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Okay, so you’re looking for that dream job, but so are a lot of other qualified people. What can you do to get a leg up on the competition?
Legos, beer bottles, video games, or cupcakes are a few of the things creative job seekers have used to get hired. You can read about those below. Apparently a bit of craziness and creativity can help you get noticed by a prospective employer.
On the other hand, Forbes reports that a job candidate who backflipped into the interview room did not get hired. Neither did the one who did a tarot reading for the interviewer.
So to help you find the balance between creative, relevant strategies and just plain crazy ones, here are some of the things people have done to get hired, and then some of the things that didn’t work.
1. Put Your Resume on a Beer Bottle
It might seem crazy to make a beer bottle label into a resume, but that’s what Kelly Taylor did. Of course, it helped that he was applying for an assistant brewer position and the bottle contained his own home brew. He was hired, and then promoted to brewmaster within a year.
Brennan Gleason also used beer to land a job. The digital marketing agency Techtone hired him as their creative director after he sent them (and other prospective employers) a six-pack of his home-brewed beer, which he labeled “Résum-Ale.” Part of his portfolio could be found on each bottle.
Gleason was hired before he even graduated from University of the Fraser Valley in British Columbia. He still had several months to go to get his degree in graphic design, and the whole job-seeking effort (it took him seven weeks to brew the beer) had been a class project.
2. Turn a Legal Threat Into a Job
David Byttow was designing a video game and he had released a demo online. A company in California, which was creating a similar game, saw the demo and sent a cease-and-desist letter. In response to their legal threat Byttow said he would stop making his game if they hired him to work on theirs. He got the job.
Byttow used that experience to land other jobs despite having dropped out of college. Eventually worked his way into an engineering position at Google — still without a college degree.
3. Use Google AdWords
Alec Brownstein was Googling various executives of companies for which he wanted to work. He noticed there were no paid Google ads in the search results, and that gave him an idea. Since everyone Googles themselves, he set up an AdWords account and bought ads to target the names of the executives.
Ian Reichenthal, the creative director at Young and Rubicam, saw one of the ads when he Googled himself. He called Brownstein, did an interview, and hired him. The ad Reichenthal clicked on cost Brownstein just 15 cents.
4. Link Cupcakes to Your Website
Katie Oldham had a pretty elaborate strategy for getting a job at one of her favorite magazines. First she set up a website. It explained what she wanted and also had her CV, personal statement, and links to previous work she had done online.
Then she had a bakery make cupcakes topped with an “edible icing QR code.” When the frosting was scanned with a smartphone it brought users to her website.
Then she made cards that explained the QR code, what she was looking for in a job, and how she could be contacted.
Then she found contact information for the right people at each magazine, and hand-delivered the cupcakes to them.
Her plan worked. A report on WiseBread.com says Cosmopolitan hired her for an internship, which was exactly what she was looking for.
5. Create a Video Game Resume
Alexander J. Velicky, at nineteen years old, created a mod called “Falskaar” for the video game “Skyrim,” one of the most popular games from Bethesda Game Studios. It took him 2,000 hours to make. Velicky said, “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.”
Bethesda didn’t hire him, but news of his effort got around, and the mod was popular. As reported by Game Spot, this resulted in a job with Bungie, the developer of games like Halo, Myth, and Destiny.
6. Rent a Billboard
Adam Pacitti had lost his job at an arcade. After several months of putting in applications for various positions, he tried a new strategy. He paid for a billboard that said: “I Spent My Last £500 on This Billboard. Please Give Me a Job.”
It directed viewers to a website he had set up, and he also used social media to spread the word. Soon newspapers, websites, and television stations around the world were reporting on his job search, and the offers came in.
The Daily Mail reports that he was hired (not surprisingly) as a viral video producer. He spent his first paycheck to put up another billboard message, this time thanking everyone who helped him find a job.
The billboard strategy has been used quite a few times, but it doesn’t always work. For example, when Pasha Stocking tried it she reportedly spent $7,000 she had been saving to buy a home, and then she didn’t get a job. But she did start a public relations firm that helps people put up billboards.
7. Make a Music Video Resume
Alec Biedrzycki made a music video resume and put it on YouTube in 2009. It was featured on CNN and other media outlets. That led to a meeting with executives from HubSpot, where he was hired… several years later (sometimes these things take time).
You can still find the video on YouTube today.
8. Make Your Resume Look Like a Google Results Page
Eric Gandhi created a resume that looked like a results page from a Google search. When he used it to apply for a designer position at Google he was contacted within 30 minutes. He ultimately turned down the job offered by Google and was hired by The Weather Channel.
9. Hire a Boss
Susan Villas Lewis created a SusanHiresABoss.com. It gives employers a chance to apply for the job of being her boss. Of course, it also explains what she has to offer.
Her creative approach attracted the attention of Tim Martin at Rustici Software. He says he was so excited about her website that he read through the whole thing, and then hired her — or she hired him as her new boss.
10. Build a Lego Resume
Leah Bowman designed a Lego version of herself. It included assembly instructions that pointed out her skills and qualifications. She used this as her resume and was hired as an intern at an advertising agency.
What Else Can You Do to Get Hired?
Here are some more creative job-search strategies that have been reported on by Forbes, CareerBuilder, Oddee, and Business Insider. Some worked, some didn’t, and for some there was never a followup report, so we really don’t know (but they’re worth mentioning anyhow).
These Strategies Worked
- Climbed on a roof where employer was to ask for a job
- Repaired company equipment during an interview
- Used a “hire me” invitation that looked similar to a wedding invitation
- Delivered a resume on a chocolate bar
- Played guitar and sang about why he was the best candidate
- Sent a message in a bottle to the employer
- Asked to be interviewed in Spanish to show language skills
- Put up a billboard message visible from the employer’s office
- Hacked Facebook to show them his skills
- Auctioned himself on eBay
These Strategies Didn’t Work
- Bought items from a wish list posted online by the interviewer
- Back-flipped into the room
- Sent a shoe to “get a foot in the door”
- Wore a fluorescent suit
- Did a tarot card reading for the interviewer
- Dressed as a clown
- Sent the interviewer a lottery ticket
Job Seekers Tried These Tactics With Inconclusive Results
- Wore a shirt to the interview that says, “Please Hire Me”
- Had his name put on the menu where a prospective employer eats
- Wrote a poem about the job and used it as a cover letter
- Promised the boss a foot massage if hired
- Approached the hiring manager about a job… in the bathroom
- Showed up every morning for breakfast with the boss
- Parked outside an employer’s building with a “Seeking Employment” sign
- Sent a giant cookie to an employer, with his name on it
- Offered a free camera to anyone who helped him get a job
- Asked for a job using Christmas lights on her house
And Then There’s This…
If all else fails, you could buy a “Good Job Spell” from DoktorSnake.com. According to the website, “Each voodoo job spell includes a voodoo doll and special anointing oil, along with full instructions regarding what you can do to enhance the working.”
Once hired you can buy a “Job Promotion Spell.” Each spell will cost you $125… and perhaps some self-respect.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to get hired? Tell us about it below.