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When Kate Nankivell applied for a sales job with the merino clothing company Icebreaker, she didn't just send in her standard CV.

She went out and dressed in Icebreaker's outdoor gear, got a professional to photograph her wearing it in various outdoor settings, and used the images to create a stunning poster which she sent to the company's sales manager with a package of her favourite organic coffee.

"Who is Kate?" the poster asked. "Kate is: creative, fun, innovative and passionate!"

"What should we do? Interview Kate."

Despite all that, Icebreaker didn't interview her. But the poster illustrates the lengths you can go to if you really want to get a job.

Ms Nankivell, 41, was made redundant from her job as a business development manager for Yellow Pages in April.

"It was a surprise," she says.

But she was better equipped than many people to deal with it because her sales experience had made her aware of "motivational theory".

She had also had a recent personal experience of the power of motivation, losing 38kg last year through a Jenny Craig weight-loss programme and an exercise routine of walking and gym workouts.

"So I thought, I have to manage this very deliberately, I have to treat it like my full-time job," she says.

She got up every morning at the same time she used to get up when she was working, kept up the same exercise routine, and applied for every job she could find.

"I could tell very early on that the really competitive nature of the market meant that the numbers game was going to play a big part," she says.

She asked recruitment agencies to review her curriculum vitae and took their advice to emphasise the responsibilities and achievements in her previous roles.

Then she made a list of 40 to 50 colleagues and clients she had met through her previous jobs and rang all of them.

"I just kept ringing people - if you hear of anything, do let me know," she says.

"I rang companies that I wanted to work for. I asked people if they knew people and rang up and had coffee with people."

She decided to market herself as a motivational speaker and created a website drawing on her weight loss, forceofnature.co.nz.

She joined networking group Women Sole Proprietors in Parnell, where she lives, and a Birkenhead women's network run by a friend.

She attended a seminar for redundant people run by Salt Recruitment, but stayed away from Work and Income.

"I just said to myself, I'm not going there, I expect that I will generate an opportunity for myself without having to go there."

It took time. "You sure have your down days," she admits.

But in July she landed a job as a business development manager for Kiwibank, responsible for Prezzy Cards, a prepaid Visa card designed for companies to give as rewards to outstanding employees.

In the end it was a tribute to networking.

"My current manager [at Kiwibank] had spoken to someone who was a senior manager at Yellow, who recommended me," she says.

"I did lots and lots of things. You have to do it all."