The Creative Job Hunt: 5 New Ways To Find Employment

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2009-01-2723

Some people have become pretty creative about their job hunt. We’ve compiled their stories, which demonstrate some new ways to find employment. Time to think outside the box?

Newspapers are rife with layoff stories, and so this was timely: Fortune has just released their list of best companies to work for! For those of you who’ve gotten laid off, don’t despair. A lot of my own friends and family members have been on the hunt, and while some have found jobs (albeit temporarily), others are still going through job interviews and the application process.

They’re remaining positive and cheerful throughout the experience — I’ve seen no serious concern nor panic in their demeanor just yet, and for this I’m glad. Because by keeping the faith, they stay focused on their goals and become more highly likely to resolve their situation faster.

When it comes to job hunting, it pays to be somewhat creative — that is, so you can stand out above other job candidates and applicants. And this is precisely what some enterprising people are doing in order to secure new jobs and survive this recession. Their stories are testimonies of people’s resilience during tough times.

How are these job seekers doing it? They’ve decided to think outside the box and pull out all stops to try to get hired:

How Creative Is Your Job Hunt? New Ways To Find Employment

1. Hit the pavement, literally.

Paul Nawrocki, a 59 year old former operational manager in the toy industry, lost his job when his company closed down, and when he found himself down to his last unemployment check with a sick wife to support, he decided to take his job search to the next level.

He touts a sandwich board on his person that states “Almost Homeless”. His methods have been described as “depression-era”, and it’s gotten him attention. An interview with him states that he’s gone through the traditional job hunting routes, and that he’s still waiting for results. Hope we get an update soon! Here’s his website where we can track his progress.

2. Wear your resume.

Kelly Kinney is serious about wanting to get a job. She’s getting her message across by emblazoning her resume on her t-shirts, as well as on her car window and postcards for potential employers. The good news is that she’s been getting some leads, and has been carefully evaluating them.

Here’s what her shirt looks like:

job search, resume on t-shirt

And here’s how you can do the same: you can pick up this ready-made shirt from Zazzle.com:

job search, need a job shirt

or go for something a bit more ornate, like this classic resume shirt here.

3. Set up a web site and go Web 2.0.

How about launching a web site that is aimed to market your skills and work experiences?

I did a quick search and stumbled on this web site, and this one, both professional sites showcasing the profiles of a couple of fellows.

If you’ve got skills that you’d like to present via the non-traditional route — especially if you’re in a creative industry (e.g. music, the arts, design etc) — why not set up a web site (or Squidoo lens, MySpace or Facebook pages depending on your orientation) that provides prospective employers a look at your professional background and profile? With such a site, you can maintain a one stop shop for all your work information, and refer to it through other Web 2.0 channels such as Linked In, job boards and social networking avenues.

4. Offer a finder’s fee!

vacation travel

There’s this guy named Michael Checkoway whose background is in public relations and event management, who’s on the job hunt. And he’s using his expertise to try to get employment by offering a free travel package or cash as a finder’s fee for anyone who can hook him up with a job — and his giveaways are calibrated according to the size of the salary he gets. Great gimmick! He’s launched a personal web site that gives all the details.

5. If all else fails, go to Plan B: try changing careers.

bankers turned comedians

Now if your job search isn’t going so well, you can think about other alternatives. Would you consider a whole different career path instead? It pays to have some other interests and skills in areas that may not be related to your current work as it may be a potential backup plan in case your job hunt is stalling. In this particular story, some bankers found their calling as stand up comics! The lesson here is that we don’t have to pigeonhole ourselves into one kind of job or career. By being flexible and giving other opportunities a look, we may actually surprise ourselves and find equal or even greater success at new things.

Your Job Loss Can Have A Silver Lining

I wholeheartedly believe in the saying: necessity is the mother of invention. In fact, this very catchphrase applies to my own plight — since it was out of necessity that I left my job as a software engineer in order to stay home with my family and maintain a flexible schedule. Some health issues and family responsibilities “forced” me into a whole different life, enabling me to carve out a new “career” path as a full time blogger and accidental entrepreneur. I’ve definitely made the right decision. If you’ve left your old job (or if your job has left you), who knows where life could lead you?

Copyright © 2009 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Studenomics January 27, 2009 at 10:22 pm

I really like the t shirt resume too bad I still haven’t seen that in person. My personal fav from this whole list would have to be changing careers. It may seem like a daunting task, but think of all the fun you had moving up in your past job. Odds are you also accomplished many of the goals you set in your old industry. I hate when friends complain to me because they hate their job but they feel like they have to stick with it because it took them 4 years of education to get it. I would rather lose 4 years than spend the rest of my life working a job I hate.

Kristy @ Master Your Card January 27, 2009 at 11:34 pm

I’m surprised you didn’t mention the guy who marketed himself to the highest bidder on ebay. I thought that was pretty innovative at the time.

These are all ‘different than the norm’ suggestions, and I think certain employers will look favorably on them if only because they show a sense of resourcefulness, ingenuity, and the ability to adapt to change. All of these are qualities that companies look for in their employees anyway.

Like Studenomics, I also like the idea of changing careers, particularly if you’re not happy with the one you’re in. What’s four years of a good education to wasting your life in a soul-sucking job? So what if you change to something else? Most degrees have transferable skills anyway, so it’s not like you’re starting from scratch. I say look into it!

Kasapa January 28, 2009 at 4:52 am

Thank you for your sharing, i looking forward to finding a new job.

This article is helpful to me!

tom January 28, 2009 at 8:08 am

Great tips, thank you.

But losing your job can be an opening into a new avenue of your career or life. Be open minded.

Miss M @ M is for Money January 28, 2009 at 9:40 am

I wish my honey had that positive attitude, I don’t know how to keep his spirits up. His current career working on movie sets has always been rocky, now it’s even worse. He’s stuck in the what do I want to do for a living mode, he’s open to changing careers but isn’t really pulled in any one direction. I’d say get any job but unemployment pays better than minimum wage. It’s hard when you don’t have a degree to fall back on.

Start-Up January 28, 2009 at 9:44 am

I agree with the other commentors. Losing your job just might free you up to do something that you’re passionate about. A great example is Pat over at smart passive income. Although he was fortunate to have a second income already rolling in when he was let go. You would be surprised how well your skills translate to other professions.

Although this isn’t really a creative job hunting method, I would recommend tapping your colleagues. If you were let go for a numbers reason, ask your former employer or co-workers for recommendations and see if they will put in a good word at another company where they have contacts.

Larry April 5, 2009 at 7:14 am

Thanks for mentioning Damn, I Need a Job.com . As for the shirt, it’s effectiveness is proportional to the effort you put in. Obviously you should not abandon the traditional best practices like networking for example. Hopefully the shirt will break the ice, start a conversation or cause someone to remember that opening they heard about. When I was looking for a job, the shirt and the website were my latest idea to help me find a job. Lucky for me it worked. I hope that people are inspired to go the extra mile and be creative in their job search. That’s really what the shirt and the site are about.

Larry

Greg May 7, 2009 at 9:58 am

Creativity is key. I have a buddy who needed a job, so he decided to set himself apart from the crowd by creating a unique resume. He got the first position he applied for.

Marian Schembari August 21, 2009 at 7:54 pm

There are some very cool ways to get a job – mostly by putting your name out there, branding yourself, etc etc. Social media is a great way to go. I put up Facebook advertisements and they worked like a charm.

I also have a blog chronicling my job hunt, a Twitter account, set up informational interviews, resume business cards, etc… Now people are coming to me rather than the other way around!

Kate in Melbourne October 12, 2009 at 10:35 pm

Thank you for this article. I have been out of work for almost six months now. Despite sending off hundreds, if not thousands of resumes, letters and applications I have only had two interviews, no other call backs and an ever growing stack of rejection letters. My willingness to change careers hasn’t helped me. Before the recession I was in PR. Now I am willing to do anything – work in a shop, admin, bar tending, wait tables. Anything to get me back into the workforce! This has had no benefit though because the constant feedback is that I have no relevant experience. Thanks to your article I am seriously considering walking through Melbourne CBD with a sandwich board, and I have actually started writing the wording. I’m sure my husband will be horrified, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

Perplexed November 5, 2009 at 8:15 pm

Are you kidding? What employer is going to take any of these candidates seriously? I certainly wouldn’t.

Tom December 11, 2009 at 7:19 pm

Any new ideas for 2010? Thanks for the chuckle.

Huey Harden April 14, 2010 at 7:40 am

I would also add, work your network of friends, relatives to at the very least give you something to do for money or in kind.

This would be the time you forego being selfish and help whoever you can, because there’s this power called law of reciprocity. People will feel your generosity and will give you a break in kind. :)

Why not try online jobs? I’ve written online for a living and they do pay. :D For me, I took a chance and it worked out fine. :)

Huey

Nicholas April 29, 2010 at 9:35 am

Interesting, but I can tell you for sure that this won’t land you any job anywhere around Asia. (I’m in Singapore).

Do keep in my one frequently overlooked key element in – particularly international – job searching: “Cultural Sensitivity”.

Cheers,

Nic

Silicon Valley Blogger April 29, 2010 at 10:07 am

@Nic,
There are certainly differences in the job culture you see from different locales and countries. I actually grew up and worked in Asia for a bit so I am familiar with those differences. And yes, I wrote this article to reference the North American job market, and what works in the U.S. won’t necessarily work elsewhere (and may in fact seem outrageous in other places).

As someone who’s worked in Asia, I can certainly confirm how important connections (and recommendations/references) are when getting a job. It’s all about whom you know before you can even get in the door. It’s much harder to get in without past references. And the work culture is vastly different — elsewhere, you can be expected to work virtually all the time (think Japan and maybe even Singapore — my brother lives there) while here, you have a 9 to 5 set up.

Then again, there are job “micro-cultures” even in Silicon Valley. Go work in San Francisco and you’ll get the 9 to 5. Go work in the San Jose in a startup and you’ll be on call 24/7… ;)

Nic September 17, 2010 at 7:26 am

@Perplexed

I know what you mean but I think it depends on the individual. Things like this capture the imagination of some, whereas others resent it. It’s always a gamble. I’ve heard it argued as desperate, innovative, active etc but the one thing I think it always shows is that the person really, really wants to be employed and will be grateful for work. If they are desperate, presumably they’ll work hard. And these people are taken seriously. Another one I heard about was David Rowe, he also took to wandering about London wearing a sandwich board because a traditional graduate job hunt wasn’t getting him very far and someone employed him. Even Trina Thompson (the one who filed a lawsuit against her college because she hadn’t found a job) ended up being offered a job with the Ski Channel, I’ve no idea whether she took it or not.

Personally, it’s not something I’d ever do, simply because I haven’t got the guts. I think it does take quite a bit of courage to do that kind of thing.

Cedes February 3, 2012 at 1:29 pm

OMG ..! Finding a job is just as easy as finding a 4 Leaf Clover -_-

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