Extreme job hunt: Applicants ditch resumes for guerilla tactics
When traditional job-hunting methods fail, some are turning to the unconventional.
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Mr. Persky does attribute some success to his gimmick, however. He secured a position at an accounting and consulting firm in December, after an executive recruiter he knew contacted him upon reading his blog chronicling his sandwich-board story. “I think it did influence [the recruiter] and perk her up and give me a little extra consideration,” he says.Skip to next paragraph
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For those taking job-hunting risks, David Perry, author of “Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters,” has this advice: Stay within the bounds of good taste. “If something doesn’t tie into the job you are looking for or it’s dangerous, don’t do it,” he says, recalling an internship candidate whose ticking package, containing a metronome and his curriculum vitae, led to a bomb-squad call. “The idea is to get their attention in a positive manner.”
At least 52 percent of marketing executives and 26 percent of advertising executives say gimmicks – including sending a shoe to “get a foot in the door” – are unprofessional, according to a 2008 survey of 250 advertising and marketing executives by The Creative Group, a staffing agency headquartered in Menlo Park, Calif.
“I wouldn’t recommend [unconventional methods],” says Dale Winston, chairwoman and CEO of Battalia Winston International, an executive search firm. “Walking around with billboards is a little over the top. You might want to bring things to people’s attention, but in my view, you want to do that in a professional way.” She suggests volunteering or interning to get in the front door.
That, however, doesn’t pay the bills. So some insist on setting their own distinctive courses.
In Chelmsford, Mass., a group started The New England Job Show in February to promote themselves on cable-access TV. Each week, five jobless people record 30-second video “elevator pitches” aimed at potential employers. They are aired on the show and posted on YouTube.
Looking into the camera, Tim Proch, a hardware development manager and electrical engineer, says he’s “one of those people who can lead and motivate your team to make something out of nothing.”
Sure, it’s a gimmick. But as Ethel Merman’s character in “Gypsy” knows, gimmicks can work – sometimes.
Ms. FritzHuspen wasn’t the first to send a coffee mug to a prospective employer. The idea came from a guerrilla job-search boot camp she’d attended, hosted by Mr. Perry and Kevin Donlin, author of “51 Ways to Find a Job Fast – Guaranteed!” Mr. Donlin and Perry call the tactic “the coffee cup caper” and claim it yields phone interviews 100 percent of the time and an in-person interview about 30 percent of the time.
“This was just one of my tools in the toolbox,” says FritzHuspen. “[I]f I didn’t set myself apart, I simply wouldn’t get myself in the door.”