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Crazy Ways to Get Hired: 5 Unusual Job-Hunting Tactics That Actually Worked
Despite a better economy, it's still tough to get a good job. The unemployment rate for young college graduates is over 8%, reports the Economic Policy Institute. But the underemployment rate is closer to 17% percent. Flipping burgers part-time to pay off your debt from that bachelor's degree is no fun.
It's time to get the position you really want — but how? If the usual means have failed you, you might want to try something new, and maybe even some tactics that are “a little bit out there.” Consider the following crazy ways to get hired that have actually worked.
1. Advertise on Google
Alec Brownstein ended up on CBS News for his job hunting technique. It started when he was Googling the executives he wanted to work for and noticed there were no paid ads in the results. Figuring that, like everyone else, executives probably Google themselves from time to time, he opened an AdWords account and bought the top spot for several names.
When Ian Reichenthal, the creative director at Young and Rubicam, Googled himself, he saw Brownstein’s ad. He called, set up an interview — and hired him. The ad cost just 15 cents, and although Reichenthal said it was Brownstein's “great portfolio” that got him hired, it was the ad that got him the interview.
2. Advertise on a Billboard
Adam Pacitti was working at a game arcade after graduating with a degree in media production. After losing that job, he sent out 250 applications with no success.
So he spent months of work on a “multi-platform viral advertising campaign with full social media integration,” and rented a billboard. He says, “People liked the billboard, mostly.” It read:
I Spent My Last £500 on This Billboard.
Please Give Me a Job.
Soon, his job hunt made the news on radio, TV and in newspapers all over the world. The hashtag “#EmployAdam” made the rounds on Twitter as well. After fielding 60 job offers, he's now a viral producer (naturally) for projects at Seachange.
3. Put That Resume on a Beer Bottle
Kelly Taylor wanted to be a brewmaster in a pub, so he put together a resume and applied for the next best thing — an assistant brewer position. But his wasn't an ordinary resume.
“For my interview, I brought a bottle of a home brew I made in my apartment and put my resume on the bottle as a label,” he said. He got the job that day and was promoted to brewmaster within a year.
Taking the beer-bottle-resume to the next level, Brennan Gleason of British Columbia spent seven weeks brewing a new beer called “Résum-Ale,” according to a Huffington Post article. Gleason was just months away from graduating from the University of the Fraser Valley, and had been assigned to do a self-promotion project.
With his degree in graphic design on the way, and his beer ready, he put a bit of his portfolio on each bottle and sent six-packs of his home-brew to several Vancouver design firms. He landed a job as the creative director for Techtone, a digital marketing agency.
4. Use Cupcakes With QR Codes
Katie Oldham had an elaborate plan for getting noticed by prospective employers. She set up her website and had cupcakes made with an “edible icing QR code on top.” Then she found contact information for key people at the magazines where she would like to work. Next, she prepared cards explaining the QR code, her goal, and how to contact her.
When someone scanned a cupcake with a smartphone, they’d be directed to her website. The rest of her plan was supposed to go like this:
Whilst enjoying the amazing cupcakes, they can have a read through the website, which has what I am looking for (summer internship) and sections for my CV, Personal Statement, links to Scarphelia here, and examples of work that I have done online and in journalism… They are so wowed with my creative and cheeky way of applying for work experience that they call me straight away and invite me for an interview. Or at least… that's the plan!
She went to London to hand-deliver the cupcakes — and landed an internship at Cosmopolitan, according to a later report on WiseBread.
5. Make a Video Game Resume
Alexander J. Velicky went to incredible effort to get a job with Bethesda Game Studios, reports Forbes. He spent 2,000 hours creating a mod called “Falskaar” for “Skyrim,” one of Bethesda's most popular games. Among other features, it added 25 hours of play time.
Velicky explained that, “The best way to show Bethesda Game Studios that I want a job there and should be hired is to create content that meets the standards of their incredible development team.”
His scheme didn't work as planned, and no job offer came from Bethesda. But according to Game Spot, the popularity of his mod did lead to a position at Bungie, the developer of Destiny, Halo, Myth, and other games.
Other Unique Ways to Get a Job
Not all crazy stunts will get you hired, and it can be difficult to know just how far to go. To help you get a better feel for what to try and what to avoid, let's look some of the creative and crazy things people have done in an effort to get hired, according to Forbes.com.
- Putting a resume on a chocolate bar
- Climbing on a roof an employer was fixing to ask for job
- Repairing a company's equipment during an interview
- Sending a message in a bottle
- Asking to be interviewed in Spanish to demonstrate fluency
What Didn't Work
- Back-flipping into the interview room
- Sending a fruit basket to the interviewer's home
- Dressing as a clown
- Sending a lottery ticket to the interviewer
- Giving the interviewer a tarot reading
Finally, at DoktorSnake.com, you can pay about $265 for a “Good Job Spell” that “Helps you secure the perfect position.” It comes with a “lucky voodoo mascot.” No word on how effective the service has been for users, so you might want to pass on that one.
Your Turn: What's the craziest thing you've done to try to get a job? Did it work as you’d planned?
Steve Gillman is the author of “101 Weird Ways to Make Money” and creator of EveryWayToMakeMoney.com. He's been a repo-man, walking stick carver, search engine evaluator, house flipper, tram driver, process server, mock juror and roulette croupier, but of more than 100 ways he has made money, writing is his favorite (so far).