But you are a sorcerer. A sorcerer can make opportunities out of lack of opportunity. The following sorcerous strategy has worked for me, and for many of my students as well.
Step 1: Macro-Enchantment
Macro-enchantment, as I have previously explained, is the large, overseeing operation you do to guide the overall project. So start out by doing a ritual aimed simply at finding work that is appropriate for you, brings in the money you need, and does not conflict with your spiritual/magical efforts. Exactly what form this working takes is up to you. You should rely upon your own intuition, divinations, and spiritual guides to decide. Whatever you do, your macro-enchantment should set up the overall quality of the work, and serve to attune you to powers that are genuinely spiritual as well as material.
Some people find this idea off-putting, but it should be liberating: Rather than hundreds of applicants, there will be only a few. If you are lacking a degree, but have the essential qualities and experience for the job, a personal connection will help you get that across to the company. Putting the word out about being laid off should be your first and most vital step to finding new work. Obviously you will call your close friends and family, and perhaps use LinkedIn and Facebook to send the word out to your wider network. Take the time to look up prior coworkers and people you haven’t spoken to in years.
As a magician there is a lot you can do to amplify and, importantly, refine this effort. Invoking the powers of Mercury is a good bet for this, as are the elemental powers of air. If you have been meditating regularly, you may have the clarity of mind to sense what my friend Persephone calls the philotic lines,1 the psychic channels that exist between all people. This is also an excellent time to employ the lightning glyphs for viral marketing, steady work, and job-finding together. Working these three together into a petition, charging it with an invocation, and carrying it with you can work wonders.
As of this writing, according to the bureau of labor statistics, for every professional job in America there is currently an average of 80 applicants. There are so many people applying that companies are using any methods they can to narrow down the number of interviewees. Unless you have a personal advocate in the company to speak for you, you need to have a plan that will get you noticed. You need to reduce yourself from being one in 80 to just being the one. Thankfully, even without magic you can reduce the odds against you just by taking some common-sense steps and doing the things that others don’t. The first step is simply making sure that your resume is tailor-made for the job you are applying for.
There was a time when everyone would have one resume they would send out to all jobs—that time is long gone. Given the manner in which companies need to sort applicants just to get down to manageable levels, today’s job seekers need to re-edit or even rewrite their resumes to reflect exactly what the ad or contact says the company is looking for. It should literally be a mirror of what they are asking for in an advert. Here’s an example of why. If the ad says “a/r” experience and you write on your resume that you have “accounts receivable” experience, this simple change may get your resume tossed in the trash pile—even though a/r is short for accounts receivable! Why? Many times your resume is going to be scanned by computer to determine if it is a match for the advertisement. Even if it is a person going through the pile of 80 resumes it is certainly not the boss or even someone in the relevant department. It’s the secretary. This person may not have any knowledge of the job whatsoever, and is just going through the applications getting rid of all the resumes that do not have what the ad asks for. They don’t know that a/r means accounts receivable. All they know is that your resume doesn’t say what the ad does, and these others do.
The best resume advice I have ever gotten was to create a multi-page c.v. (which stands for curriculum vitae, Latin for “course of life”) that contains a long, exhaustive list of every last thing you have ever done on any job ever. When applying for a job, go through this list and grab the relevant bits and place them in the resume, making sure to edit them to match the ad as much as possible. If you customize your resume for the job you are applying for (and of course have no mistakes or formatting errors), you just went from being one in 80 to one in 40. I will talk about how to empower your resume with sorcery in a moment. First, though, I want to talk about the next step because these two go together.
Step 4: The Cover Letter of Venus
The next step is the cover letter. Think of your resume as your Mercurial talisman—it transmits information and tells them that you are qualified for the job. Your cover letter, then, is your Venus talisman—it tells them why they will fall in love with you when they meet you. The ideal cover letter takes an item or two from your resume and places it within a story. It shows you in action. Unless you are at the executive level, it should be short and to the point. By all means look at examples online, but for god’s sake do not copy them. The employer will have gotten a dozen of those already.
Here’s the great part: According to a friend of mine who is a hiring manager at an IT company, only 40 percent of applicants send out a cover letter. Although this is not a hard statistic, it does show a simple way to differentiate yourself. If you sent out a cover letter with your application you went from being one in 40 to one in 16. Not bad for just doing what everyone should be doing anyway. Better still, cover letters are the first place where you can not only list qualifications, but also make the argument about why you are right for the position at the company you are applying to.
Of course, we are sorcerers. When I spoke about the resume as Mercurial talisman and the cover letter as Venusian talisman I was not being figurative. You should actually charge them as talismans. When loading physical objects with magic, a lot of people look to hoodoo supplies to do the job. I have been witness to many conversations about how best to do this; what oils, inks, and powders would be best. These conversations always leave me shaking my head because they overlook two very obvious and important factors.
The first (two-part) question is, what year is this, and where are you applying for jobs? By all means bring a hard copy of your resume to your job interview, but in this day and age the interviewer will already have read it because you will have e-mailed it in along with your cover letter. Second, you should never ever do anything with magic that will work against you on the non-magical level. In this case, any perceptible weirdness on your resume will automatically disqualify you. Oil will make it look as though you just ate fried chicken and wiped your hands on the resume. Invisible ink will show up in certain lights, and those sigils you are drawing will definitely creep the hell out of some people. Powder is usable if you get it all off the resume, but the benefit is not worth the chance of making it look as though you are handing in a paper dusted with anthrax or cocaine. So if you want to avoid looking like a terrorist, a serial killer, or a slob, you should avoid the powders, invisible inks, and oils. Materia helps magic, but it is not necessary for magic. There are plenty of other ways to charge your documents.
First and foremost is a ritual reading of your resume and cover letter to charge the words themselves. You can call forth a spirit or even group of spirits and read it to them, asking them to empower your words and affect the minds of those that read them. Angels, incidentally, are ideal for this—they are messengers after all. The other option is to charge a master copy on your altar that you dress with all the incense, oils, and crazy sparkly sigils that you like. The idea being that what you do to that master copy affects all other copies, electronic and otherwise. If you can get links to the person you know will be reading the resume, you can build a honey jar or do some other type of working on your altar using the sweetening glyph. Finally, if you simply must do something to the physical resume and cover letter that you are handing off, try passing it over a candle flame, tracing energy sigils in the astral, or anything else that does not require physically altering the resume. I am all for materia magica, but not when it will make your mundane efforts look sloppy. If the custom resume and cover letter got you down from one in 80 to one in 16, effective sorcery will get you down to one in 8 or so. Enough to land you that interview.
Step 5: The Interview
At the interview you will use all the tricks of the trade, both magical and mundane. At the simplest level you should make sure that you are clean, smiling, charming, dressed for a job two steps above the one you are interviewing for, and have solid answers to common interview questions such as what your worst quality is. Too often in interviews applicants present themselves in overly personal terms and talk about what they are looking for from the company instead of talking about what they are bringing to the company. Ask about your role, ask about previous people in the position, ask about the team; be succinct, know why you are at the interview, and ask for the job. As for magic, start with a talisman and an invocation. Keep it simple.
In The Sorcerer’s Secrets I wrote a chapter on influence magic that will give a good start to conversational sorcery and the types of magic you can employ during an interview. I am not going to cover them all here because this is one area where having only a little knowledge really is dangerous. If you know how to do it, by all means employ conversational sorcery, covert hypnosis, and any other tricks of the trade. Just go lightly with it. Looking as though you are trying to hypnotize the interviewer with googly-eyed staring, or overemphasizing embedded commands, will not land you the job. Unless you know how to use NLP (neurolinguistic programming) and conversational sorcery without looking like a creepy boob, avoid those methods. There is, however, one thing that you must not avoid: the thank-you letter.
Step 6: The Thank-You Letter
Remember when I said only 40 percent of applicants send a cover letter? Well, according to the York Technical Institute only 4 percent of applicants send thank-you letters after interviews! If your interview was over the phone, an e-mail thank you is acceptable, but if they took the time to meet with you in person, you should drag your ass to the post office and mail the interviewer a proper thank-you card. Do it on the way home from the interview so it gets there ASAP. Doing so shows you have class and that you follow through on tasks. This one move alone can take you from being one in 20 to being just one. As with the documents discussed earlier, do not dress the thank-you with smelly or messy materia. Breathe a prayer onto it and let it go. As for the letter itself, purchase a nice thank-you card that does not have a lot of frills or designs on it. If you there was something you did not mention in your interview, this is a chance to mention it as long as it remains short and simple.
Here’s a little anecdote that shows how important the thank-you letter is. I know someone who was getting his wife a job at his company, and even though she got her interview through personal connections, the hiring manager mentioned to her husband that she must have forgotten a thank-you card, and that he doesn’t hire people who do not send one.
Step 7: Negotiation
Entry-level jobs often do not have a negotiable salary, but most private industry jobs above that level do. Everything from software engineers to window treatment installers negotiate their salaries, and you should too. Outside
I have found that the best magic for this is not any kind of controlling or influencing magic, but rather a combination of sweetening Venusian magic between you and the company, and commanding magic applied to yourself. In the first case I would recommend a simple honey jar. Take an extra business card from your interviewer and place it in a jar with your own card or a piece of paper with your name on it. Fill the jar with honey, molasses, sugar, and some licorice root and cinnamon sticks. Invoke whatever powers you like of a benevolent Venusian nature to sweeten the relations between you and the people hiring so that they look kindly on your suggestions and not hold any missteps against you. If you can consecrate the jar at the day and hour of Venus, that is a bonus. On the commanding end of things, you may simply anoint yourself with commanding oil (not too much) or carry a seal of Jupiter on your person. Other ideas are a mojo bag with a whole High John Root in it anointed (fed) with an appropriate oil that is not too smelly. Most importantly, remember these rules for negotiating:
- Try not to talk about salary until the end of the process. It is not easy to find the right person for the job, and the more time you have to make the case that you are that person, the better your position will be for negotiating.
- If possible, let them shoot a number out first. It may be higher than you expected. You can then accept it or tell them that you were thinking of a number slightly higher than that and see what they say.
- Know the going rate for the position. Google is your friend, but so are colleagues in the same or similar positions at different companies. Having a group that you are not in direct competition with, but with whom you can discuss salary, is a great sort of financial coven to be in. Sometimes a company cannot offer a salary above a certain limit, but can offer additional bonuses, options, or benefits.
- If you are hitting a wall with salary, try to feel out what the company can be flexible with. An extra week of paid vacation per year is nothing to sneeze at.
- Keep it friendly. They are not the enemy. You are working together to arrive at a deal that you can both live with.
- If you are paralyzed with fear about negotiating, go to a flea market or street fair and try to negotiate with vendors there. It is good practice, and will help you get your mind in gear to negotiate.
Jason Miller (Inominandum) has devoted the last 23 years of his life to traveling the globe and studying practical magic in its many forms. He is the author of Protection and Reversal Magick and The Sorcerer’s Secrets. He also runs the Strategic Sorcery Training Course and Strategic Sorcery Blog. He lives with his wife and children in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, where he practices and teaches magick.