getting 3 part-time gigs, and work 15 hours at each company. This will greatly reduce your risk of getting laid off again. The challenge would be to figure out a way to juggle the demands of 3 part-time jobs, and get health insurance coverage. I’ll leave that to a separate post.

What’s actions can you take next?

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Tags: Recruiting & Job Hunting

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