Last Updated May 21, 2010 7:52 AM EDT
Maybe you feel like you've exhausted all the options: you've printed out hundreds of CVs on thick white paper, personally called every company in the country and written a covering letter so comprehensive it has more detail than the entire Encyclopedia Britannica, yet it spans only a single page. What's left?
Sometimes you've got to really think outside the box. Competition for jobs is more aggressive than ever, and potential employees are being forced to be even more creative in their applications.
Here are five interesting approaches:
- Anticipating your potential employers. Alec Brownstein created custom Google AdWords for five creative directors at leading New York companies, which appeared when they ran a search for their own names, and provided a message saying "Googling yourself is a lot of fun. Hiring me is fun, too," with a link to his CV. He managed to get four interviews and two job offers.
- Showing commitment. Paul Nawrocki, after getting laid off as a toy-industry executive in 2008, took a 90-minute train ride to New York once a week to parade up and down the streets wearing a sandwich board advertising that he was available for hire. He became such a local novelty, he was eventually interviewed by CNN. Nawrocki finally secured employment in April this year, after catching the attention of the Fantasma, a magic tricks manufacturer.
- Understanding the market. While the rest of us were idly watching Antony Gormley's One & Other on the television in June 2009, then-unemployed graduate Alex Kearns decided to make use of the public spotlight to emphasise his plight. He draped a 10-foot CV off the edge of Trafalgar Square's fourth plinth -- cheekily listing "plinth dwelling" as one of his interests -- and waved a placard saying "Give me a job!" for his hour long duration on the structure. After his appearance in July, he was contacted by a manager at the International Business Development Group and was eventually offered a job a Sales Executive.
- Getting your foot in the door. This example comes from an issue of Folio in 1993, which recounted how someone who posted a shoe to an prospective employer along with a CV, and a note which read "now that I have my shoe in the door, how 'bout an interview?" The potential employer was so impressed he arranged for an interview. The man never got the job as he wasn't really qualified for the position, but he at least got given the opportunity to interview for the role.
- Putting yourself where the jobs are. When an apprenticeship scheme for the elevator industry in New York decided to hand out 750 application forms for 75 vacancies, they probably didn't expect to see over 1000 people turning up three days before. Thousands of people camped out in the rain for days for a chance to get one of the application forms.