At the time, David asked me to write a review for the first edition of Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters. I didn't want to but eventually I read it - twice - and gave it a rave review.
Then I started recommending it to job hunters. Most people didn't read it, I'm sure. They wanted me to find them a job. But one guy, Barry, got back to me and said, "I'm reading that book and what he says here about resumes is pretty ridiculous."
"Well," I said, "just ignore that part."
"But I don't agree with this and I don't agree with that either," he went on.
"Well," I said, "I don't agree with everything either. But look, for me, the guts of the book are the chapters on research. He tells you how to find companies to target, how to find out about them and how to make contact. It's good solid material. Why don't you focus on that?"
He didn't. And he didn't find a job. And he's someone who could have used a few guerrilla techniques because he was a nice guy, a smart guy, athletic and well-educated but he was sixty years old.
In person, he could have passed for 45 but on paper he was over the hill. What's more, he'd run his own company for 20 years and had a few short stays at other jobs as he tried to re-establish himself as an employee.
That said, when I started reading the second edition of David's book I had, at first, much the same reaction as Barry did a few years before.
I wasn't reading it from front to back. I just opened it up anywhere and the first thing I found, on page 280, was a section called The Killer Question.
Here, Dave tells you to ask the interviewer what the competitors are doing that keeps his company up at night and then call those competitors to ask for an interview and use the information you gathered in your first interview to impress them.
According to Dave, there's nothing wrong with this. The interviewer isn't your pal and he's not doing you any favours. The meeting was just a fact-finding mission for both parties and no commitments were involved.
That might be so but I would have to give it some thought because, to be honest, I was shocked and appalled but because I knew the author, I re-opened the book and started reading again.
This time, on page 139, I found Dave advising job hunters to start a blog. My initial reaction to this was negative, as well.
Every career counselor advises her readers to start a blog and it seems to be a mindless reflex action because starting a blog is not a practical tactic for most people.
It takes a lot of time and many people are not good writers and most of the time no one is interested in what they have to say.
The example given by Dave was unfair I thought because his sample blogger was a law student who had a passionate interest in Mixed Martial Arts. This made him the owner of some very unique expertise and he rapidly became known as someone who could discuss contract disputes in the MMA world in a professional manner.
Still, I had to concede that blogs weren't entirely out of the question. I had urged Barry to start a blog many times. He wasn't working so he had the time to write and even if no one found him on Google when they searched "marketing communications" he would be able to use his blog to demonstrate his knowledge of his field to anyone who might be interested.
So I pressed on.
Next I came to advice about email marketing campaigns. Dave advises you to create a list of 20 companies you want to work for and email it to everyone you know asking if they know anyone who works in any of these firms.
You also ask them to pass the email on to a number of other people they know. I'd never thought of this and if you do it well it might get some results. He calls it the email chain letter and it's on page 221.
The next thing that caught my eye was Dave's advice to use numerals rather than words to represent numbers in your resume (page 116).
I'd always made a point of writing out numbers as words because it looked more formal and dignified but I also know how important it is to make your resume easy to grasp at a glance so he pretty well sold me on that right away.
I had a mixed response, however, to the section on "Warm Calling". Dave's warm call is just a cold call with another name. Even so, if and when you do have an opportunity to speak to someone -- on the phone or in a face to face interview -- his tip to be ready to ask a series of short, diagnostic questions could help you identify a need you might be able to fill (page 206).
So what am I saying here? That when you read this book you're bound to find things you don't like. Just like Barry and just like me. But don't forget the advice I gave to Barry.
David Perry is a very successful recruiter. And his book has a solid core of vital information based on his personal experience researching companies and marketing candidates to them.
Every page is loaded with ideas and there's 300 pages.
There's information that can only be of interest to wild men like Dave himself, a true guerrilla (see his profile in the Wall Street Journal) but it also has a ton of stuff for people who aren't interested in anything too audacious and want to do something more than just sit back and comb through the want ads.
So you could toss half of the book in the garbage and it would still be a bargain.
In fact, one of your problems might be that it presents more information than the average person knows how to manage. When there's so many suggestions how do you know where to focus?
My advice is to start with start with chapter 4. It tells you how to find companies to approach. Then read chapter 8 on networking. It tells you how to identify and reach the people you want to speak to in the target firms.
As you read these chapters and the rest of the book, simply ignore the stuff that doesn't appeal to you and explore the stuff that turns you on.
I also encourage people to read David's Guerrilla Job Hunting blog. It has a comment section in which you can pose questions to a very smart and friendly guy.
And, finally, I have to wonder about something. If the WSJ had published that profile of Dave six years earlier, in September 2001, George Bush might have hired him to find Osama and history would have been very different.
You can order the book here