The job market is a competitive place – it’s basically The Hunger Games of job seekers. But rather than 24 so-called “tributes” from 12 different districts being forced to fight to the death until the last living tribute is crowned the annual Games’ victor, an average of 118 job seekers fight tooth and nail for any given job until the last man standing is awarded an employment contract.
Of those 118 applicants, only 20% (or 23.6 people) actually get an interview, but to be chosen for the coveted position, they need to stand out from the crowd. Unfortunately, however, it can be extremely difficult to do so when, to paraphrase Effie Trinket, the odds aren’t in your favor.
Desperate times, therefore, call for desperate measures. And these five job seekers are proof of that.
1. Rent a Billboard
We all heard about Adam Pacitti, the man who, in 2013, rented a billboard that read “I spent my last £500 on this billboard. Please give me a job.” Pacitti’s marketing campaign was accompanied by a website called EmployAdam.com (now archived but you can view the original site here), and he went on to receive almost 60 job offers before accepting a job with Seachange.
But Pacitti wasn’t the first person to use a billboard in his job hunting efforts.
Irish marketing graduate Féilim Mac An Iomaire, or “Jobless Paddy”, spent his life savings in May 2011 to erect a billboard ad on the busy Merrion Road in Dublin with the message: “Save me from emigration”. His plea to Irish employers to save him from emigrating to look for work during the country’s property crash and fiscal crisis resulted in 20 interviews and several job offers. In fact, just a few weeks after shooting to fame for his creative marketing ploy, Mac An Iomaire landed a job with bookmaker Paddy Power.
2. Start a Social Media Campaign
With employers increasingly turning to social media as part of their recruiting efforts, Lisa Blackwell took advantage of this, and it seriously paid off.
When Blackwell stumbled upon the University of Michigan’s job ad for social media recruiter, she didn’t follow the standard send-your-résumé-and-cover-letter application process; she started a social media campaign called Dear Lisa Rudgers (complete with a website and a Twitter account) and targeted towards the University’s communications VP, Lisa Rudgers.
She was invited to an interview with Rudgers but, unfortunately, did not hear back from the University. However, she did get a job at Ingenex Digital Marketing in 2012 as their new social media director.
3. Send a Brutally Honest Cover Letter
Ninety-one percent of executives polled in an OfficeTeam survey said that cover letters were valuable when evaluating job candidates, and Lauren Nelson went as far as saying that cover letters were far more important than résumés as they better reveal a candidate’s drive, passion, work ethic, and even a glimpse into their personality.
Your cover letter should be an honest representation of yourself as well as your skills and why you’re perfect for the job you’re applying for, but there is a thing as being too honest. But one undergraduate finance student clearly didn’t get the memo when he took the proverb “honesty is the best policy” to a whole new level – and just as well.
Matthew Ross sent a brutally honest cover letter to Wall Street firm Duff & Phelps for a possible summer internship in 2013 and went on to say, “I have no qualms about fetching coffee, shining shoes or picking up laundry, and will work for next to nothing… I just want to be around professionals in the industry and gain as much knowledge as I can.”
The letter went viral and was shot off to every Wall Street big shot, many of whom raved about Ross’ bravery and said that he should be seriously considered for a job. His cover letter led to a job with Duff & Phelps as an investment banking analyst at their Los Angeles office.
4. Give Away a Free HD Video Camera
By entering competitions, you can win just about anything: from cash to fancy cars and luxurious holidays. To win these prizes, you often have to pay a small fee (as is the case with the lottery), answer a question, or participate in a treasure hunt. But if you wanted to win a HD video camera back in 2009, all you had to was to find Jon Kolbe a job.
After being without a job for seven months and applying for almost 200 positions without any luck, the father of two became desperate and decided that sending out his résumé the traditional way just wasn’t cutting it. So, he started the “Help Jon Kolbe Find A Job Contest” and began throwing in $2 Dunkin’ Donuts gift cards with résumés hoping that would help entice potential employers.
By September 2009, Kolbe landed himself a job with Affiniti Architects, according to his LinkedIn page, but it’s unclear whether he was hired as a result of his giveaway and who – if anybody – got the HD camera they were promised.
5. Film a Snapchat Video Résumé
Snapchat video résumés have quickly become a thing; in fact, Sober Lane, a pub in Ireland, took to Twitter in 2014 to announce that they began hiring for their new Dublin location and would only accept applications through the video messaging app.
But it was Elski Felson, who prefers to go by Eli, who took the trend to the next level in March last year when, after an unsuccessful eight-month job search, decided to film his own Snapchat video résumé, or story, when he came across a job ad for a community service specialist at the app’s offices in Venice, California.
In the video, he explains that he “hates paper résumés” and that he believes “a piece of paper [can’t] encapsulate anybody” before demonstrating an impressive list of skills which include “multi-tasking rock star” (while simultaneously riding a bike on the beach, spinning a basketball, and filming himself); “experienced researcher” (while typing “Why is my poop green?” into Google); and “great judgment” (for successfully guessing the correct weight of an onion).
Can you think of any other strange things workers have done to get hired? Perhaps you pulled your own publicity stunt and managed to bag your dream job, and would like to offer your tips and tricks to current job seekers? Share your advice and experiences with us in the comments section below!