Resume Lingerie and 10 Other Guerrilla Job Search Strategies

by Meg Guiseppi on December 11, 2009

Are you having a tough time landing an executive job?

Maybe it’s time to consider shaking things up and innovating an unconventional search campaign to position yourself above the crowd.

Yesterday I took an eye-opening Reach Personal Branding teleseminar, “Job Search Secrets Revealed”, featuring Guerrilla Job Search Gurus Kevin Donlin and David Perry of Guerrilla Job Hunting.

David and Kevin guarantee that, because most people don’t use guerrilla tactics, you’ll blow the competition away.

1.  You must have clarity.

Know what job you seek and where you can get that job. Zero in on a job title and/or the 2 or 3 skills you need for the job you want.

Pick 10 to 20 companies where you’d like to work. Don’t be concerned if you don’t know anyone at these companies. You’re going to work on that.

Now you know your target audience. You’ll need to research and uncover what their issues and problems are, then develop and pitch your unique value proposition.

2.  Get a subscription to ZoomInfo’s FreshContacts.

They boast a database of 45 million professionals at 5 million companies. Start compiling a list of key decision makers at each of the companies on your list.

3.  Zig when everyone else is zagging.

With the average job search today taking 28.5 weeks (the highest since they started keeping data in 1948), you can’t do what everyone else is doing. Realize that in job search, you’re in the middle of a sales and marketing campaign.

4.  Resume Lingerie or Guerrilla Resume.

Create a resume that captures attention and, just like lingerie, is designed to tease them into what’s possible – a one-page, highly-charged, full-color branded resume.

On the lefthand side, place 3 or 5 (always an odd number) logos of current/past employers, universities attended, snapshots of awards, etc. People are drawn to graphics. They prefer to look at pictures instead of read words. They buy based on emotions.

5.  Use your LinkedIn recommendations to sell yourself.

Put 1 or 2 snips of quotes in your resume. (Note: I do this frequently with my clients’ resumes and it’s a powerful, brand-reinforcing strategy!)

6.  Add a P.S. to your cover letter – they always get read.

Two ideas for the P.S.:

  • Write “Call me today to learn why my [insert person’s title] said [insert quote and include year person said it].”
  • Insert your most provocative bullet point.

7.  Send your resume and cover letter by regular mail, not email.

Two reasons:

  • Too much email gets caught in spam filters. Your email may never reach hiring decision makers and recruiters.
  • Direct mail is having a resurgence because most people only use email. This gives you a competitive advantage.

8.  Clean up and brand up your ZoomInfo and LinkedIn profiles.

What do hiring managers, HR professionals, and recruiters do to fill a job? They go to ZoomInfo and LinkedIn to run a search.

Using the following two innovations, David and Kevin got 2 people into jobs in 7 weeks in Detroit,  where unemployment is 2 to 3 times higher than the rest of the nation:

9.  The Coffee Cup Caper.

Send your resume and cover letter in a package along with an empty Starbucks coffee cup with a note saying, “Can we meet for coffee, I’d love to discuss your [title of position] job”. Add the P.S. “I will call you very soon to follow up. How soon … you may be surprised.”

Send your package by overnight mail. You’ll be able to determine when it will arrive, so that you can place a call to the recipient within an hour or so of their receipt.

10.  The Trojan Thank You Letter.

Instead of sending your resume and cover letter in a standard envelope, use a smaller, thank you note-sized one, with the card reading “Thank you for reviewing my resume and cover letter”. The envelope will suggest an invitation or thank you note. Both are mail people love to receive. You’re practically guaranteed the recipient will open it and read it.

11.  Now is the time to be proactive and go for it.

The hiring decisions that will be made in January are being contemplated now. Other job seekers are sitting back during the holiday and waiting. And hiring decision makers aren’t as busy now as they will be in January.

Check out Kevin and David’s initiative “Put America Back to Work”. They’re offering to speak to any group of 50 or more people about their guerrilla job search secrets and waive their customary $5,000 speaking fee.

What do you think of their aggressive strategies?

Related posts over at my Executive Resume Branding blog:

6 Essential Strategies To Land Your Next Great C-Level Executive Job

How to Target and Network into Hidden C-Level Executive Jobs


{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 David Perry March 5, 2010 at 7:43 pm

Great feedback. Good for the soul and the mind.

As a follow-on to the discussion here’s news hot off the wires. Please have a look at what we just did for one executive job seeker. He was unemployed for 14 months following advice he got from executive job boards and an outplacement service. His results: 4 interviews, 0 job offers.

Following the same methods in our new Course, he got 8 interviews and 6 job offers … in 6 weeks –

And here’s the same executive talking about Guerrilla Resumes, which are covered extensively in our new Course:

I realize you’ll have to cut and paste the urls into your browser but I assure you you’ll appreciate it.
David Perry
Rogue Recruiter
Co-author “Guerrilla Marketing fro Job Hunters 2.0”

2 Meg Guiseppi December 14, 2009 at 12:26 pm

Hi Mary Elizabeth!

Thanks very much for contributing to the conversation.

You’re so right! Although I understand the hesitancy, job seekers have nothing to lose in trying unconventional methods (within reason) to capture attention. You just never know what marketing methods will hit home, unless you try. Your sister’s efforts are a case in point.


3 Meg Guiseppi December 14, 2009 at 12:26 pm

Hi Mary Elizabeth!

Thanks very much for contributing to the conversation.

You’re so right! Although I understand the hesitancy, job seekers have nothing to lose in trying unconventional methods (within reason) to capture attention. You just never know what marketing methods will hit home, unless you try. Your sister’s efforts are a case in point.


4 Mary Elizabeth Bradford December 14, 2009 at 10:44 am

Hi Meg! Great Post!

I have been teaching clients how to tap into the hidden job market for many years now and can attest to the fact that it truly does work to shorten job searches, get the job seeker in the control seat (and not feeling like a passive receiver) and many times it means getting the titles, income, raises, industry changes etc… the job seeker really wants.

In a world where major job boards are yielding a 1% response average – unless a jobseeker is going after a Government job – learning and applying hidden job market techniques is a vital and valuable tool that gives a jobseeker an amazing amount of control over their job search!

I understand the mixed reviews on the “Coffee Cup Caper”. The bottom line is, it’s probably going to get more positive responses (more meetings) than negative ones and could be the prop that tips the scales in the jobseeker’s favor. So if you have a company you are dreaming of working for – why not!? My sister is in corporate sales and years ago she told me she landed some huge, huge accounts in Silicon Valley through delivering her key contact “perishables” to the front desk of their office (muffins or cookies from a famous/popular area establishment). Knowing perishables needed to be delivered to her contact right away she quickly followed up with a phone call to introduce herself. She was able to make a connection and ultimately create the beginnings of a few relationships that led to some big accounts. These basic marketing strategies can be really effective and definitely set one apart from the competition.

5 Meg Guiseppi December 11, 2009 at 4:45 pm

Hi Karen!

Thanks for your comments and feedback on using guerrilla tactics with your clients. I’m glad to hear you recommend this kind of approach. You’re so right – job seekers need to get out of their comfort zone, generate some chemistry, and differentiate their unique value proposition from everyone else’s.


6 Meg Guiseppi December 11, 2009 at 4:34 pm

Thanks for commenting, Melissa. You have an interesting take on the “Coffee Cup Caper”. Gives us something to think about.


7 Meg Guiseppi December 11, 2009 at 4:32 pm

Hi Laura!

Thanks for offering your thoughts and good advice. You’ve made some terrific points about snail mail vs. email, industry and company research, and recruiters’ and hiring decision makers’ practice of search LinkedIn and ZoomInfo databases to source and assess candidates.

I can attest that adding testimonials to resumes and cover letters truly hits home with readers.


8 Karen Siwak December 11, 2009 at 3:30 pm


By coincidence I was in the bookstore in the spring when they were unpacking David and Kevin’s hot-off-the-press Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 2.0. Bought it, LOVE it, and recommend it to my clients. What I really appreciate is the way that they challenge age-old assumptions and taboos about job searches and resume writing. Would I recommend following everything they suggest? Not, necessarily, but I do recommend getting out of your comfort zone to put some ‘come hither’ in your job search.

FYI, I offer my clients a version of the guerrilla one pager, and its a big hit with recruiters. But typically, they go on to ask my clients for a copy of their “real” resume, so we always have a more traditional one as backup.

9 Melissa December 11, 2009 at 3:19 pm

I’m a bit of a skeptic when it comes to guerrilla job search tactics. In the right context, I think it could work, but it would fall flat in some industries.

Regarding the “Coffee Cup Caper,” I thought it was an interesting idea until the P.S. and following up within an hour of the company receiving it. That feels a little pushy/creepy to me.

10 Laura Smith-Proulx December 11, 2009 at 2:56 pm


I’m glad you posted this information, and I agree that it is quite interesting. I always have coached clients to consider snail mail as a viable option, mostly since it seems the rest of the world has forgotten this as a strategy. In addition, while the Delete button is always available to an unsolicited email, a carefully crafted, customized snail mail invites intrigue on the part of the reader.

Professionals have been conditioned to think of a job search as scouring websites and pressing Send, which is so 1999. Unconventional, put-me-out-there strategies gets job hunters noticed, and of course, recruiters are having a heyday with the free resume databases on LinkedIn and Zoominfo. What a cool way to fully check out a prospect before approaching them.

There’s a number of ways to create a list of target companies (Barbara Safani’s FTT Research among them). This type of diligence shows a company that they can hire a fully engaged employee who has already proved their interest in solving the firm’s business problems–and it’s very attractive to a hiring manager.

Love the resume idea – the testimonials can be a striking addition.

Thanks for sharing this message with job hunters!

11 Meg Guiseppi December 11, 2009 at 2:30 pm

Hi Daisy!

Thanks for commenting. I appreciate hearing from someone else who was on the call. Looks like the “Coffee Cup Caper” isn’t going over too well with readers here. Thanks for mentioning that job seekers should think twice before going that route. But, as with any marketing strategy, you just never know what will hit home with the target audience.


12 Meg Guiseppi December 11, 2009 at 2:09 pm

Hi Randi!

Thanks for commenting. I appreciate your input. I agree that quotes definitely have an impact — visually and content-wise — in resumes and cover letters.


13 Daisy Wright December 11, 2009 at 2:07 pm

Hi Meg,

I was on the call as well. They certainly had some great guerrilla tactics to help in the job search, and in such a crowded marketplace, people definitely need to do things differently and make themselves stand-out.

I also found the ‘Coffee Cup Caper’ tactic outlandish, and I would advise jobseekers to be very careful about the use of Company logos. Not every company relishes that idea.

I remembering bringing up the logo issue when I posted a review of David’s “Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters” book soon after the first edition was published . Great resource, nonetheless.

Chief Career Strategist
The Wright Career Solution

14 Meg Guiseppi December 11, 2009 at 2:03 pm

Thanks for visiting and commenting, Margo.

I’m glad you’ve found my posts helpful. I can’t take credit for the ideas in this one, though. They all come from Kevin and David, although I do leverage some of their tactics with my clients.


15 Randi Bussin December 11, 2009 at 1:43 pm

Some of these ideas are great and are ones I already use (like quotes on resumes and cover letters). I agree with a one page guerilla resume, but not necessarily with using logos from firms you have worked for. There could be IP issues with that.

Zoominfo is a great resource and I agree on that.

16 @HRMargo Margo Rose December 11, 2009 at 11:45 am

There are very few blogposts I like enough to print out, but yours is one of them. I read this earlier in the week…and read it again today when @cincyrecruiter posted it. Your ideas are novel, unique, and might just give me a leg up above the rest of the candidates applying for the same position. Meg, I like the idea of quoting my linkedin recommendations along with my resume. But my favorite is #9 the coffee cup caper, that special job that you want more than anything. Thanks for thinking of unique positioning ideas. You came up with several ideas that had not occurred to me previously, and I thank you for that.

17 Meg Guiseppi December 11, 2009 at 11:20 am

Thanks for commenting, Jill.

I appreciate your thoughtful feedback. May be a good idea to adjust the “Coffee Cup Caper” with something they haven’t seen before or heard of.


18 Jill Elswick December 11, 2009 at 9:38 am

Great tips. I will try them, especially the resume-related tips: logos on the side of the page, snippets from LinkedIn recs. However, I don’t like #9, the “Coffee Cup Caper.” This is the second time I’ve seen that tip in an article. It’s too cute, too gimmicky. The hiring manager may have seen it or read about it before. Nevertheless, I may try to come up with a similar idea based on it. That would be even better.

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