Standing out in a sea of job applicants is a very difficult thing to do. It takes some calculated thinking and a lot of creativity to be the one that exceeds a hiring manager’s expectations.
A resume just doesn’t cut it anymore. If you want to be better, you need to behave better. It’s time to invent something new and follow through with it. Shock and awe may be in order.
Forbes Magazine published an article back in 2015, featuring well-renowned advertising agency executives, citing remarkable instances where candidates went above and beyond to be outstanding. This article is full of great advice so take a minute to read through it.
There is agreement that being outrageous, and even down right out of control, are the right ways to catch attention.
Innovative industries like entertainment, advertising, and product design are perfect studies of how to step outside of the norm and be imaginative.
“Creativity is something I wish more candidates would explore. In all my entertainment experience, I’ve never actually had an applicant approach me with a really inspiring idea. Though if someone were to do that, without being asked to submit a project, it would definitely put him or her at the top of the stack. It would show that they are thinking strategically about the business before even being asked to—and initiative always goes a long way,” said Melissa Peterkin, Media Executive, Digital Media Group at CBS Television Distribution.
Put down the resume and check out these ideas. Hopefully these will stir you to try something different when you’re keen for a new gig.
- Send in a Decoy
You wanna land a big interview? Then release the pigeons. For real, my dear friend Ewan Pidgeon, Creative Director at Ingram Micro and well-respected creative talent worldwide, sent a decoy pigeon with his work tied to its leg to an agency in Irvine, Calif. where he wanted a job. Not only did the decoy pigeon get him the interview, it got him the job.
He also told me about a few stories that involved “ahem”, adult entertainers at GGT in London (now TBWA) but you’ll have to buy me a pint to get me to divulge those.
- Attempt to Bribe
Scott Montgomery, former co-founder of Salvati Montgomery Sakoda, and then EVP-ECD at FCB Southern California, has just recently opened Bark Incorporated with a couple of fellow advertising veterans. Like Pidgeon, he told me a few doozies.
One notable was a potential art director who showed up to the agency dressed in full battle fatigues —sporting the message, “ready to go to war for you.”
He also remembers a pretty kick ass bribe, where a candidate researched his favorite beer and sent a case of it along with his portfolio of work. “Presumably, I’d be drunk enough by the time I got to the portfolio that I’d call him right up and ask when he could start. Funny enough, I can’t remember how that one turned out,” said Montgomery.
“Anyway, my advice would be to make sure the work samples you show are every bit as ingenious as the idea that accompanies them. At the end of the day, it’s the candy inside the wrapper your future employer is buying.”
- Be Your Own Ambassador
You are your own brand. You need to create a message and an identity for yourself, then hit “repeat.” Think of yourself like a product, e.g. Starbucks. For me, Starbucks is an experience and its kinda like Kleenex—whenever I crave a coffee, I call it a Starbucks, just like I call a tissue a Kleenex.
Personal branding follows the same line of thinking and good branding is certainly memorable. And today is the day of the individual. So use your qualities and build value for yourself.
“All of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: “Me Inc.” To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You,” said Tom Peters formerly of Fast Company.
- Get Respect
So this guy wants to land a job at one of Orange County’s most popular resort destinations. He researches the property, dines in its restaurants, and socializes with the staff.
He walks into the hotel lobby one day and sees a family that he soon finds out is looking for a wedding location. Because he had done so much research on the hotel, he tours the family himself, shows them the ballrooms, etc.
“This guy ends up selling the family a $25K package and doesn’t even work for the hotel. He wanted the job and he got it. And his story lives on,” says Brian Hippert, Security Supervisor at Paséa Resort and Spa.
This is just one of many stories where a potential candidate proves him/herself without even knowing if an interview is on the horizon. That took guts, which paid off exponentially.
- Buy Some Media
That’s right; purchase your own ad space. We’re not talking Super Bowl spots, but Google ads that cost less than a dollar for top results. Business Insider told the story of Alec Brownstein who tried to beat the odds in getting his resume noticed.
So he got smart and took out ads on Google with the names of key ad execs that he wanted to work for. When the execs Googled their name, his job request showed up at the top of the page.
Kinda risky, but really effective. He ended up getting hired at one of the foremost agencies in the biz, Young and Rubicam.
No matter how you go about out it, it needs to be disruptive, authentic, and memorable.