Guerrilla marketing transformed the marketing agendas of many small businesses. By applying similar principles, you can make guerrilla networking pay off for your job search.
Guerrilla marketing was designed to jumpstart the promotional efforts of small businesses, many of which have great products and services, but limited marketing budgets. As a jobseeker, you’re in a similar situation – you have a great product (you), but you probably don’t have tons of cash to invest in your job search.
In guerrilla marketing, the underlying concept is to invest time, energy and creativity (rather than just money) in innovative promotional campaigns. In guerrilla networking, the idea is to creatively maximize the size of your professional network by performing networking activities whenever and wherever you can.
Although the payoff for non-traditional, guerrilla networking tactics isn’t instantaneous, you might be surprised how quickly the application of guerrilla techniques can supercharge your industry reputation and catch the eye of prospective employers.
Cold Call Targets
It takes guts to pick up the phone and cold call a high value networking target – which is just the kind of thing some employers are looking for in their next hire. Once you get past your initial fear, a cold call is a lot like any other networking opportunity. Stay focused, be respectful of the contact’s time and ask if you can follow-up in a month or so.
Guerrilla marketers often distribute branded freebies (e.g. magnets, mugs and other types of swag) as a way of promoting their business. You can do the same thing in your job search. But instead of handing out bumper stickers, be liberal about offering professional ideas to contacts and interviewers. Have a fresh idea that could help the contact’s business? Now’s the time to trot it out and prove your worth as a potential hire.
Not just any stuff, but useful writings that relates directly to your field or profession. The Internet offers plenty of outlets for white papers, articles and other written content, but trade journals and websites are usually the best place to begin. The benefit of having your work posted online is that you can create links to it in emails or on your LinkedIn profiles.
Contact experts in your field
Say you attend an event and hear an industry expert speak on a topic related to your field. If you’re a normal jobseeker, you go home and start searching job boards for openings. But if you’re a guerrilla networker you make contact with the speaker ASAP and start a discussion about the topic, subtly working in the fact that you’re looking for a new position. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but eventually the expert is going to run across a job that is perfect for you – and if you maintain the relationship, you’ll be the first person she calls.
Call your ex
Not your ex-wife, but your ex-employers. As long as you didn’t go out in a humiliating blaze of glory, there’s a good chance your former employers will be willing to help you land a new job – or maybe even hire you themselves.
Hands down, Twitter is the most powerful technological weapon in your guerrilla networking toolbox. Proactively build your Twitter following within your industry and regularly tweet topics and links that are useful to prospective employers. Once you’re up and rolling, you can send direct messages to specific networking targets.