Monday, 3 October 2011

"Extreme" Job Search?

Patrick Kingsley of the UK's Guardian wrote an article in June entitled "How far would you go to get a job?".

He led off with the story of an Irishman, returned from his OE but unable to find work in Ireland, who used his life savings of €2000 to put up a giant billboard asking for a job - and is now a communications executive with Irish betting group Paddy Power. Kinglsey followed up with the tale of a UK comedy producer with a narrative CV which told 'his' story of how as a child he was the sole survivor of a plane crash in British Columbia, was rescued and raised by wolves before making it back to the UK as a late-teenager; and landed a TV job partly on the strength of it.

Kingsley went on to relate two other incidences; a UK jobseeker posted 200 poster-sized CVs around Hull (and was fined!), and a Viennese media student is persuading her followers to forward a Twitter hashtag "#Hire[name]" to aid her London advertising job search (securing four interviews thus far).

Interestingly, these 'extreme' ideas aren't really extreme. Job seekers have used suitable communication channels in order to reach their chosen audience; a billboard for a communications job; a spoof comedy CV to get a laugh; and viral social media to find a promotional opening. While random placing of posters would not be good PR; pasting to noticeboards near targeted places of employment would be.

With so much media saturation, all of us have a heighted awareness of what constitutes good branding, PR and promotion. The difference is that individuals are increasingly using corporate tactics and technology. Young job seekers have the expertise to make promo films, DVDs, desktop publishing, social media and the nous to use new technologies like QR codes; as well as the tech-savvy networks to have their actions go viral.

Kingsley suggested that this was "extreme job-hunting"; 'desperate' measures taken by graduates to make their job applications stand out from the crowd. However, Richard Bolles, of "What Color is my Parachute" fame, has always taken the line that when job hunting, we must appropriately stand out from the crowd.

When trying to stand out from the crowd, there are several considerations. They are:

Know your audience & develop your 'campaign' to suit the audiences' point of view.
  • Use a channel that will get your audience's attention. Channels include distributed marketing (social media - Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, podcasts, blogs; print media - posters, billboards, flyers, CVs; film - DVD, YouTube, QR code links; in-person marketing - door to door selling, street theatre, walking sandwichboards) and direct marketing (harvesting network-contacts and emailing/mailing targeted offers to selected employers; research interviews; appointment & targeted presentations to a selected employer; specialist targeted CVs; or any distributed marketing channel targeted at a certain employer).
  • Be yourself & show YOUR personality within your channel, so when the employer meets you, they don't get any surprises.
  • Be simple, clear, & direct in your communication. Know your message; your brand; your unique selling-point; and what you want to say.
  • Don’t lie or mislead.
That's a start, anyway.

  • Bolles, Richard N. (2011). What Color is Your Parachute? USA: Ten Speed Press
  • Kingsley, Patrick (2011, 17 July). How far would you go to get a job? UK: The Guardian. Retrieved 7 August 2011 from


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