Creative Job-Hunts
December 20, 2008 4:27 AM   Subscribe

What are some unusual ways people have employed to get employed?

This Lifehacker post made me curious about other interesting and unusual strategies people have used to get hired for jobs. What else is there?

I know of:
* A guy who made a portfolio/press-kit like thing promoting himself to potential hires - he got a bunch of interviews
* People standing at street corners with resumes

anything else?
posted by divabat to Work & Money (13 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I have a friend, or rather had a friend, he's gone now---but anyway, he applied to a seed school w/ a tiny cover letter and 1 page of 5 or 6 color pictures of himself working with children instead of a resume.

Eventually they got his resume, but only after they interviewed him and asked for it.
posted by TomMelee at 4:41 AM on December 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

Campaign! I recently hired someone who, after going through the first rounds of the hiring process with me, aggressively went out and had numerous people in the industry call me and tell me he was the one I should hire. This kind of organized effort to get me unsolicited recommendations was unprecedented in my experience.

This wouldn't have helped him earlier in the process, nor was it in the end the most decisive factor, but it certainly was influential in advancing his candidacy, and was a factor in the final round as well.
posted by MattD at 5:10 AM on December 20, 2008

CV delivered by singing telegram.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:54 AM on December 20, 2008

Some of the crazy things I did when I first came out of theatre school:

- Faxed a monthly newsletter to casting directors with sections about my continuing training, any gigs, and quotes from press etc. I always included a quote from my mother, something along the lines of "Your hair is too long. I guess it is okay."

- For a theatre role that required Cantonese and sign language for a play that revolved around the difficulty of communication, I wrote a regular interest letter but replaced various words with Chinese and ASL. It was impossible to understand the specifics, only the generalities of what I was trying to say, thus underlining the themes of the play. I got the audition. After the audition, I sent a thank-you note with a fortune cookie on the cover. When you pulled out the fortune, it had my name on it! I got a callback. And yes, I did get the role.

-For a production of "Titus Andronicus" I wanted the part of Lavinia. So, instead of a regular interest letter, I took my photo and resume, dipped them in tea, burnt the edges, rubbed some 'blood' on it, wrapped it all up in a burlap bag with a lock of hair and left it on the director's doorstep. Now truth be told, I knew the director, and the producer was a friend, so I understood their sense of humour. I wouldn't try it on just anyone. I got the part in the end, and it was one of my favourite roles!

I did loads of other stuff. They were a bit crazy and over-the-top, but so is the field that I am in. I've changed my focus and calmed down now!
posted by typewriter at 6:19 AM on December 20, 2008 [9 favorites]

High school summer jobs count? In our community, there weren't enough summer jobs for everybody who wanted one, so I ran a box ad in our local newspaper, couple of columns wide. I forget the exact wording, but it was something like "I'm ready to work - and work hard - for you this summer. You can tell I'm serious, because who else would run an ad like this? Call me now at xxx-xxxx"

I got calls ...
posted by woodblock100 at 6:20 AM on December 20, 2008

know a person or friend of a person who is working there is the most common method.

Apply in an unexpected field. I had the skills that an engineering firm wanted but knew nothing about construction or engineering.

I got hired b/c they realized someone with a media/publishing background could do a good job of editing documents, since that is what I did in my former roles.
posted by Freecola at 6:34 AM on December 20, 2008 [3 favorites]

All you have to do is be creative, motivated and memorable. People looking to hire right now are absolutely inundated with candidates, and unfortunately 90%+ of them are boring doobs with cookie-cutter resumes.

I remember a professor of mine in design school telling the class that one of the most successful design portfolios he'd ever seen was from a kid who built a pizza box portfolio case and inside were "slices" of pizza, each representing a different project he'd done in school. It was innovative, memorable and creative. The kid received numerous interviews in a tight market from some of the largest ad agencies in the country.

Secondly, use any network that you have built, whether it's a social/personal network or a professional/business network. If you know 10 people in your industry, those 10 people will likely know 10 other people. Send an email (or call) each one and mention you are on the job market again and looking. It's likely someone no more than three degrees of separation away is hiring, is looking to hire or knows someone who is hiring.

In the past when i have been job hunting, I've applied to literally hundreds of jobs over the period of a few weeks. My experiences taught me that *very occasionally* applying to a job through one of the big job boards (Monster, Hotjobs, Dice, etc.) will result in an interview. Most of the jobs I've found have been through specialized job boards that cater to my specific industry or through a personal or industry connection.

I also have had good luck with jobs I've applied to through Craigslist. It's really hit or miss these days because even Craigslist gets spammed to death by the idiot HR people re-post the same jobs almost every day or every other day. The other end of the stick is the idiots who want to fill a Senior-level position in NYC by paying someone 50% less than the going rate. Sure, this is a tough economy but come on, people aren't that desperate yet (or are they?).
posted by camworld at 6:44 AM on December 20, 2008 [4 favorites]

I remember an old american apparel ad that talked about an employee that go the job by coming in wearing one of their tshirts that had her resume on it (she had used an iron on transfer).

My college advisor used to put a "brushes with celebrities" section on her resume (I have not had the guts to do anything like this).

It really depends on your field, though. And the sense of humor of those in charge of hiring. If you don't believe me, look at the sites dedicated to ridiculous cover letters or resume sections. Most of these were written not out of incompetence, but out of a desire to stand out in a creative way. It often comes out as goofy or pretentious, because it's really, really, hard to transfer genuine personality onto paper sometimes.
posted by piratebowling at 9:11 AM on December 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

When I was looking for a job after grad school, the jobs for architects were few and far between. While I did not find the job is was hoping for, my search involved flooding one particular market with resumes and cover letters with the hope of finding some work as an architectural temp. I received many encouraging responses and had a number of interviews all because of the language I chose to use. I billed myself as an "architectural cowboy". It caught attention. Eventually I did find a job -- not in the marker where i searched -- but through the grapevine created when person "a" spoke to person "z" about my cowboy-for-hire status.
posted by Dick Paris at 6:27 PM on December 20, 2008

This guy vows to do 6 hours' volunteer work for every job interview he gets.
posted by curagea at 7:41 PM on December 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

For one of the jobs I've had in my life, I threw in "Conquered 'Raining Blood' by Slayer on Guitar Hero III on hard" under the Skills section. I had an interview within two days of emailing my resume in, and my boss told me because I made her laugh, I got the first interview, and ultimately, a job offer on the same day. It worked for me, but honestly, I would probably not do it again. I really only did it because I was about 100 percent sure I would never get an interview, much less a job, and I assumed someone would look at my resume, chuckle, raise their eyebrows at my lack of Ivy League education and then ball it up and throw it away.

I'm hoping to stick "Can make a headline out of most 80's songs" in my portfolio next time.
posted by kerning at 10:30 PM on December 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

In the late 90s I started a humorous website based around one company's product and built up a cult following, including many people inside that company. A few months later when they came to NY for a trade show I dropped them an email to let them know that's where I lived and if they were interested in talking to me it would be rather convenient. We met, talked and I had a job offer within the month.

Previously to that, when I was applying to jobs out of college, I applied to a job at a tech publishing company and the ad said to send a "fun cover letter". Not really thinking I had a chance at the job (I had a BS in computer science, no professional writing credentials/experience) I did indeed have fun with the application, writing up some fake scathing reviews of products the magazine covered.

A couple of months later I got a call to come in for an interview. Could I come in that day? Sure. I met with the publisher and some others and then the publisher basically said he had a stack of resumes but mine was the only funny one, so did I want the job? Could I start today?

So basically I got two of the most significant jobs in my life by joking around. I'm not sure what the moral to this story is, if there is one.
posted by mikepop at 8:15 AM on December 22, 2008 [2 favorites]

I wanted to get a job in property management so I enclosed a resume with my rent check. I got hired and have already been promoted.
posted by Melsky at 7:30 AM on December 26, 2008

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