So you’re on the market for a new job. You know how important it is to stand out from the résumé slush pile. It’s harder to figure out the difference between creative strategies that can get you hired and gimmicks that will get you noticed for the wrong reasons. Our unique ways to find a job will keep your résumé from the trash can and put your name at the top of the candidate list.
Creative Ways to Find a Job
Network with Moderators
At conferences and networking events, presenters get swamped with attendees eager to ask questions and seek advice. Look away from the main crowd. The panel moderator and the person who organized the event probably don’t have nearly the same demand on their attention. Strike up a conversation and explain what you’re interested in. Moderators often have plenty of connections and may be able to suggest someone who you should meet.
Try a Social Media Campaign
Why not try attracting hiring managers to you, instead of hoping your application is at the top of the pile? There are a few good reasons to launch a social media campaign to find a job.
First, you may be better connected than you think. Friends and family may know someone who’s hiring in your field and recommend you. Second, employers look out for talent on social media. Using relevant keywords can get your posts in front of hiring managers. Third, a polished campaign can show off your initiative, as well as video and social media skills.
Use a Creative Résumé Format
We’re not saying wrap your résumé around a chocolate bar (although apparently this is a strategy that has worked before). Sifting through résumés can get monotonous. If you’re looking for a job that requires certain creative skills, an alternate résumé format can show them off. Think of a video résumé or an infographic that lends visual appeal.
Follow Your Dream Job
Find companies you’d love to work for on social media and follow them, regardless of whether they’ve posted job openings. Chances are that the CEO and manager of the department you want to work in are on social media, too. Follow them. You can learn about the work they do and topics they value. Sharing or engaging with their posts can be a way to cultivate a natural relationship. Remember, not all jobs get posted to public boards. Networking online can help you get a foot in the door.
Start a Job Search Club
Tweaking résumés and sending applications is emotionally draining work. Companies don’t always respond to all applicants, so it can feel like you’re calling into the void. If you get discouraged and slow your approach, it can prolong your search.
Get together with friends or acquaintances who are also job hunting, like a book club, but for job seeking. You can practice interview questions, share cover letter writing tips, and keep one another motivated.
Pound the Pavement
These days, most people assume job hunting happens online. While that’s often true, not every job is on the Internet boards.
Your local Chamber of Commerce and chapters or associations in your industry are valuable resources. Events and meetings attract local professionals. You may meet someone who’s hiring and find an immediate connection. Even if no one at an event is hiring, they may be willing to make an introduction or share advice about what impresses them in a job application.
Show Off Your Skills
You don’t have a job yet, but you can still publicize your work. Set up a clean, professional-looking website to showcase writing, designing, baking, gardening, or other relevant skills. Barber J. Clark Walker found work by using his Instagram account as a public portfolio of his haircutting skills.
Think about the right boundaries between professional and personal posting. If selfies and pet photos wouldn’t impress a hiring manager for the position you want, you may need to set up a separate account.
When Gimmicks Work
We’ve all heard stories about people who got the job by doing something off the wall. A friend of a friend knows someone who scaled the office building to get to the CEO’s office, or sent the hiring manager donuts every morning for a week, or posted their résumé on a billboard. Why do some gimmicks work when others backfire?
Some hiring managers take an over-the-top gesture as a sign of motivation. Others get put off or even creeped out (like the hiring manager who received a fruit basket at her home address, which she hadn’t provided the applicant). A gimmick that works is usually a matter of cultures and personalities that fit, and often a gesture that shows a value the company wants. It’s a risky move, but one that sometimes pays off.
Jessica Sillers writes about business, finance, and parenting for various companies and publications. Her favorite things include outings with her husband and daughter, Elena Ferrante novels, and perfecting the chocolate chip cookie. Read more of her work at www.dcfreelancewriter.com/portfolio.
Have you tried other ways to find a job? Share your job-hunting tips below or on Facebook and Twitter.