Watching ESPN’s “College Game Day,” I always expect some pretty amazing signs. For those of you who haven’t seen the show, it’s a weekly two-hour show highlighting the college football games around the country. A university hosts the show on campus and hundreds of students and fans show up just to appear in the background with homemade signs.
A couple weeks ago, in a sea of signs referencing the upcoming football game of the week, one student held up a sign that that simply stated his name on one side and the words “Hire Me” on the other. I found the ploy incredibly clever! If I had been an employer, (and he offered an easier way to find out more about him) I would have taken the time to research him.
This situation got me thinking about creative ways I could market myself. I read an article in Real Simple magazine about nine different women taking non-traditional (i.e. not relying on online applications) to land a job. Marian Schembari posted an ad on Facebook with a professional picture and the tag line “I want to work at…” She got an immediate positive response, which helped her make contacts and get freelance work. She continued to use social media and landed a full-time job a few weeks later.
She told me that using the social network is simple way to get attention. She suggested posting comments on blogs or responding to tweets to start getting people to notice me.
But gimmicks don’t always work– and there is a very fine line between creative and gimmick. Many websites warn that doing something non-traditional could actually take away from a candidate’s application or suggest that if an employer responds positively just because of a gimmick instead of your credentials, you might need to rethink taking the job.
A human resource staffer at a major magazine company also warned me about relying on gimmicks to land the job. “It’s hit or miss. I don’t think it’s necessary. Recruiting and finding a job is like dating. So the things that would turn you off someone in dating might turn off a recruiter as well. You have to read who you are targeting and use social cues.” She continued by saying things like a personalized thank you note really goes a long way (something that was instilled in me from an early age; Thanks Mom!).
She did tell me of one success story. A guy named Grady created a Youtube video expressing his desire to intern at Entertainment Weekly. He ended up getting the internship and spending the past summer in New York City.
I’ve gone the non-traditional route in cover letters. For one internship, I wrote, “I’m not going to lie to you. I haven’t dreamed of working for major fashion magazine since I was a little girl.” I ended up being asked to take an edit test. But I don’t know if I’m brave enough to take it a step further. This situation can be risky and I tend to be more reserved. I don’t think I could stand on the street corner and pass out resumes.
So, do you all have any ideas or success stories (or failures) using a creative method? Or has somebody done something out of the ordinary to get your attention? I would love to hear what you have to say on the subject!
And a quick update from last week’s post about resumes . . . I spoke with an HR lady at a major media company and she basically said I needed to explain my experience more. She was asking me about my past roles, then I said, “Well, all those questions are answered in my cover letter.” She then informed me that they look at resumes first. She said I should have all the information on both documents and not rely on the other to answer any questions. I’ve been busy at FedEx Office rewriting everything. But she’s been very positive and helpful, telling me to send my resume and writing samples personally to her. So, I’m remaining optimistic!
Samantha Hyde graduated from the University of Texas in 2009. During her time spent in Austin, she interned and contributed to Austin Monthly, Texas Parks & Wildlife and Texas Highways magazine. She served as president of the magazine club and editor-in-chief of a college magazine, burntORANGE. Her issue, “How to be a Longhorn,” won second place in general excellence at the 2009 AEJMC awards.