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Weapons for job hunting
Nick Walker
update on Friday, July 22, 2011
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The lengthy sub-title of this work is "How to Stand Out from the Crowd and Tap Into The Hidden Job Market Using Social Media and 999 Other Tactics Today" - which is another way of saying that this is a kind of "Job-hunting for Dummies" offering. But the Dummies series has its uses, and so does this book.

Thanks to ever-morphing communication technologies, relentless globalisation, and skittish market conditions, the job-hunting game has become more like a war of attrition. And in such wars, guerrilla warfare achieves tactical and strategic goals. Hence, low-intensity-conflict adaptability is crucial, or so maintain authors Jay Conrad Levinson and David E. Perry.

Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 3.0 is a very American book, and some of its more "pushy" tactics for pursuing a job would give you a bad reputation in Hong Kong, thus hindering rather than helping your quest for employment. Therefore, the reader should be selective and use common sense. It is also, as the title suggests, a playfully militaristic work, with chapter titles such as "Hand-to-Hand Combat", "Résumé Writing and Cover Letter Boot Camp", and "10 Commando Tactics".

Nevertheless, Guerrilla Marketing is generally relevant to Asia-Pacific job markets, especially given the popularity of LinkedIn, Facebook, and other vectors of social networking. Indeed, effective social networking forms a major thrust of this guide.

Thanks to the ever-changing business world, the book's two predecessors are now slightly out of date. And in this paradigm, datedness is the kiss of death. The next edition will likely be out fairly soon, but for now, this version provides enough ammunition for the lost guerrilla trying to relocate his office base camp. Still, it's a jungle out there, and only the toughest survive, as the authors remind us - by quoting Charles Darwin in one of their more dumbed-down moments.

Here, you'll discover all the usual - and some novel - techniques to reach hiring managers at your dream employers. There are case studies from successful "guerrilla job-hunters" that showcase what works in today's hyper-competitive job market.

One wonders though, are these real people? Some of these over-assertive alpha males would undoubtedly be told to get lost by the kind of recruiters we're used to in Hong Kong.

Moreover, the "Guerrilla Intelligence" stories planted throughout the book smack of self-promotion and hype. But there are good tips here on how to bypass the corporate gatekeepers and reach the hiring gods.

Guerrilla Marketing offers a plan of attack to outflank the competition, including little-known tricks (some a bit unethical) that will, the authors assure, get one noticed. There's even a fiendishly complicated flow-chart to help the job-hunter land that dream position.

But when all's said and done, this book is mistitled. The verb "marketing" should be replaced with "selling". And since selling oneself is getting harder, Guerrilla Marketing is a welcome addition to the business section of the bookshop, despite its breathless tone, corporate jargon, and lack of humour.

So who are these dudes? It turns out that Jay Conrad Levinson is chairman of "Guerrilla Marketing International" - good grief, a whole brand in itself! - as well as the author of over 50 other books. He taught for a respectable 10 years at the University of California, Berkeley. And is probably never ever going to have to go job-hunting himself, given the success of the Guerrilla Marketing series.

The other suit is David E. Perry, dubbed the "Rogue Recruiter" by The Wall Street Journal, and who has a notorious reputation for tenacity in corporate America. Needless to say, they make a formidable duo.

This is good provocative reading in testing times, but exercise caution in applying the lessons offered. Some tips will work, others would risk turning you into an urban workplace legend - for the wrong reasons.

 

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