“Don’t Send a Resume” is a book by Jeffrey Fox with some great insights on how to go about getting your dream job.  I’m going to paste a review from Amazon that I found to be a good summary of the talking points. The author of the review, Donald Mitchell, has a great blog as well.  Clicking on the text below will take you to his blog.

Mr. Fox challenges the conventional wisdom in useful ways in this provocative set of 44 mini essays on getting a terrific job. He argues that you should think of getting a job as “marketing and selling of yourself.” He provides the primary metaphor to marketing, and gives you an outline of what to do. He encourages you to get even more ideas by reading books about marketing, having made the translation to this environment and issue. The material is clear and easy-to-execute, and following this advice will probably increase your chances of getting the best job you are qualified to do.

Mr. Fox isn’t against resumes, he just wants to change the way they are used. Rather than lead with a general purpose resume, he wants you to customize a resume for each opportunity after having met someone in the company. “You are a product.” “You are not a robot, but you will be purchsed as if you were a robotic assembly machine.” As such, he wants you to fit the specifications precisely, in a way that you cannot do until you have more information.

His basic blueprint for getting a job entails these steps:

(1) target organizations for their fit with your talents and interests, and their geographical proximity to where you want to live

(2) research those organizations

(3) send a custom impact letter to the highest level person who can hire you to get an interview (you can use ads to give you an idea of what they are looking for)

(4) plan the interview

(5) estimate the economic value of what you can do for the organization

(6) bring helpful ideas to the interview

(7) conduct an analysis of what the organization needs during the interview

(8) write and send that individualized resume

(9) Follow-up with a thank you letter within a day with some new idea in it

(10) Plan any subsequent interviews to reflect what you’ve learned.

He encourages you to stand out, even if that means being a litle outrageous. He tells stories about getting a creative job in an advertising agency by sending a fish as a message and a wind-up toy to get into business school.

He also suggests looking for jobs where others don’t look — with venture capitalists, small companies, in China and Cuba, accountants and lawyers who handle family companies, bankruptcy trustees and lawyers, and commercial loan officers.

I thought the advice was generally pretty good. The boldness advice should be tempered to match the type of organization and work you want to do. You don’t want to seem out of character for what that person likes. Also, the economic benefits of your working with the company should be conservatively stated in the context of how that companies values such benefits. That point wasn’t made clear.

After you finish reading this book, I also suggest that you think about whether you should start-up a new organization with a team of people who have complementary skills. That’s another place where most people don’t look.

Add the most value you can to the lives of others . . . and to yourself!