Job Hunting Gets Creative
The effects of the recession have had a widespread impact on many levels, especially employment. If you have had the displeasure of looking for a job recently, you have probably noticed that it is in fact not easy. Unemployment is up across the country, spending by companies is down, and highly qualified individuals are applying for lesser prestigious positions than they would have previously. Recessions are zero fun, especially amidst the job search.
Like the old phrase goes, when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Along with “getting going” job seekers are having to use a bit more creativity to get their name out in front of employers who are being swamped with thousands of resumes, many of which look identical to yours. Obtaining a position within marketing and advertising is clearly not any easier during a recession. Advertising is often one of the first expenses companies cut when looking for some strings to pull to save a bit of cash. If it takes a great deal of creativity to be hired by an ad agency originally, during tough economic times it may require an extra push.
Alec Brownstein was one of many who found himself in search of employment in a tough industry during the recession. As a budding creative looking for a copy writing position with a big agency, Alec decided to take the job search on a different route. Brownstein purchased Google keywords of the names of several creative directors such as David Droga, Ian Reichenthal, Gerry Graf, Scott Vitrone, and Tony Granger. Knowing that these “mad men” often possess a degree of vanity (which includes googling themselves on a consistent basis), Brownstein hoped that this would help him gain recognition. When these creative masterminds searched for their name on Google, a message would come up with Brownstein asking for a job along with a link to his portfolio. Pretty clever, eh?
Turns out Brownstein’s ingenuity payed off and he scored job offers from Scott Vitrone and Ian Reichenthal. Brownstein ended up accepting the offer from Vitrone to work in New York at Y&R. Aside from the job, Alec received tons of press for himself and his new employer and won a Clio award for his cleverness.
Not everyone is going to come up with an original idea as Alec’s and wow their potential employers, but everyone doesn’t need to. What you should take from Brownstein’s method, however, is that knowing your audience and marketing yourself to your perspective company is key. When applying for a job, do your research. Know everything you can about your future boss, or who will be reading your application before you apply. Maybe that will give you a sign as to something you can add or say that will put you ahead of the pack.
I am not trying to claim that I am a human resources guru. In fact, I am sure I have less job searching experience and expertise than anyone reading this right now. The reason I am giving this small tidbit of advice at all is because it had been given to me, I implemented it into my job search process, and it worked!
Several months ago I applied for a position with BFG Communications. The application did not ask for a resume or cover letter but simply one step: tweet something to the company. The position for hire dealt with utilizing and being proficient in several forms of social media, hence the application process. So I decided to tweet BFG this video: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kkGo0la8Sk]
I have very little video editing skills, and threw the whole thing together in half a day. I agree, the video is really goofy, and I knew there were inherent risks caused by submitting it. Aside from the risks, though, I knew the video would accomplish two things: 1) They would know my face (even if it was just as the goofy video kid) 2) It would be memorable.
This approach also risked being laughed at and tossed aside, but in the end I would be in no worse shape than I was previously and a company without a sense of humor is somewhere I probably don’t want to be anyway. The greatest companies are those who are not afraid to take risks, for it is out of these risks that innovation occurs. If they do not appreciate risk takers, than that is also somewhere I do not want to be.
Months later, it turns out I got the job, not because I was the most experienced candidate or had the best resume (many others who applied had been in the industry for several years), but because I put a little extra out on the line.
One of my mottos I live by daily is that you need to be able to laugh at yourself. Sometimes, searching for jobs is no different.