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Two overlooked but extremely helpful job hunting tools

Get creative, use personal communications and find job leads.

Getting creative in your job search may be the answer for more job seekers, especially in this economy. From crafty cover letters that mock press releases to humorous social media ads, people in the job market these days have found some successes in thinking outside the box.

While the above-mentioned tactics may be calculated risks that have worked for some in creative industries such as advertising or marketing, most potential candidates will need to find less drastic means of getting their foot in the door. Here are two largely overlooked, creative ways of getting from on-the-hunt to on-the-job.

The Informational Interview

An informational interview is a key way to get insider info about a company, field and position you’re interested in. This creative tool nets three wonderful benefits to those who use it correctly: 1) You gain critical interviewing skills and experience, 2) You’ll build and enhance your network and networking skills, and 3) You may acquire new and timely job leads and referrals.

Think of the informational interview first as a method for doing deep research on your desired career and/or company, and second as a way of garnering leads and referrals.

Follow the steps outlined at Monster.com here to get your informational interviews up and running.

The Networking Letter

Another creative tool you should be using to gain valuable job leads is the professional networking letter. Writing a professional letter that both updates and casually informs those you know that you are on the market can often be quite effective.

E-mail blasting a generic yet carefully crafted letter out to all in your contacts list with a request to forward as appropriate might contain a subject line that reads: From the Desk of [your name here:] Status Update.

However, a more targeted approach will yield better results. In fact, if you have uncovered a connection through your LinkedIn network, you’ll specifically address the individual and use the body of the private message/email to ask for an introduction to the appropriate employee.

Always start by updating readers with what you have done lately to enhance your skill set and stay relevant in the desired field. The first paragraph should briefly tell readers what exciting new activities, skills, and/or credentials you have gained while in transition.

These two tools can be powerful, effective and creative means to your job seeking endgame. Often, the only barrier to utilizing such tools is a lack of confidence or ability in personal communications.

To overcome these barriers, the next post will show you how to approach your personal communications by example. Until then, remember to focus on putting your best foot forward and as always, good luck!