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Competition in today’s job market requires new techniques and advantages aimed at success. The frustration and discouragement that comes with rejection can cloud your thinking if new strategies are not somewhere lurking in the brain. Creative methods can help to put you at the top of the list for available openings. Taking positive action always puts you in control.


Some of the new approaches involve internships or apprenticeships, a willingness to enter an entirely different field, or temporarily accepting lower-paying jobs just for the income. Another approach is to offer free services. First, identify the business where you would like to work, and then offer free services for a few months to give them a taste of the type of employee you are and what you can do.


Recognize that businesses are struggling to stay alive just like individuals. If they can sample your work without cost to them, the offer is more attractive. Once you get accepted for a trial, you have a great opportunity to show them your value as a paid employee.


Now, we each a business of one, which means that unlike years ago when you simply offered up a list of your skills in the form of a resume and got hired, now you need to showcase to employers how you can benefit them. It is a chance to get your foot in the door. There is so much talent to choose from, everyone starts to look the same to potential employers. Thus, it’s the person who can differentiate himself well who gets a shot at the job.


It is a win-win partnership. Here’s how it works:


Research Is Time Well Spent
Research for several companies that you know can benefit from your skills. Then identify ones that could seriously benefit from your expertise. In doing so, you learn how you can add value to their organization by making them more money or helping them save money. In fact, if you completed several internships in school and felt confident you could use what you learned to achieve similar results for these companies, those would be the ones to start with.


Market Your Talents in a Pitch Letter
Since these companies weren’t actively hiring, a cover letter and resume aren’t going to get you an interview. Instead, you need to create a pitch to get the employer to see how you could help. In this letter, you offer to do a specific task for the company. You outline how many hours it would take you to complete, what you intend to accomplish, and what you would normally charge per hour to do this. Then, you explain you would like to offer this service for free in exchange for a reference or future consideration for hire. You also mention that if they were truly pleased with the results and want to pay you something at the end, you would leave it up to them as to what they thought would be fair compensation. Then, you print it up along with you resume, and drop these items off in person at each establishment.


Be Patient but Persistent
Don’t give up after just one try. At the same time, you don’t want to be pushy. The key is to check back every so often, adding more value each time you do. For example, a week after dropping off your proposal, you follow up with an email to each place, sharing some links to articles regarding the value of your skills to companies like theirs. This action could prompt one of them to contact you.


Get a Clear Understanding of Expectations on Both Sides
Eventually, you will receive a reply from one of the businesses and set a meeting. In that meeting, you discuss the work and how to accomplish it. They will identify whom you would connect within the office (the equivalent of a manager) to get answers to questions and gain feedback on your work to ensure it exceeds their expectations. Stress again that payment could be in the form of a reference or consideration for future employment, or they could pay you what they think is fair. With acceptance of the terms on both sides, you are ready to start.


During the project, you engage with the owner and his staff. This gives you the chance to impress them with your enthusiasm and your ability to work in their environment. By the time you are done with the project, you could have a job offer.


What Happens if There Is No Job Offer?
You still gain valuable work experience to put on your resume and potentially are paid a small sum of cash for your efforts. No matter what, it was the experience of executing the project that guarantees to enhance your professional credibility. Word travels of your competence and another business might be able to hire you.


What You Can Do with the Experience
You could end up liking the project work so much that you turn down a full-time job offer and become a freelancer. Since you have researched several companies you could do work for, you’ll find it easy to land additional assignments. Or you might complete several separate projects before finding your dream company and being hired.


Either way, you come out as the winner because you have regained control of your life.

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