Video resumes and five other tricks to land the job

Sticking out is hard with more competition for jobs than ever before. Video resumes and other tricks might be the way to separate yourself from the pack. 

Ann Hermes/The Christian Science Monitor/File
Student Outreach Coordinator, Tesla Abrego meets with Boston University sophomore Chris Falco about his resume during a resume and cover letter review session at the Boston University Center for Career Development on February 4, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.

These days, a regular resume may not be enough to get you noticed. Competition for good jobs is fierce, and for the top jobs, you'll be up against some very talented people. What will you do to get noticed? How far are you willing to go to get that interview?

Well, if your answer is "I'll do whatever it takes," you are already on the right path. Now, keep going. From video resumes to PR stunts and creative direct mail, here are some of the best ways to upgrade your resume from ordinary to extraordinary.

1. First, the Video Resume

One of the hottest new ways to land an interview is to make a video resume. Now, let's be clear. A video resume should never be used in place of an actual resume. At the end of the day, people want a quick and easy way to look over your skills, qualifications, and work history. Instead, think of the video resume as a trailer for the resume itself. You want to entice people into your work history, and say something about yourself in the process. How do you do that in a way that is appropriate for the job? Well, it all depends on what the job is, so here are a few tips:

Tailor Every Video Resume to the Job You Want

If you're applying to a very creative job, such as an advertising ormarketing position, an acting job, a programmer, or something else inventive and fun, you really have to stand out. Be creative, imaginative, and resourceful. Add effects, get a VO done, or even create a mini-movie. If the job is a little more conservative, find ways to stand out without being too outrageous. You want to be noticed, but for the right reasons. This video resume for Google is a great example of what to do, and it has over 1.4 million hits.

Plan It Out Carefully

If you'll be on camera, figure out what you want to say, and how you want to say it. Will you need props? Will a change of clothing be required? Do you need to bring in a camera operator, or someone to help you film some of the more difficult scenes? Do you need a script, or a prompter? Some people find it easier to have cue cards at hand, just in case. The more preparation you do, the better the end result will be.

Rehearse — Then Rehearse Again

Unless you really want the video resume to look very amateurish (this could actually be a fun way to stand out, if it's done way over the top), then you need to do several practice runs. In most cases, this will cost you nothing but time. Try it, watch it, see where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Then, go again. Rehearsing can be the difference between a good video resume, and an exceptional one.

2. Create Innovative Mailers

If you have ever received an unexpected gift or package in the mail, you'll know the excitement it can create. Even if you know it's coming, such as a package from Loot Crate or Birchbox, you can't wait to open it up and see what is revealed.

This same feeling of mystery and surprise can be duplicated with acreative resume mailer. Many people who work in advertising, marketing, design, PR, and other very creative and visual fields will already know the benefits of this. Make no mistake, they can take time to create. This is not simply printing out a resume on a sheet of nice paper and mailing it off (or these days, e-mailing it).

In the past, I have personally created and mailed out first aid kits, published a CliffsNotes booklet, assembled a pop-up book, used 3D art with glasses, and even stamped my information on aluminum. These are the lengths many people in my profession will go to to stand out. Now think about your own profession. What can you do to go above and beyond the norm?

3. Put Yourself on a Billboard

Want to go one step further than a mailer? Well, how about spending a little money to put your resume or website on a billboard? A guy called Bennett Olson lost his job in a casino, and figured a great way to get himself out there was to rent a giant billboard featuring his name and web address. This is a tactic that has been employed by several other big thinkers in recent years, including Adam Pacitti's billboard in London, and Fed Brumwell's billboard outside of the Google offices. If you are willing to take a gamble, and have the courage to spend that kind of money (it can cost hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars) it could really pay off.

4. Employ PR and Guerrilla Stunts

Feeling really adventurous? Then go beyond the billboard to a stunt that will not only attract the attention of future employers, but news outlets, bloggers, and other influencers. For instance, Liz Hickok, a Georgia resident, decided to put her resume up in Christmas lights outside her home. It attracted a whole lot of attention, and many news stories were generated.

John Kolbe created a contest, offering someone an HD camcorder if they helped him land a job. And at CareerBuilder, you can see some of the most bizarre tactics people have used to get hired, including free foot massages for a future employer, and adding your name to the menu of a popular restaurant. These stunts may not land you the job you were initially looking for, but they may get you an even better job with someone else.

5. Place Ads on Facebook

Facebook ads can be highly targeted, and very effective at reaching the people you want to speak to. If you have a particular job in mind, in a certain part of the country, you can run ads that will reach only those potential employers.

Job-Hunt lists four success stories of the Facebook ads strategy, and the results were impressive. For instance, Sam Solomon spent just $150 on his Facebook ads, targeting specific industries that he wanted to work in. He received five interviews, 18 email follow-ups, and got two blog posts written about his idea. For some of us, $150 may be a lot to spend, but for those kinds of opportunities, is it really too much?

6. Try Cold Calling

We live in a world dominated by emails, text messages, tweets, blogs, and other impersonal forms of communication. The idea of simply calling someone to ask for an interview, out of the blue, may seem bizarre at first, but if you think about it, it's a fantastic way to cut through the clutter.

Other people are sending the CEOs resumes and emails. But what if you bypass that, and find a way to talk to them person to person? Of course, you need to have something important to say, rather than simply "Hey, can I have an interview?" So, do some research on the company. See what they have been invested in lately. What problems have they faced? What challenges are they trying to overcome? If you can offer insights, solutions, or ideas on those subjects, you might be worth listening to over a face-to-face meeting. And that is the end goal.

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