5 Out-of-the-Box Approaches to Land Your Next Job

Finding a job has become increasingly difficult. 

Despite “business as usual” for some industries, overall hiring has slowed since March. Job postings were down 29% in June 2020, as compared to the same time in 2019. And in Houston, 35% of jobs were impacted by COVID-19.

In the midst of the downturn and more people flooding the job market, it has become more difficult for job seekers to stand out. Extensive skills and experience don’t guarantee an interview, even with an above-average resume.

That’s why out-of-the-box strategies for job hunting can pay off. I recommend the following five methods to break through and separate yourself from the pack.  


1. Target executives

It may be counterintuitive, but the higher you go up in the chain at a company, the more likely you are to get a response. Approach executives with a thoughtful email clearly highlighting how you’re going to add value to their company and you’ll be surprised how many will respond. 

Executives are busy, but one of the ways they got to where they are is by being efficient with their time. It’s well known how responsive billionaire businessman Mark Cuban is over email. Same with the late Steve Jobs

Why are executives more likely to respond? Because they feel the pain of unfilled positions most acutely. If a project can’t be completed, it’s the executive who feels the greatest pinch from the loss of revenue. 

Start by making a list of companies where you would like to work. For each company, find the executive(s) who relate to the type of position you want. 

This executive might be the CEO, CFO, or COO. Find their email through online tools such as Twitter’s advanced search or Hunter.io. 

Draft an email to the executive. DON’T simply ask if they’re hiring or send your resume. Instead, highlight key results from past positions. What unique skills can you bring to the table? 

Also, don’t give up after the first email. One small business owner sent 380 emails to Marcus Lemonis, CEO of the Camping World and star of The Profit, before securing a meeting and funding. 


2. Create content  

Do you have a blog? Have you written articles on LinkedIn? Establish your credibility by writing content and demonstrating that you’re a subject matter expert. 

You may attract potential recruiters/hiring managers, but at minimum, the visibility will pay off when recruiters and hiring managers are doing their research on your candidacy for a role. Hiring managers will see your thoughtful articles, helping you stand out from competitors. 

Choose a content creation platform such as your own blog, Medium, or LinkedIn. Brainstorm articles that you’re uniquely qualified to write. 

For example, if you’re a sales manager, you could write about effective cold calling tips. If you’re a project manager, you might create a comprehensive guide to project road mapping.

These articles don’t have to be long (e.g. 500+ words), but make sure that the ideas are coherent and that the grammar/spelling is accurate. Focus on the quality of content and share your unique perspective or experience to shine as a thought leader


3. Establish relationships through social media

Connect with people in your career field via social media platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn. With this approach, you can show your work and experience in an organic way and catch the eye of recruiters and hiring managers. And the more active you are, the more likely you are to see shared job postings. 73% of millennials found their last position through social media. 

Which platforms are best? I’m a big fan of establishing relationships via Twitter. The platform makes it easy to access almost anyone within an organization. Users tend to be responsive and you can quickly build a following. On LinkedIn, you can also easily comment and engage with content.

Before jumping into posts and comments, first make sure that your Twitter and LinkedIn profiles are polished and professional. 

Next, join relevant LinkedIn groups that align with your skills. Follow thought leaders and companies on Twitter within your career field. Set aside at least an hour per week to interact with people on these platforms such as via comments. 

When interacting, don’t try to sell your skills. Instead, participate in conversations. Answer questions. Ask for advice. Most importantly, be authentic. This approach can quickly catch the eye of a recruiter and others within a company. 


4. Offer to take on a project

Most executives have a nagging project they would like to take off their plate. And completing a task may be the best way to show potential employers your skills in action. 

If you have the time and resources to be able to take on a quick project, the initiative will help set you apart from other candidates. 

Consider it to be a “job audition.” The project might be something that takes you a few hours, but most job seekers won’t do it. You’ll immediately have a leg up.

Ask the hiring manager or a company executive what project they have that you could assist with – at no cost to them. Once they respond, outline how you would approach completing the project and results you’ve had with similar work. 

As an example, maybe the executive has to write an article for a major publication. If your expertise is in content marketing, offer to write the piece. Send samples of similar work and a bullet point outline of how you would approach the article. If approved, write and send. 

You might have to negotiate a realistic, 2-3 hour project (you probably don’t want a project that will take 10-20 hours). Such an assignment can quickly demonstrate your unique skills as a potential employee, as well as give you a glimpse of what working with the company would be like. 


5. Have your resume professionally written

As someone who runs a professional resume writing service, I recognize that this recommendation may appear self-serving – but the fact is, most professionals don’t write resumes for a living and most candidates only update their resume when they’re seeking a job. 

Unfortunately, 75% of resumes are rejected before they reach the hiring manager. Resume writers know how to effectively structure a resume, while bringing out and emphasizing information that hiring managers find most compelling. 

Even the most experienced executives turn to resume writers to help give them an edge in the job marketplace.

Reach out to a qualified professional resume writing service. At ResumeSpice, we require that you first complete a quick questionnaire to better understand your skills and experience. You can then schedule a conversation with a resume expert and share details about your career objectives. 

With this information, the resume expert can create a personalized resume draft within two business days for your review. Two rounds of revisions are built into the process. After any revisions, your resume is ready to send to potential employers. 

This approach has proven results. Job seekers with professionally written resumes found a job at a 35% higher rate than those who didn’t.


Think outside the box

Hundreds of qualified people will often apply for the same job. But out of these hundreds, how many will take the time and initiative to truly highlight their skills and experience? Stand out in today’s competitive job market by taking a creative approach to job hunting. 

Tips for Staying Positive During Your Job Search

There are a number of great resources that can help job seekers prepare for an interview—a quick Google search will yield advice on what to wear, what to do before the interview, what questions to ask during the interview, how and when to write a thank you note post-interview…the list goes on. While the hard skills are critical, our team at ResumeSpice believes it’s just as important to develop a healthy mindset going into the process. Below are some tips for calming the nerves and getting into the right frame a mind, so you can perform your best.

Preparation is Key

Pre-interview stress is normal. It’s your body’s natural way of preparing you for something significant and for most people, a healthy amount of stress helps them get ready to perform. However, if your stress level is bordering on high-anxiety, that can certainly have a negative effect in an interview setting. What we recommend is to prepare the questions you’re most likely to be asked and then practice answering aloud, either in the mirror or to a friend. The practice and preparation will help take the edge off and give you the confidence that you are ready for (almost!) anything you may face in an interview setting. Next, envision a positive outcome. Imagine yourself smiling at the interviewer, shaking their hand firmly, and then answering every question with confidence and poise. Imagine yourself shaking the interviewer’s hand at the conclusion of the meeting and then expressing interest in the role. Between your preparation and envisioning techniques, you’ll be amazed at the positive effect on your confidence.

Put Your Old Journal to Use

Keeping a log of your interviews and progress can be an extremely valuable resource tool. If you are actively searching, keep a log of your interviews, note your areas of strength, questions you struggled with, and how you would approach the question the next time you’re asked. This can also serve as a nice record for contacts, reminder to send thank you notes, and a record of your progress. If you find yourself in a rut or becoming pessimistic, your log can help serve as a reminder of your progress and the network you’re developing. You never know when someone you meet during the interview process might turn into a future co-worker, boss, or even a customer.

Capitalize on Your Strengths

We all have unique strengths and your future employer needs to know what they are. This doesn’t mean you will not be asked about your weaknesses during your interview. In fact, you most likely will. However, by knowing what your strengths are, you will have the ammunition to nail that question. When responding to questions about weaknesses or disappointing situations, tell a story about how you overcame your weakness (preferably a weakness that is unimportant to the job you’re applying for) using your strength.

Take a Walk

The power of nature is far too underestimated. It’s well-known that walking and exploring nature improves mood and short-term memory by decreasing blood sugar, cortisol (stress hormones), and rumination (repetitive negative thinking). Yet many of us regularly ignore that advice. Even during a stressful job search process, it’s important to take of yourself and take a walk. The benefits of a 30 minute walk will likely outweigh that of an extra thirty minutes in front of a computer.

Let us Help!

Preparing for a job search isn’t easy, but the good news is that you don’t have to go about it alone. If you need help with interview preparation or marketing yourself to employers by creating a great resume, cover letter, or LinkedIn profile, contact the career consultants at Resume Spice today. Let us help!

How Long Does a Background Check Take

Most employers require a background check before completing the hiring process. On average, a pre-employment background check takes between two and four business days to complete.

While instant background checks are available, they often include incomplete or inaccurate information. A more accurate report, typically run through a third-party agency, will take longer – but is usually more thorough and accurate. The exact turnaround time may vary and will depend on a variety of factors, including:

  • Background check firm has difficulty establishing contact with former employers and/or educational institutions. 
  • Courts can be backlogged or closed for a holiday, which can increase the time it takes for a criminal records check to be completed.
  • If your background history includes information from multiple states and/or counties – and/or includes positions outside of the United States, the search may be delayed.

Need help writing a professional resume that get results?

Turn to the professionals at ResumeSpice. We are the #1 rated resume writing and career coaching service on the independent review site TrustPilot. Read hundreds of our 5 star reviews here. If you’re ready to learn more, call 832.930.7378 or contact us online.


How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation

If you’re interviewing for a job, you probably know you can expect to be asked for a list of references. It’s a standard practice for almost any job application. But just because it’s a repetitive part of the process doesn’t mean you have to keep submitting the same old boilerplate list of references. If you’re looking to take it a step further and elevate yourself above the competition, a professional letter of recommendation is what you need.

While it’s uncommon that an employer will explicitly request a letter of recommendation (most just ask for references), don’t overlook the value. A letter of recommendation can provide a hiring manager with a better sense of your skills than the quick run-down of your dates of employment they’d otherwise hear from HR.

Use the tips below to make the process as smooth as possible and to ensure you’re doing your part to get the most out of any recommendation letter.


Before You Ask: What to Consider

There are a few prerequisites you need to cover before asking for a letter of recommendation. The following points are essential to any chance of receiving a quality recommendation letter:

1: You actually know who you’re asking

It might seem obvious that you should know the person you’re asking to write you a letter of recommendation, but it’s a common mistake to think you can ask anyone as long as they were your professor, boss, or supervisor. Such is not the case: the purpose of the letter is to provide valuable insight into who you are and the value you can bring to an organization. The professor you had all year but never spoke to or the boss you never saw much of in the workplace aren’t the right people for the job.

2: You have a positive history and relationship with the person whom you’re asking

Maybe the supervisor or professor you’re thinking of asking knows you quite well, but it’s because you constantly asked for deadline extensions or had a habit of being late. You want to make sure that you have good standing with whoever you choose to ask – avoid asking someone who may have a reason not to give you their full stamp of approval.

3: The person you ask is relevant to the position you’re applying to

If you’re applying for a management role, select someone who observed your management skills firsthand. Whomever you ask should be able to speak to your skills in a way that’s relevant to the job you’re seeking.


How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation

Once these basics have been covered, it’s time to learn how to successfully ask for the letter of recommendation. Below are some tips:

Know the Purpose of the Letter

You want to make the letter writing process as easy as possible for the person you’re asking, and this starts with letting them know the letter’s purpose. This helps them determine what parts of your experience they should focus on, as well as what can be left out. If you don’t go into detail about what the letter is for and what parts of your history are the most relevant, you might end up with a vague letter that doesn’t serve its purpose: to help you stand out!

Who is the Letter For?

Don’t forget to tell the person writing your letter who will be reading it. Besides helping with practical details such as who they should address the letter to, this information guides the style and tone they use. Knowing their audience informs how they describe their experiences with you, as well as the specific details they use.

Include Your Resume

You want to give the person writing your letter of recommendation as much information as you can to help them write a quality letter. One way to do this is by highlighting the skills and experiences on your resume that are most relevant to the job you’re applying. This gives them specific information to work with and ensures they aren’t left grasping when they sit down to write the letter.

Don’t Wait to Ask

If you planned on asking someone for a letter of recommendation for the job application that’s due in a week, don’t. Besides being unprofessional, it lowers the chances that you’ll end up with a high-quality letter. Even if they did bend over to get you a letter on short notice, it’s quality may be sacrificed. You wouldn’t want your job application tied to a hastily written reference letter. Asking someone to write you a letter of recommendation is a big favor – it’s your responsibility to make it as easy as possible for them.

Asking for a letter of recommendation can feel intimidating. But by taking the time to follow the steps above, you can feel confident knowing you’ve covered the most important bases when you reach out and make that request!


Need help writing a professional resume that get results?

Turn to the professionals at ResumeSpice. We are the #1 rated resume writing and career coaching service on the independent review site TrustPilot. Read hundreds of our 5 star reviews here. If you’re ready to learn more, call 832.930.7378 or contact us online.


How to Receive Negative Feedback Graciously

Rejection stings. Especially in the job search and even more so when you know you’re a good fit for a role.

When a recruiter or a hiring manager gives you negative feedback on your resume or interview, your first instinct may be to reply defensively. Instead…

Stop. Wait. Breathe.

Learning to accept feedback graciously is a skill that will benefit you throughout your career. As anyone who has ever applied to a job knows, most times you don’t receive feedback on why you weren’t considered or interviewed for a role.

When you do receive an explanation, accept it as a gift. Consider what was said – after you’ve had a chance to meditate, drink a latte, shoot some hoops, or do whatever makes you happy and helps clear your mind.

Think carefully about the following:

• Is this feedback part of a theme? Does it sound similar to past advice from supervisors, coworkers, and/or potential employers?
• Is there something you can take from it to further improve on the content of your resume and/or your interviewing skills?
• If it’s based upon a misconception of your experience, is there a way to professionally respond and highlight an achievement in that area?

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, the answer is no. When that happens, the best way to respond to the related feedback is, “Thank you for taking the time to share this with me. I appreciate the opportunity to be considered and wish you the very best.”

Whether you do or not is entirely up to you, but this is how you build a reputation for professionalism while leaving the door open for future opportunities.

Of course, if you need help in any area of career coaching, resume writing, and/or interviewing skills, don’t hesitate to reach out to our experienced team of ResumeSpice career consultants!