21 Creative Ways Jobseekers Got Themselves Noticed (Part I)
Competition for available jobs can be fierce, and no one knows that better than the graduates who fight for them every July. Many graduates spend months sending out hundreds of CVs, networking and forking out to attend interviews, only to find themselves still sitting at home waiting for the call that could change their life.
Some jobseekers, however, take a slightly more unorthodox approach to job hunting. We’ve dug through the internet to find some of the most creative job applications people have resorted to in order to get their foot through the door.
Tom Skinner spent two years in corporate sales, and he was bored. He desperately wanted to get back into the creative industry he’d left when he moved from London to Brighton and entered sales. Unfortunately, Tom found himself pigeon-holed by what he’d been doing for the last two years, and so he took a rather unorthodox approach to get himself noticed and prove that his creative muscles hadn’t atrophied in the slightest.
Talking to The Argus, Tom said: “I thought I’d take matters into my own hands and do something that would really get recruiters’ attention. It’s hard to stand out on a Word document that can easily be deleted so I made something physical to send them, something representative of my passion and imagination.”
Tom created a CV in the form of a Mr Men story, telling the tale of Mr Candidate, a bored Account Executive who wants to follow his dreams.
“Please, Mr Pigeonhole,” he beamed, “I want to work in a creative capacity again!”
“Hmm,” boomed Mr Pigeonhole. “It says here you’ve been working in corporate sales for two years. You’ve been out of the sector too long.”
“Not true!” replied Tom.
The ‘story’ then goes on to outline Tom’s various skills and achievements, combining text, hand drawn graphics and computer generated images.
Tom sent his CV to ten creative media<div style="width: 550px; margin-right: 50px; margin-left: 50px; text-align: center;"> agencies, applying for roles in marketing and advertising.
On the 8th December, RecruitmentGrapevine reported that Friday Media Group, a recruitment platform and digital agency, had made Tom an offer. Billy Humphries, their Group Marketing Manager, explained the company’s decision to hire Skinner:
“Tom’s new role is to provide creative marketing for our motor brands targeted toward business. It’s a very exciting time to be joining FMG and we can’t wait for Tom to get his teeth stuck in.
The future of Friday Media Group is growth. For the next two years we have an aggressive growth strategy to grow out our brands to make them national and give them the exposure they require.
Finding the right candidate is always tough when it comes to B2B marketing. You need someone to capture your eye, and the minute Tom’s CV landed on my desk, I was instantly intrigued and wanted to know more about Tom. After meeting him we knew Tom would fit in perfectly at Friday Media Group: creative, passionate and eager to learn.”
Tom was very happy to hear that his unorthodox approach had been a hit:
“I actually received the offer of employment on my birthday. I am incredibly grateful to Friday Media Group for giving me the chance to reboot my career in marketing and I can’t wait to get started!”
Katie Oldham, a student of Mass Communications at the University of Hertfordshire, wanted to work at Cosmopolitan. The problem, of course, is that many, many people want to work at Cosmo.
So, Katie decided to get creative. She built a website, KatieOldham.com, to showcase her experience and skills, and created a QR code which links to it. Then she ordered cupcakes from a local bakery, with the QR code printed in edible icing on the top. She picked three places she’d love to work – if you’re going to do this much work, you might as well cast the net a little wider than one company! – and researched their editors and work experience staff.
Then she went to HobbyCraft, which she describes as ‘the best place on planet earth’, and picked up materials to create attractive address cards. She also included on the cards information about herself, what the QR code linked to, and her contact details, hoping the staff would scan the code and find themselves on her website.
She then hand-delivered the cakes and notes to her wish-list of employers, and waited to hear from them.
Happily, Cosmo’s editor Louise Court was so impressed with Katie that she tweeted photos of the cakes – before offering Katie a summer internship.
You can find full details and a link to the bakery Katie used, and find out what she’s up to now, on her blog.
Josh Butler, an 18 year-old from Essex, finished his A-Levels in July 2011. Somewhat leery of the idea of racking up £30,000 worth of debt to get a degree and keen to get into work, he started sending his CV out and landed several work experience placements.
Finding a permanent job, however, proved more difficult.
“Employers only take graduates,” he told The Guardian, “but I thought why not try and beat the system and sell myself on eBay. Me and my mum were sitting down having a chat about what I’m going to do and in the end, came up with this.
You’ve got all the different job sites advertising for jobs, but you’ve not got anyone advertising themselves.
I think more people will be in my position soon, with university fees going from £3,000 to £9,000 a year.
I was doing work experience at a stock broker’s and all the older generation I was talking to were saying they didn’t have a degree and the system had changed.”
Josh decided to try something a little different: he put himself up for auction on eBay for £16,000.
On the eBay ad, Josh described himself as ‘Eighteen years old, intelligent, well-presented, keen, motivated, hard-working, confident and personable.”
The ad garnered more than 960 views and was bid on three times, which presumably equates to three offers.
The Black Cab Ad
Emma Clifford graduated from Canterbury Christ Church University with a 2:1 in English Literature, but was struggling to find work in publishing and marketing. After being turned down for dozens of jobs, Emma decided to try something a little different.
She told the Independent her story:
Since my exams in May I’ve been trying to send out a CV a day," says Emma. "I’ve only had one interview, and afterwards they told me they’d filled the post. When I asked for feedback they never even got back to me.”
“It’s really hard to determine what I’m doing wrong or right,” she said, “I never expected to walk out of uni and into a great job, and I’m willing to work my way up from the bottom, but there’s just so many of us - so it is hard.[sic]”
Emma came up with her idea after a visit to the London Book Fair, where she had been told that in order to get a job, graduates need to start thinking outside of the box. As she left, she noticed the black cabs sitting outside, and thought about how many people pass through those cabs each day. She decided to have a chat with a few friends, and before long, she had not only a plan, but help with the design, and a cab-driver she knew had agreed to place an advert underneath the fold-down seat in the back of his cab.
The Desperation Billboard
Adam Pacitti graduated from the University of Winchester in 2012 with a First Class degree in Media Production. Despite this accomplishment, and hundreds of job applications, Adam found himself without a job or clear career path.
“I’ve probably sent 200 CVs out, but it’s so difficult to stand out on paper,” he told the Guardian in Jan 2013. “This is my way of trying to stand out. I had a summer job in an arcade, which I have done every summer for the last three years, but I finished that in late September and I’ve been out of work since then.”
“I am desperate, and I think I am showing that desperation. I mean, all graduates are victims of the economic recession. People are willing to work for free, and that’s not easy. Their parents are able to fund them, but unfortunately I don’t have that luxury. It’s difficult to find a paid, entry-level job in media or anywhere.”
Adam’s response to this difficulty was to spend £500 on a billboard in the London Borough of Camden that reads ‘I spent my last £500 on this billboard. Please give me a job.” The billboard also includes a link to his website, employadam.com, and a rather large picture of Adam, looking pretty desperate.
Within 24-hours, almost 10,000 people had tweeted about his billboard, and a similar number had visited his website, which hosted a four-minute video which showcased Adam’s previous work.
According to his own website, Adam received 60 solid job offers after launching his ‘Employ Adam’ campaign, and ended up taking a job with Seachange, where he worked as a viral producer for projects including River Cottage, Crowdfunder and Hugh’s Fish Fight. His campaign was featured in all of the national daily newspapers and he was interviewed on Skynews, ITV News, BBC Radio, CapitalFM and many others.
The Good Ol’ Sandwich Board
The job market isn’t just difficult for young graduates, as Geraldine Spiers discovered in 2014 when she was made redundant and struggled to find a new job. Geraldine, an experienced personal and executive assistant, lost her last job when her boss resigned. She revamped her CV, applied for hundreds of positions daily, and spent hours networking on LinkedIn, all to no avail.
She, like the others, decided it was time to think outside the box. Inspired by Adam Pacitti’s billboard, she decided to go a little more old-school.
She paid £90 for a sandwich board and began advertising herself at London train stations such as Victoria and London Bridge, as well as visiting companies door-to-door handing out her CV.
“Maybe someone is an employer thinking of hiring and hasn’t gotten around to doing it yet and they see me and think ‘Oh right, that’s the type of person we need; someone who is determined and professional going the extra mile instead of sending out CVS, as that doesn’t always work’,” she told the Evening Standard. “This is the next step; I am hoping a bit of media interest will kickstart my future employment.”
After two weeks, London24 reported that Geraldine was still jobless, but not giving up. She had received a few offers of interviews, but mostly for start-ups and she was concerned that she might end up in the same position. She pointed out that if she was struggling, with the amount of media attention she had received, it must be much worse for those who were not featured in the papers! She received correspondence from other jobseekers and described some of their stories as ‘shocking’, and hopes to set up a support group for the unemployed once she finds work.
The ‘Save Me From Emigration’ Billboard
Féilim Mac an Iomaire, from Galway, was finding it so hard to find a job in 2011 that he was facing having to emigrate in order to find work. In the end he became so desperate that he spent his last £1170 to hire a billboard on Dublin’s busy Merrion Road, begging local businesses to hire him and ‘save [him] from emigration’.
It paid off, and 26-year-old Féilim received 20 job interviews and a number of offers. In the end, he ended up taking a job with Irish betting firm Paddy Power.
Ken Robertson, from the betting firm, spoke to the Guardian:
“In my mind Féilim is a true rock star. I’m so happy he decided to come and work for Paddy Power. I have no doubt his energy, creativity and never-say-die attitude will be a massive plus to the brand.”
Of course, not every situation or job hunt lends itself to these kinds of wacky schemes – they are usually best suited to marketing/PR job applications - but it certainly works for some people!
Check back in the new year for our next installment of unusual, crazy and downright odd job applications.
UPDATE: Check out the second
installments of this series!