I became part of the great American Layoff trend in September of 2009. Having been in sales for over 20 years, I was confident I would be able to find another Sales Manager job. 5 years earlier I had been laid off and had another position within 3 months so I wasn’t worried.

I had interviews with 3 companies within the first 2 months and made it to the final two for two of those companies. One, the job got put on indefinite hold, the other they hired someone who had industry experience. Now it was December 2009 and everything came to a screeching halt. There were no new postings on the internet and every lead I had vaporized.

As the New Year dawned, I started combing through my Linkedin contacts to see what I could uncover. I came across the VP of Sales’ name of a very large industrial distributor based in the Chicago area that was a 3rd connection. Excellent, I had a name! I called and left a message (okay, a few messages). No response. I sent an introduction letter with a resume. No response. I saw a new posting for a sales manager position for the company. Ha! They have an opening! The HR manager I worked with at my previous employer now worked at this company in HR. I applied on-line and sent her my resume to get my name in the pile so I could get an interview. No response. The job has been filled. Now it’s June and I’ve been following other leads, networking, interviewing, but this is the company I want to work for and I don’t like to lose.

A friend of my wife had gone through David and Kevin’s Bootcamp the previous summer and told me about the Starbucks Coffee Cup Caper. Hmm, I’ve tried everything else, why not! I packaged up the Starbucks mug I had carefully selected with a handwritten note and my resume and off it went to the elusive VP of Sales on Friday afternoon. On Wednesday, I got a voicemail from said targeted VP “I received your package and am a HUGE Starbucks Coffee fan, originally from Seattle. We actually have two positions open currently and would like to at least give you the opportunity to have a conversation with us as your approach was very unique and certainly attention-grabbing. I will pass on your information and resume to my two directors (she gave me their names) who have the openings and they will be in touch.”

It took a few more weeks to schedule the interviews (after a number of calls I made to the hiring managers).  I used a 30-60-90 day plan as a follow up that I hand delivered to the office and finally got the job offer. I accepted the position on Tuesday, had the drug test Thursday, got married on Saturday, and started my job two weeks later when I returned from my honeymoon, exactly 11 months from when I was laid off. A very good return on investment for the $9 coffee mug!