By Kevin Donlin
Have you been hit hard by the slow economy?
If you're 30 or younger, you've probably
never experienced a recession as a member of the work force. And when
compared to the go-go economy of the late 1990s, the current rash of job
cuts and hiring freezes must seem especially frightening.
So I tracked down and interviewed James
Adams, a 70-year-old former Minneapolis resident who's seen it all.
He's has held -- count 'em -- 107 jobs in his
life. In fact, Adams became so skilled at getting jobs that the U.S.
government hired him to teach his job search secrets to others!
Without further ado, here are three job
hunting tactics for hard times, from the school of hard knocks.
1) Don't take every help-want ad at
Some employment ads are written to prevent
all but the most gung-ho job seekers from applying.
Reason? To prevent a flood of resumes that
would take days to read, some employers purposely place ads that ask for
"I recall a help-wanted ad for a shipping
clerk that read like a laundry list. They wanted someone with a college
degree (master's preferred), able to lift 300 lbs., type 50+ words a
minute -- it went on and on," says Adams.
So, how did Adams overcome this obstacle?
"I took the direct approach. I went down to
the company and said, 'Here I am!' I told them that God himself couldn't
meet all their qualifications, but if they wanted a top-notch shipping
clerk, I was their man."
He got the job.
2) You may be more qualified than you
Adams once advised an applicant to talk about
her hobby as a private pilot when interviewing for a position at a
The job required a manager to oversee a plant
delivering electricity to consumers across California. Making the wrong
decision -- or no decision -- would put thousands of people in the dark.
As a private pilot, this woman had safely
landed a crippled aircraft not once, but twice. Had she not made the
right decisions fast, while focusing on a solution, she wouldn't have
By proving her decision-making ability, which
transferred easily from piloting to power plant management, she aced out
dozens of other applicants -- and got the job.
3) Rejection letters can be a good
Your response to a letter of rejection may,
incredibly, get you the job.
Because, when a hiring panel interviews
several applicants but still can't decide on one candidate, they may
send out rejection letters to test the mettle of those job seekers.
"I was consulted by a woman who interviewed
very well for a position, but still got a letter of rejection. Most
people would have torn up the letter and gone on to other things," says
Instead, Adams told her to write a gracious
reply, thanking the company for their time and reaffirming her strong
desire to work for them.
Did it work?
"The top contender for the position had to
relocate on short notice. The hiring panel remembered the letter they
got from the really eager and pleasant woman who replied to their
rejection letter. She got the job," says Adams.
So, take it from a job search pro who's been
there and done that. You can do great things in your career if you
exercise persistence, politeness and a little street smarts.
-- Kevin Donlin is the author of "Resume
and Cover Letter Secrets Revealed," a do-it-yourself manual that will
help you find a job