How to get a new job without even applying

Spend more time forming relationships with people in your industry and less time writing cover letters.

After 15 years of executive recruiting, in 2000 Darrell W. Gurney reinvented himself as self-help author “The Career Guy.” To use the parlance of the industry, it was a successful rebranding.

In his first book, “Headhunters Revealed,” Gurney wanted to share the strategies of corporate placement agencies with a larger audience. “I feel all of us have one main job on the planet, which is to find what we’re really turned on by,” explains Gurney. “For me, I decided I wanted to teach people how to fish, rather than just give them a fish as a recruiter.”

His latest effort, “Never Apply for a Job Again! Break the Rules, Cut the Line, Beat the Rest,” hits stores this week. This time, The Career Guy is attempting to inspire his readers to end their social hibernation. And, above all, he stresses the importance of informal networking.

“The minute your outreach to people is that you need a job from them, you will get nowhere,” he explains. “You want to pull people in because of your passion and enthusiasm, rather than [repel] them because of your desperate need.”

Gurney points out that very few job opportunities happen the way we typically anticipate them. His advice: Stop spending so much time applying for jobs and start initiating conversations with professionals already around you. “Through the ‘front door’ you’re competing with thousands of applicants, and you’re completely locked into your résumé. You can’t get beyond your past,” Gurney says. “Through what I call ‘the back door’ — through relationships — it’s the relationship that comes first, not your résumé.”


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