By Kevin Donlin
Sometimes you can achieve a breakthrough by thinking in the opposite direction.Â
Take 7-Up, for example. It became hugely popular in the â€˜60s by branding itself as the Uncola. 7-Up went in the reverse direction from other soft drink companies, who were competing with Coke and Pepsi in the cola market.
Or how about the Volkswagen Beetle? Back when Detroit was pumping out big, fast, hot muscle cars, VW was selling the small, slow, ugly Beetle. They went in reverse — and found huge commercial success.
Success in your job search might be right around the corner, if you’re willing to do the opposite of what the hordes of other job seekers are doing.Â
Here are two examples of “reverse thinking” that could help you find a job faster …
1) The Reverse Personal Commercial
You may have heard that you need to develop a “personal commercial” about yourself when networking — a sort of 30-second advertisement, like: “I’m a sales manager with 11 years’ experience, who’s looking for a job at a Fortune 500 company.”Â
The trouble is, if every other job seeker has a commercial like this, you may find it hard to stand out when networking or attending a job fair, for example.
Well, here’s a new take on that idea, adapted from “The Little Black Book of Connections,” by Jeffrey Gitomer (http://www.gitomer.com/).
It’s called the “Reverse Personal Commercial,” strategy. And if you follow it, you can engage more people while networking. All you have to do is ask questions, instead of spitting out a canned “commercial” from memory.
The questions that make up your Reverse Personal Commercial might go like this: “Hi, my name’s Fred. Say, how many (insert your field here) companies in Minnesota do you know that are growing? What companies do you know that need to improve their (insert your expertise here)? Who do you know that I should be talking to?”
Now. Why do questions work? They’re hard to ignore — they force listeners to pay attention. Plus, questions let you gather valuable data, so you can quickly tell whether or not you’re talking to someone who can give you a job lead.
So, I have two questions for you:
- What questions could you ask about your industry and your expertise that would engage listeners?
- Whom could you meet and try your Reverse Personal Commercial on today?Â Â
2) Reverse Engineer the Job Posting
Reverse engineering is taking an object apart to see how it works, in order to duplicate or enhance that objectWhen you reverse engineer a job posting online or in the newspaper, you can see how the mind of an employer works, which will enhance your job search!
According to career expert Carole Martin (http://www.interviewcoach.com/), hiring managers put a lot of time and effort into writing job postings that list the qualities and skills of their ideal candidates.
In other words, the typical job posting is a wish list. If you can match its language in your resumes and cover letters, you’re much more likely to get called for an interview.Â
Here is an example, provided by Martin, of desired traits found in six job postings for the position of Executive Secretary:Â
- “Confidential” (used in all six postings)
- “Ability to proofread and edit” (used in all six)
- “Organized, attentive to detail” (used in all six)
- “Excellent written and verbal communication skills” (used in four of six postings)Â
Do you see a pattern here?Â
If you’re applying for an Executive Secretary position, you need to highlight the above traits in your cover letter and resume … so long as they apply to you, of course!
Bonus: You can use these same words in an interview to make it sound like you’re a natural fit for the position. After all, you’ll be speaking the same language as your employer. So get busy reverse engineering today!
Kevin Donlin is President of Guaranteed Resumes and creator of Guerilla Resumes (Reviewed Here). Â Since 1996, he has provided job search assistance to more than 20,000 people. Author of “51 Ways to Find a Job Fast — Guaranteed,” Kevin has been interviewed by USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, CBS Radio and others.