BTRIPP (btripp) wrote,

Kept waiting for them to call me "maggot" ...

This was another review copy sent to me by the good folks at Wiley, no doubt with the expectation that I'll be featuring the book in my The Job Stalker blog over on the Tribune's “ChicagoNow” site. As much as I appreciate getting books from various publishers, I really would prefer to have a JOB rather than a “niche” writing about the Job Search … it's been 2½ years now since my last regular gig disappeared, and it's getting desperate.

That level of desperation taints my impression of books such as Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters by Jay Conrad Levinson and David E. Perry, as, almost inevitably, “step one” (or something close to “step one”) is to define your “dream job” and work forward from that. Well, my dream job is “Billionaire Philanthropist” and I can't figure out where to send my resume for that. I am in my third major job search of the past decade or so, and I have been though workshops, coaching, dozens of on-line things, all sorts of group work, but I've never found a “career diagnostic” which has been able to point me to something focused enough to have the essential “list of companies” which “need” (or “have a pain” for which I'd be the specific relief) what I'm bringing to the table. Frankly, I have a wide and varied skill set within the “communications” field, and would be OK with working in any particular facet of that, but would really be happiest “wearing a lot of hats” and bringing my assorted skills to the fore in combination or rotation … try making THAT fit the “company list” modality!

Anyway, pardon the rant. This book had me swearing at it at one moment, and being very enthusiastic about it the next. Your mileage may vary … if you're the type who can identify exactly what you want to be doing, and then find a list of potential employers for whom you could perform that function, you're golden.

Guerrilla Marketing is a dense book, covering a lot of material, and I guess I'll just walk you through this here. The intro and Chapter 1 pretty much set the stage (how dire things are now, why you need to do the extraordinary to get the job, etc.) for the Guerrilla job search. In here they say that the #1 secret to getting hired is “Have a plan and follow it.”, with the #2 secret being “Show an employer that your are worth much more to them than you cost.”

The book then moves to “Part I – Your Guerrilla Mind-Set”, with chapters covering Personal Branding, Attitude, and Strategy. The “Personal Branding” involves a handful of key elements: Leadership Skills, Communication Skills, A Bias Toward Action, Passion, and Cultural Compatibility ... I've actually already implemented some of this in an application I put it for a position last week, going into a much more detailed cover letter than I normally would have. In “Attitude” there's a list of mistakes to avoid: #1 Fuzzy Goals, #2 Procrastination, #3 Relying on Others Too Much, #4 Lack of Preparation … you can guess my reaction to the “fuzzy goals” section. In “Strategy” there are ways to tweak Google and Twitter to dig up a lot of information, and ways to get the most out of “traditional” job search sources.

One thing I should point out here is that each chapter has “guest pieces” by assorted Job industry pundits, including several who I follow on Twitter. These bring in “expert” voices on particular topics, and break up the flow of the book (which is a bit “drill instructor-ish” at times). It also has a LOT of those Mircosoft code blocks … I don't know about you, but the FIRST time that I both had the book and my phone together was when I sat down to write this review at a cafe, so I don't know how useful those really are (the one I just tested went to a YouTube video about using Google's advanced search capabilities). There are also “download available” icons through the book, but I've not run across the place which tells you where to go to retrieve them.

Anyway, this brings us to “Part II – Weapons That Make You A Guerrilla”, which covers Research, Writing (resumes and cover letters), and Networking. “Research” looks at finding info on the industry, companies in that industry, and hiring managers at those companies, with tips, tricks, and assorted approaches to get this material. “Writing” is one of the more extensive sections here, as the authors are proposing some rather radical “Guerrilla Resume” formats and take a good while in justifying these. “Networking” details a gutsy cold-calling approach that utilizes a combination of Google and LinkedIn to find folks who have recently left your target company, with scripts to dig up information, etc.

Next is “Part III – Tactics That Make You A Guerrilla” with sections on LinkedIn, “Digital Breadcrumbs”, and “Breakthrough Strategies”. The authors are certainly fans of LinkedIn, and the chapter on it is chock-full of useful ways of maximizing this resource. “Digital Breadcrumbs” is all about using Social Media and the web in order to be found (or having the stuff you want to be found show up in a web search), this covers web portfolios, web sites, blogs, LinkedIn, Google, Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, video resumes, and a handful of sites I'd never heard of (but have run off to snag “BTRIPP” on!). In “Breakthrough Strategies” there are 15 listed, but they appear to come from a bigger list, as they're randomly in there, from “#5: The Coffee Cup Caper” to “#183: Distribute a Booklet”, and cover a lot of ground from the plausible/evident to sneaky tactics like folding up your resume in a thank you note, which is far more likely to be opened by the target person.

Finally, there's “Part IV – Your Guerrilla Job-Hunting Campaign”, with chapters on “The Force Multiplier Effect”, “Interviewing”, “Negotiating the Deal”, and “Career Lancing”. The first of these is pretty much just a collection of stories of various people who moved “outside the box” on things done in their job search, with suggestions of how you could do so as well. The “Interviewing” chapter (which is actually titled “Hand-to-Hand Combat”), talks about numerous types of interviews, ways to get past “trap” questions, and advice for getting interviewed “as far up the totem pole” as possible. “Negotiating the Deal” has a lot of hints about what to try to get, what not to bother with, and how to get things to “deal away” in final negotiations. “Career Lancing” is just a coda encouraging readers to be always prepared for the job search.

Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters just came out this summer, so it's likely to still be easy to find in your local bookstore, but both of the big on-line guys have it at 35% off of cover, which makes it quite reasonable (almost down to the cheapest current offer from the new/used guys). Despite my aggravation with the “anti-Fuzzy” bias, this is a remarkable resource for those who dare to break out of the ordinary job search.

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Tags: book review

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