Hiring tips in a tough economy

With even senior-level executives finding themselves suddenly without work in the downturn, executive search expert Rebecca Bamman, VP career management division for Hollywood, Fla.-based answerQUEST Executive Search, has offered the following tips toward marketing oneself in a competitive environment.

“Don't send your resume online,” advised Bamman. “Everyone else is doing this -- don't be like the others. Be different.”

With the hundreds of thousands of resumes being sent to companies these days, no matter how “pretty” or great your resume, if no one sees it then it doesn't matter, she said. 

Get to the decision maker, Bamman listed as tip No. 2. “The decision maker/hiring manager is the key player. By connecting with this person directly, your chances of landing an interview increase by leaps and bounds.”

How do you find the decision maker? “Technology makes it really easy to figure out who the decision maker is,” she said. If you're a job seeker, “you should aim to have at least 100 connections on LinkedIn. Our coaching clients all go through a detailed LinkedIn Training course that teaches job seekers how to use LinkedIn to identify new companies and track down decision makers.”

What do you say to the decision maker? “Once you find the decision maker, don't settle with just e-mailing your resume. Use creative techniques.” Bamman said her firm teaches how to use a coffee cup or coffee card technique. “Send a hiring manager a coffee cup with a note that says something like, ‘I'd like to get together and talk with you over coffee. I'll be calling you soon.’”

Bamman suggests mailing the cup and note via U.S. registered mail so that you will be notified upon receipt and can then follow up with a timely phone call.

“Our clients find this works 35%+ of the time,” she said.

Separate yourself from the pack with self-branding, advised Bamman. “In today's competitive job market, it's all about separating yourself. Brand yourself to be different. No one will remember you if you mix in with the pack.” When Bamman asks people about the tools they use when searching for a job, “90% say their resume, and maybe a few more say their resume plus a cover letter. We help our clients create a ‘Job Seeker's Tool-Kit’ which includes 10 components of self-marketing tools.”

The tool kit includes accomplishment stories, contact list, biography, testimonial sheet, a resume and more.

Bamman has launched a new Web site aqcm.net and hosts free webinars to educate job seekers.