A hiring manager will likely see tens if not hundreds of resumes for the position you are hoping to land. In a sea of Times New Roman, how can you make sure your application gets noticed? Here are six extreme ways people have landed their dream jobs. (Don't let your effort go to waste by having these glaring red flags on your resume. For more information, see 10 Resume Red Flags.)
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- Create a Campaign
If your ideal job is related to social media, and even if it's not, one extreme way to get noticed is to create a social media campaign. Between Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and a personal website and/or blog, creating a large following and professional image will impress any potential employer.
Aidan Nulman, founder of Youphonics, a collaborative music site, has done some crazy things to land jobs in the past. He's created videos, sent in coupons to desired employers for his work (redeemable whether he was hired or not) and even sent in a box of lollipops with "Aidan's a sucker for [company name]."
"All three of those have gotten me in the door and made me some lifelong friends/acquaintances; two ended up in full-on offers," says Nulman.
- Sell Yourself
Want that dream job enough, and you might consider investing money in it. That doesn't mean you should include a crisp bill with your resume, but it might mean spending some cash on ad space. Taking out a professional looking ad in a magazine or journal relevant to your field will make a lasting impression.
Kim Ashdown, founder of InternUtopia.com, has her heart set on an internship with Katalyst, Ashton Kutcher's media company. However, they only accept college interns, so to set herself apart, Kim has launched a multi-platform campaign. She recently started iwannaworkatkatalyst.com, created videos explaining why she wants to work there and even sent cupcakes, with help from local cupcake store Hotcakes, to Katalyst's office spelling out "With love from Hotcakes and a most excellent intern." She has also purchased ad space on Google and Facebook, and is looking for a company to sponsor an ad for the billboard outside of Kutcher's office.
"Each endeavor is one step closer. It is like a living resume - I am doing things to show them I can get their attention by being creative, which in turn, speaks for itself as my resume," says Ashdown. (Learn more about getting hired; read Sell Your Skills, Not Your Degree.)
- Win a Contest
Is your dream career in a creative field? Take some time to find and compete in contests that will showcase your skills. This could apply for graphic designers, artists, musicians, web developers, programmers, video editors, writers and many other jobs. Look for contests with well-known sponsors, or even those sponsored by the same companies you are applying to work for. Even if you don't catch the attention of a particular employer, you will have more direct examples to add to your portfolio for future applications.
- Unique Resumes
It's usually a big no-no to add strange fonts, colors or pictures to your resume, and that's because most people don't do so with any greater purpose or coherency in mind. However, if you are applying for a job that requires you to be creative, why not showcase your talent from the start? If you are a graphic designer, your resume can be a piece of art; if you are a programmer, consider writing an interactive program or website to stand in for a traditional resume.
Even if your job isn't directly creative, you may decide it's worth the risk to go all out on an attention-catching resume. Some of the extreme examples are embroidered or baked resumes, resumes done as magazine covers or infographics, or done up as a board game.
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- Jump Through The Hoops
It's becoming increasingly popular for job postings to get creative as well. If you need to hire a social media analyst, why not have the applicants generate a following in order to be hired? Editing jobs often include an editing test as part of the hiring process, but companies may now be bringing it to the fore by asking for a completed test alongside or instead of a resume.
- Go Viral
You may have heard stories about unemployed people standing outside with cardboard signs asking for a job, or listing their experience. While that probably isn't number one on your list, you might consider the online equivalent – going viral. Create a youtube video, article, comic or picture series and start posting it around and you may just hit it big. After all, Elyse Porterfield, better known as Jenny DryErase or the HOPA girl, is certainly no worse for wear after her quitting via dry erase board (which turned out to be a hoax) went viral a few weeks ago.
The Bottom Line
All of these tips boil down to one: be unique. If a hiring manager is reading hundreds of resumes, these pointers will definitely get you noticed. Just be wary of overdoing it. The intention isn't to be the flashiest resume, but to stand out for the right reasons.
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