A close personal friend came to me frustrated and depressed. "I've tried everything, but no one is hiring right now."

First of all, that simply isn't true. No matter what industry or how bad the economic conditions are, you can get a job and not only survive, but thrive. So I asked her, "Tell me what you've been doing." Her answer won't surprise you because it's what all of us have been taught to do when we want a job--exactly the wrong things. Specifically, things like sending out resumes, applying for open positions, calling and emailing asking for interviews; these things simply are not enough. It's time for a new plan.

Why The Old Methods No Longer Work
Technology has made it far too easy to send out resumes and seek out jobs on LinkedIn and several other job placement websites. The trouble isn't getting your information in front of the company you'd like to work for, the issue is standing out among a large stack of electronic and physical resumes that are equally (or more) qualified candidates. Simply put, when you play by the rules, the odds are simply stacked against you. No wonder so many people are struggling to get their next gig.

How to Win When the Game Is Rigged
When you have tried in earnest to follow the conventional wisdom and it's gotten you nowhere, it's time to pivot and change strategies. The definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results. So here's how to stop "looking for a job" and instead immediately land your next gig--wherever you'd like to work. If you follow this plan, you'll spend a lot less time searching for jobs and more meaningful time landing and growing your career.

Don't play by the long established rules
Be willing to do things that no one else would expect from you
What is the perk of working with you?
you need to stand out even after you've landed the gig

So how do I know all this works? Well, for the past 20 years, I've NEVER given a resume to the person who actually hired me. Sure, when it was time for Human Resource to have me sign all the paperwork I was sometimes asked for a resume, but the best possible way to get a job is when someone the company trusts walks you in the side door and says, "you have to meet this guy (or gal)".

How's that for an introduction? Your reputation already proceeds you. Be the one that everyone can count on. Do more than you're required to do. And do it willingly without a single complaint. When you have become a pillar that props up the overall company, there's no way they will let you go. So go for it! Get a job anywhere you want to work and keep it for as long as you want. You control your own destiny by how much value you provide to the people you serve.

Published on: Mar 23, 2015
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.