How far would you go to land your next job? For most, it depends on how badly they need a job. As a career counselor, I’ve had the opportunity to hear about many amazing and often outrageous stories involving people employing extreme strategies to find suitable work. Many of the stories may sound unbelievable to you, but they are all true.
When the Process No Longer Works
First let’s explore the factors that trigger people to take extreme action. We are trained to follow a set process when seeking new employment. To find a job, we simply create a resume, write a cover letter, respond to an advertisement, network with professional organizations and interview for a position.
What happens when this process doesn’t work? What are people supposed to do? They can’t sit around and wait for someone to come knocking on their door with the promise of a dream job.
Take Matters into Your Own Hands
Today, employers are receiving somewhere in the neighborhood of 200-600 resumes per job posting. In most cases, these resumes will only be read by an electronic system and get posted into an electronic job bank, never to be seen by a real person skilled in finding talent.
When people feel ignored, perceive the process to be broken or lack results, they take matters into their own hands by dreaming up extremely creative ways to give their careers a boost.
This is what happened to six people desperate for work and at their wits’ end. These stories are about regular people just like you and me who took control of their destiny to achieve a goal.
Although these stories are intriguing and highly creative, I do not recommend following these examples as a means of finding employment. They provide the kind of “out-of-the-box” thinking required for becoming employed in a tough job market. I hope you will glean from them the inspiration to escape the anxiety of being in transition and instead devote your energies to a creative self-marketing that goes beyond the pages of a resume.
- A seasoned financial planner eager to meet the CEO of a prestigious investment bank obtains a job as a skyscraper window washer so that he can tape his resume on the outside of the CEO’s window located on the 28th floor of a downtown high-rise professional office.
- A man relocates to Austin, Texas for a senior engineering position and gets laid-off in 3 months. Unable to find employment, he sets up a professional office, including a desk, chair and lamp on the side of a busy street corner with a sign that read, “Talented engineering professional seeks work.”
- A saleswoman unemployed for seven months sends three CEOs a pair of old beat-up sneakers with copies of her resume contained in the sneakers. Attached to the sneakers is a flyer that reads, “My sales efforts will get you out of the comfort zone.”
- A manufacturing sales rep joins a gym to meet the V.P. of a company she wants to work for. She makes a T-Shirt with the V.P.’s name on the front. The back of the T-Shirt she includes the following tagline, “Hire me,” and goes on to list her qualifications and contact information.
- A finance executive rents a billboard and posts a very large bio on a major highway leading to downtown. On the billboard, he includes the title, “Savvy Finance Executive Seeks Next Challenge,” and lists several of his accomplishments.
- A creative marketing designer looking to join an entertainment e-commerce company as the Art Director creates a three dimensional personal marketing mailer and sends it to the V.P. of Marketing via Federal Express. The mailer contains a sample brochure designed specifically for the company which was held in a coffee mug that read, “I am the right man for the job. I’m a creative out-of-the-box thinker with a knack for reaching decision makers with solid messages. ” In the box he also included an online version of his career portfolio to demonstrate more of his work.
Finding employment may be one of the toughest challenges to which you must apply all of your ingenuity and creativity. Instead of having your resume land in a pile of hundreds of resumes, think outside the box to generate job leads and interest.
To get ahead, you need to be your own marketing agent. Generate a targeted list of companies that would benefit from your unique skills and experiences. Next, fashion a list of creative ways to market your best skills. Lastly, develop and implement your plan. You don’t need extreme ideas, but you do need lots of persistence to see the job through. Don’t give up!