WorkWise: 'Driving around,' other tactics do pay off

August 21, 2011 

Sometimes not tapping computer keys helps job seekers, even in high tech. Consider what happened to Stan Evans, now director of Business Development at WebiMax LLC, a search engine optimization firm in Mount Laurel, N.J. If his approach doesn’t work for you, keep reading for alternatives.

“He used the old-fashioned method of putting on a suit, driving around and asking if a company is hiring,” explains Ken Wisnefski, the SEO company’s CEO and founder. “This tactic is coming back in style and shows initiative and desire. Set the first impression right versus send an email that gets deleted, lost in HR or makes you seem overqualified.” One of Wisnefski’s friends also used the driving tactic and landed a job as a controller.

Evans, who’d been laid off, found SEO exciting; so he researched the leaders. He looked for the industry’s recognition and awards as well as information on industry websites.

“I called the receptionist at WebiMax,” he says. “HR was unavailable. I didn’t want to leave a voice message. When I called back, the receptionist looked online and saw no position available.” He used LinkedIn, networked and found a sales representative who mentioned expansion. Going to the president made sense.

When Evans arrived, he made an ally of the receptionist. “I told her that I was here for an important meeting with Ken Wisnefski, the CEO. She was surprised. I said that he didn’t know I was coming, but that it would definitely be worth his time. While I took a seat, she contacted Ken.”

During the interview, Evans mentioned his background, his motivation and “approach to prospects and clients as long-time relationships.” He did more. He accepted a sales position with less compensation than he’d planned because he saw tremendous opportunity.

“The economy has changed,” he observes. “It may be worth the gamble to accept something less because of the upside opportunity a company offers.” Shortly after his start date of September 29, 2010, he placed first in new business, received a raise and, in the eighth month, was promoted to manage 11 salespeople, including one each in the United Kingdom and Australia.

“People are just tracking the money,” Evans remarks. “Look at what you provide and they provide. You both can grow and you can better yourself. What’s the price of that?”

If you don’t see yourself doing what Evans did, consider other tactics. Wisnefski suggests writing a blog or having a Twitter feed to establish your knowledge base while reflecting productivity, creativity and a bit of personality. This method worked for others at WebiMax.

It also worked for Steve Yuen, who in the summer of 2010 interned at Ken Lizotte’s Emerson Consulting Group Inc., in Concord, Mass. Yuen absorbed Lizotte’s concept of “thoughtleaders,” among whom are people who write articles about a topic they know well and love. He used the tactic for high impact upon graduation this summer.

“I chose to write an article about the impact of Facebook on society, including the business world,” Yuen says. “Eventually, it was published online in The CEO Refresher. I added this to my resume and it was brought up at every interview. Not many candidates were showing up with published articles.” Yuen landed a position as marketing coordinator over six locations in three states, based at the corporate headquarters of Got Books Inc. in Wilmington, Mass.

“This is my first job,” he says, “but it will surely provide me with the experience needed to advance in this field.”

If neither driving nor using social media makes sense for your industry, Wisnefski recommends “becoming involved in groups or activities related to what you want to do, such as professional associations or pro bono work. Staying sharp and on top of things shows real value, as does the fact that you’re not opposed to working. It shows that you just haven’t found the right opportunity, that you’re trying to expand yourself personally.”

Dr. Mildred L. Culp welcomes your questions at culp@workwise.net. © 2011 Passage Media.

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