Getting hired can be a competitive endeavor, so you’ll need to work extra hard in order to capture a prospective employer’s attention. For some jobs, that might mean doing something really wild to get someone to notice you.
While some employers say they still prefer a standard, non-flashy resume to the ramped-up, over-designed creative resume, other employers will pay heed to the crazy, zany or downright outlandish attempts at grabbing their attention. If you’re in need of some inspiration for getting a prospective employer’s attention, here are some things you might try.
Just remember to make sure whatever method you use, is not illegal, unethical or inappropriate for a business environment
1. Pay for a billboard
When you want to share the message about your candidacy in the loudest and proudest way possible, pay for a billboard that advertises your best skills. Naturally, this is going to cost you some money, but it could be worth it if it lands you that great-paying job. And if you’ve spent your last dime on that outlandish job application, ask your employer for an advance to pay the bills once you get hired.
Of course, the billboard will need to be strategically placed in a location where the hiring managers are going to see it. Somewhere near the boss’ office window is ideal, but really, any billboard that lies along the route to the workplace building is probably a good choice.
2. Use a creative resume
As mentioned, some employers like them, some would rather not see them. If you’re going to make a creative resume, it should be somehow related to the job for which you’re applying. If you’re applying for a job as an architect, for example, you might create a resume using a CAD program. If you’re applying for a job as a wedding planner, you might format your resume as a wedding invitation or a "save the date" invitation. Just make sure that the information you include is easy to read, and that employers don’t have to search around too much to see your work experience, skills and education.
In other words, you need to still make your resume easily scannable so that employers can find out what they need to know about you as fast as possible. According to the Society for Human Resources Management, employers tend spend less than five minutes on a resume before they decide whether or not a candidate is a good one.
3. Make an application video
In today’s digital world, videos are a popular way for people to gather information. With that in mind, they could be a great way for you to capture the attention of your prospective employer. That is, if the video is well-produced, meaning the audio sounds good, the video is not grainy, and the background and scene present you in a good light.
If all you’re able to do is to create a quick video in your dirty kitchen while the kids are running around, it’s probably not worth doing. When you create the video, upload it to a site such as YouTube, where it’s easy for employers to access. Then check the link before you include it in an email so that technical difficulties don’t get in the way of you getting that dream job.
4. Create a Google ad
It costs a bit of money, but placing a Google ad that will be noticed by employers is a crazy -- yet possibly effective -- way to grab an employer’s attention. TNW News tells the story of Alec Brownstein, who placed ads that were matched to the names of advertising creative directors at agencies for which he wanted to work. Since those creative directors were keeping tabs on their own names through Google Alerts (or something similar), they found the ads. Several were impressed enough to bring Brownstein in for an interview, and it ended up landing him a job.
5. Complete a project and kick butt
This is crazy, only because it’s going to involve a lot of work that you’re not likely to get paid for. Still, if it gets you the job, it may be worth it. Find out what the employer needs or what they’re working on, and then complete a piece of the puzzle. If you know the employer is going to soon bid on the design of the local town square, for example, you might submit your own mock design. Heck, if it doesn’t get you anywhere with one employer, you could always try to submit it to the employer’s competitor for consideration.
6. Picket the office
Similar to the billboard idea, another thing to try is to set up shop outside the employer’s office, armed with a picket sign that showcases your top skills, or perhaps even provides a link to your online portfolio. This may border on stalking, but hey, we’re talking about crazy ways to get an employer’s attention here, right?
7. Stalk the employer on personal time
Some applicants have even gone so far as to send application materials, gift baskets and other swag to prospective employers -- at their homes. While this is not recommended, as it can seem creepy to know that much about a prospective employer, it COULD get you noticed. That’s not to say you’ll be noticed and then hired, however. Whatever you do, don’t show up to a prospective employer’s home, or try to bug him or her on their personal time. That’s probably not going to end well. Think police and restraining orders.
8. Research the employer to find out what she likes
While crazy stunts may or may not be well-received by a prospective employer, there’s one thing that can help you find out what MIGHT work: Research. Get to know the employer, what the company’s needs are, its future direction, and the backgrounds of the managers. Research the products it creates and the contractors and clients it works with. This kind of information will help you tailor your crazy stunt to the employer. If you find out that the hiring manager is a chocoholic, for example, you could send a basket of gourmet chocolates.
In addition to these crazy tactics, you also have another ace in the hole when it comes to getting hired: The job market is actually pretty good right now. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate sat at 5.3 percent as of July 2015 -- far lower than it’s been in recent years. Also, The United Kingdom’s Office for National Statistics, reported the employment rate in the U.K. in November 2014 was the highest it’s been since the ONS began keeping records in 1971, standing at 73.3 percent -- another good sign for you, the job seeker.
So if your crazy stunt does pay off, and you get an interview as a result of your efforts, good for you! Still, you won’t be able to rest on your stunt-laurels when it comes to the interview phase. Like all other candidates, you’ll need to prove to the employer that you’re the best candidate for the job. That requires preparation, including more research about the role and how you’ll fit into it, and interview practice.
See Also: Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For
Have you ever employed any of these tactics? How effective did you find them?