Whether you’re fresh out of school or you’ve been in the job market for a while, there are times when you have to get creative to pursue your professional goals. If the tried-and-true methods aren’t working, perhaps it’s time to try something a bit more daring.
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Here are just a few wacky ways other job seekers have set themselves apart in their job search (admittedly, with mixed results):
- Train Station Display: Hannah Ewens’ sign read: “Fine Arts Graduate (BA Hons) 2:1 St Martin’s Ask for a CV.” She also held up a falconry-skills sign and an op-ed writer sign, but she received the most immediate (and positive) response from her marketing sign. Her stunt was an experiment to see what response she could get, compared to similar signage displays by Alfred Ajani and Omar Bashir (who was offered a job the next day). Her signage display was a success (she received at least one job offer, in accounting), and she was approached by several other people regarding job opportunities.
- Cupcake Interview: His cupcake delivery stunt wasn’t the only factor that landed Jon Ebner an impromptu interview, and then a job as a salesperson, at Cater2.me. Combined with intense tenacity and an ultra-personal approach, the cupcakes were that nice touch that caught the boss’s attention. Although Ebner’s foot-in-the-door job offer was commission-only based, he incrementally grew in the position from there to become the east coast sales manager.
- Social Job Hunt: For social media addicts, the idea of taking social networking to the next level just makes logical sense! In her article for AdAge, B.L. Ochman highlights examples of how job seekers have used social media and online networking in creative ways in the pursuit of their dream jobs. A Pinterest CV got Jeanne Hwang a job offer from Pintics. Ian Greenleigh targeted managers and executives via Facebook ads and received multiple offers. Alec Brownstein targeted creative directors with Google Ads and earned two job offers. And, of course, that clever resume (it was designed to look like a Google-search-results page) garnered Eric Gandhi a design gig with the Weather Channel.
- Voodoo Connection: Some job seekers are trying “curses, potions, and spells,” according to Brad Tuttle, for Time. They are also getting cosmetic surgery. If it helps boost job seekers’ confidence (or restore their mojo), tactics like these might help, but only if they inspire them to pursue employment with even more tenacity and a positive outlook.
- Job Seeker-Turned-Stalker: Gail MarksJarvis at The Chicago Tribune spoke with some job seekers who track down managers at the gym, coffee shop, or even in the parking lot. Of course, if that seems like too much (and it probably should) there are also more innocuous methods: tracking news feeds for company retirement announcements, learning the lingo and buzzwords, sitting next to laptop-workers in airports or train stations, and maintaining a certain level of visibility — by volunteering, teaching, or writing articles. You don’t want to offend potential employers, but you do want to show them that you’ve got what it takes.
- Pay-to-Work Offer: This idea is way out there for most job seekers, but some candidates are offering bounties of up-to-$25k for referrals leading to employment. During 2011, Brad Tuttle explains in Time, “Forty-two percent of unemployed workers in the U.S. ha[d] been jobless for at least 27 weeks, and many of them [were] willing to try anything, including hiring someone else, to start getting a paycheck again.”
“At the end of the day, the outreach should be creative in a smart way that will resonate with our business, not just crazy for crazy’s sake, though that will certainly get you noticed,” says Brittany Cooper, talent management at New Media Strategies, in an interview with AdAge.
These job seekers found creative ways to market themselves directly to the company and position themselves as the perfect candidate for the job (even though there wasn’t even a job opening in the case of the cupcake-guy). Their continued creative efforts demonstrated work ethic, ability to think/design outside the box and conduct the necessary research, but it also showed seemingly fearless tenacity. That super-high bounty is also a great reminder that the jobs and the necessary referrals are out there. People may just need a reminder to say the word or point you in the right direction. Fortunately, your friends and former colleagues probably don’t require the down payment on a house to help you network.
Now that you’ve seen the extremes that other job seekers go to in their job search, what will do to set yourself apart from the masses of other job seekers? It’s not always easy, but it can work.
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