By Colleen Kane, CNBC.com
As the Great Recession grows ever more reminiscent of the Great Depression, it's wise to take lessons from the generation who lived it first. Depression-era success stories are peppered with words like "gumption," "moxie," and "chutzpah." While the terms are quaint, their meanings are just as relevant in today's job market, and maybe even more so. Now that the initial stages of the job search process often lack face-to-face encounters, it's even easier for employers to rule out applicants.
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Here are a few imaginative ways that determined candidates can stand out from the slush pile of resumes.
Demonstrate your skills. As an inexperienced writer, Dagny McKinley pitched an editor reluctant to take a chance on her. She offered to submit her article well before deadline, and if he didn't like it, he wouldn't have to pay her. It worked, and after that, Dagny worked regularly for that editor.
Name your own job. When Stephanie Mayberry was between jobs, she landed in the office of an employment agency owner who had no work fitting her skills. She told him, "Honestly, your office looks like it exploded. I will come in and organize it for you." He hired her for the two-week task. Stephanie was memorable enough that years later, the agency owner called her to work with a federal agency on Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, a job she still holds today.
Position yourself for "chance encounters." One classic tactic is to hang around where your future coworkers go to socialize. Steve Langerud, director of professional opportunities at DePauw University, recalled a move his former intern made while she was waiting tables in Washington, D.C. "She gathered her courage and introduced herself to a table with her state senator and chief of staff, explaining who she was, why she was in D.C., and what she wanted to do for them." She got the job she wanted.
Try creative packaging. A contact of Kathy Simmons, CEO of Netshare, was trying to get in to see a Mr. Durkee regarding a sales position. After he didn't return her calls, she left a turkey with the receptionist and a note saying, "Okay, Mr. Durkee, let's talk turkey." Mr. Durkee hired her.