Most of the job-hunting advice out there suggests that you should be focused in your search. Target those companies that interest you, and that have openings that closely fit your qualifications.
To which I say: malarkey! I much prefer what I call the “shoot enough bullets into a forest and eventually a deer will wander in front of one of them” approach. This served me well when I was at (ahem) Wharton, where no job was too out there for me to apply for. After all, what is “obscure”, but just another word for “opportunity”?
Plus it’s not like the companies actually expect anyone to have those exact qualifications –they’re merely guidelines, suggestions, a wishlist. They want ten years of experience and you have two? Pshaw, that’s easy. Both numbers start with the letter “t”, so clearly that’s close enough. Besides, you read these job descriptions that are incredibly detailed while being almost whimsically arcane, and you realize that they can’t possibly be serious. “Must have worked at least 6.3 years in the salt mines of the Congo, and be fluent in 16 out of the 44 known Swahili dialects” – trust me, they’re just testing you to see if you have the boldness and confidence to ignore all that and apply anyway.
You should also make sure that you tell everyone – and I mean everyone – that you’re looking for a job. There’s no pride at stake here, folks – if you’re damn good at what you do (ahem, like I am), then you know you’ll be doing the little people a favor by giving them access to your amazing skillset. In fact, you might want to emphasize to them that they should act fast, as an opportunity like this might not come up again. This is what I do, and we can all see how great it’s been working for me. Here are some recent examples:
At the Village Tap with Diane and some of her friends
Me: So what do you do, Charise?
Charise: Oh, I work for Costco in the eye depa…..
Me, interrupting: Wait. Did you say…..Costco?? As in…Mecca??
Charise: Yes, that Costco! I take it you’re a big fa…
Me: Hire me! Did I mention I’m job-hunting? And I’m brilliant! Talented! Diverse! I got diversity in spades!
I then finish up with the Sad Cancer Face, which is always a great way to clinch the deal. I’m still waiting to hear back from Charise, but clearly she’s just trying to jump some hurdles for me, so that I don’t have to. (Yo, Charise, call me, okay?)
At For Your Canine, with Timmy for his evaluation
Karen: So your schedule is flexible, in terms of bringing him in for classes?
Me: Oh, absolutely, I could bring him in at any time. I’m self-employed, and low on work at the moment.
Karen: Oh, that’s too bad. What do you do?
Me: Marketing, market research, writing, communications, strategy – I’m basically your go-to person in all of those areas. I’m excellent at what I do.
Me: Aha! You need someone, don’t you? I can see it in your furrowed brow. Unless your forehead normally looks all crumpled and wrinkly like that, in which case, never mind.
Still waiting to hear back from her too, but again, I have faith. (Psst, Karen, call me!)