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Two Renegade Hacks to Help You Land That Dream Job

What’s your dream job? C’mon, don’t be shy. Writer? Designer? Lion tamer? Everyone’s got one: the job title they drool into their lap over. But with so much competition for so few positions, what chance do you have of turning that dream into a reality?

The key to winning the hearts and minds of any prospective employer is to stand out from the crowd (in a good way). What follows in this article are two renegade hacks to help you do this without having to hire a barber shop quartet to recite your C.V.’s greatest hits.

The first thing to do is find your target – the person who’s doing the hiring for the job you’re after. Scour the big online job boards and put together a list of 10 position listings that meet your dream job criteria. When you find those advertisements, ignore them. Instead, go to the website for the company advertising for the position and find an email address for the best point of contact (that is, the person who is likely in charge of making the hiring decision or, better yet, the boss of the person who is likely in charge of making the hiring decision).

If you can’t find the email address of your target on their website, do these three things (in order until you succeed):

1. Type the name of the person whose email address you are searching for into Google and follow it with the @ symbol. Look through the search results on the first few pages and see if any of them disclose an email address for your target;

2. Type the name of the target company into Google and follow it with the @ symbol. Look through the first few pages of search results and see if they disclose an email address for any person in the company. If they do, apply the format of their email address to your target’s name (for example, if the email address you find has a combination, assume the email address for your target is; and,

3. If step one and two don’t work, take a stab in the dark with the more common personalized company email formulas. The formula is the most common, so try that first. If that doesn’t work, try the first letter of the person’s first name followed by their full last name with no full stops in between.

Once you have your target’s email address, the second thing to do is to compose your query letter. For the query letter to have the effect you’re after, it needs to have the following two elements:

1. A cracking subject line; and,

2. A humorous body that sells your suitability for the advertised job but that makes no mention of the fact that you’re actually applying for the job (you want to make them invite you to apply for the job when they realize how perfect you are for it).

Below is the subject line and cover letter of the email I sent to prospective clients when I first started freelance writing. The amount of work (and the inadvertent job offers) I fielded because of this email would blow your socks off.

Subject line: Feed me, please!

Good morning [name],

My name is Tom Alan. Without sounding like I’m begging (which I am, I really am) I’m prospecting for some freelance copy/content writing work and I figure you guys would be able to help me out. I have a double degree in Law and Fine Arts (majoring in Creative and Professional Writing).

I am currently on the verge of falling headfirst into a life-threateningly boring career in the law. So instead, what I’m doing is discontinuing my contract renewal at the end of March and pursuing a life of freelance writing (or, as my Mum calls it, ‘being a dickhead’).

I wonder if [company name] is currently looking to add someone with my skills, experience and qualifications to their wonderful team.

[Enter brief overview of your talents, experience and qualifications that make you perfect for the job].

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours sincerely,


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