As the saying goes, “there’s more than one way to skin a cat!” Whilst we’re all familiar with the usual job application processes, sometimes doing something a little different can give you the edge. Whether that’s applying for a specific job in a quirky manner or advertising your services speculatively to the world, there’s no end to the variety of techniques you can use. The only limiting factor is your imagination and how far you’re willing to go.
To help you explore whether some ‘outside the box’ thinking could help in your job search and applications here’s a roundup of some techniques that have worked in the past.
A little lexical trickery can catch an employer’s attention if it’s done right. Here are a couple of my favourites that were sent to employers along with some strong CVs!
When applying for a runner job for a media company one plucky candidate taped a runner bean to his contact details with the caption “I’d make a great runner!”
Another candidate used a similar approach when he sent in a tea bag with the caption “put me in hot water and see how I perform!”
If you’re struggling to be seen, renting out a billboard, wearing a sandwich board or doing some guerrilla marketing can help to put you on the radar of prospective employees.
After applying for countless positions in the financial sector, two Leicester university economics students decided to take action. Armed with signs encouraging employers to contact them, they parked themselves in the midst of the busy canary wharf district. Before long, employers started talking to them and within a few weeks they had the offers of internships and full time positions.
If sandwich boards aren’t your thing, you could go the whole hog and pay for a billboard. Whilst expensive, it can capture the attention of the press and social media. One marketing graduate from Galway did exactly that, posting a billboard with the tagline ‘save me from emigration’ along with his email address. Luckily for him the expensive risk paid off and he managed to bag a job with Paddy Power!
If you have a particular ‘dream job/employer’ that you’d like to impress it could be worth going the extra mile to produce something bespoke to that application. This sort of approach works particularly well for creative/design roles.
Marius Fietzek had always wanted to work for a prestigious design studio. To really wow the decision makers he developed a game that charted his application to the design studio. Throughout the game the employer could take decisions which altered the outcome of his application and career success. Whilst time consuming it certainly got the attention of the employer and he managed to land himself a position with the firm.
The reverse job application
This final technique can work particularly well if you're very employable but are struggling to find positions that you want to apply for. If this sounds like you why not flip the whole application process on its head? That’s exactly what Andrew Horner did when he designed a quirky website to encourage employers to contact him.
The website included his own requirements of the types of employers that he was looking for along with risqué statements such as ‘if you want things done the way they always have been, we’re probably not going to get along!’ What his website really showed was that he was creative and had the ability to market things in a new way. You can read more about his reverse job application here, it’s quite fun!