Searching for a job can be a royal PITA. But it can also mean the difference between keeping a roof over your head and being kicked to the curb or back to your parents basement. It’s competitive out there, and having a college degree no longer means a guaranteed job after graduation anymore. People are delaying retirement, companies are pushing their existing employees to work more hours, and job applicants for many positions easily number in the hundreds and even thousands. It can take months to land an interview, let alone an actual job. And desperate times can lead to desperate measures, but just how desperate? If your back was up against a wall, just how far would you go to get a job?
Let’s examine several different levels of actions you can take to get a job, starting from the most docile to the extreme and even illegal. People have done a lot of creative and crazy things to get their foot in the door and sometimes it’s totally paid off. But most of us think we’d be too uncomfortable putting ourselves out there or crossing some lines in order to get out in front. But imagine you’d been searching for over a year with no luck. Perhaps you already have been looking that long. Open your mind for a few minutes and really think about how far you would go to get a job if you desperately needed one.
Level 1: The Classics, No Biggie.
I call Level 1 The Classics because pretty much everyone has done at least one thing in this category before. These actions don’t come as a huge surprise to anyone who would hear about you doing them, nor do they really jeopardize your work ethics. Some are harder and a bit shiftier to do than others depending on your personal situation. But you’d be putting yourself at a disadvantage by not considering at least a few of these tactics.
- Publish your resume online
- Call in sick in order to attend an interview
- Ask distant relatives, neighbors, friends of friends, ex-colleagues, and everyone you know for job leads
- Search for job listings during work hours (here are the best online job sites for today’s market)
- Ask your clients and competition if they’re hiring
- Give up your niche or industry for what’s available
- Locate and kiss up to recruiters
- Fluff up your resume
- Relocate to an area that’s hiring
- Research company specific interview questions
- Run an online search on your interviewers to gain an edge
Level 2: Personal Branding, Look At Me! Look At Me!
The technology we have today makes it a lot more competitive to find a job. With just a few mouse clicks you can apply to jobs half way across the country or on the other side of the world. Application numbers can get insane, which is why networking and making yourself stand out can get you closer to landing an interview.
But you can use technology to give yourself a leg up on your competition as well. Personal branding is becoming less weird and forward than it used to be. It certainly takes time to build your brand and market yourself, but that extra effort could just be what your future employer is looking for. You have to be willing to sacrifice some personal privacy in Level 2 and put yourself out there.
- Create your own website that’s all about you, you, you
- Record videos of yourself (an introduction, showing off your skills, etc)
- Post pictures online or include them with your resume
- Ditch the traditional resume and create an infographic instead
- Use colored paper or add a scent to your resume (like Elle did in Legally Blonde)
- Create your own Twitter handle and tweet about yourself
- Make tons of people write LinkedIn Recommendations for your profile
- Dress a bit risque or in flashy clothes to get attention
Level 3: Gestures & Public Displays, Borderline Creepy And A Bit Crazy
Those people who get to Level 3 are not afraid to make a statement. They are so eager to get a job they will think of and act out all sorts of out of the box, creative ways to get noticed. These are the stories you hear about on the news and often involve spending money. If you are a Level 3 candidate, you’re already standing out from the crowd. You just have to be careful not to totally creep out your potential boss in the process. Sometimes you may just get a “pity” interview and rejection letter as a means to stop the madness. All of these Level 3 tactics have been done before. But how far would you go to get a job?
- Hand out free coffee in front of an office building with your contact info on the cup
- Deliver food every day for a month to a hiring manager
- Send a gift basket with your resume to a recruiter
- Wear a “sandwich” sign advertising yourself
- Post fliers at commuting hubs and at office buildings
- Pay for a giant “hire me” billboard
- Put a full page advertisement for yourself in the paper
- Send a singing telegram to HR
- Pay for personalized online ads
- Social media stalk your future colleagues and try to get into their inner circle
Level 4: Crossing The Line, Grey Areas And Downright Illegal
Not many people make it to Level 4, but there are always those who are determined and desperate enough to put normal work ethics aside. And some industries like Hollywood see a lot more Level 4 job candidates than other much more conservative fields. The government has certain labor laws to try and prevent any illegal and discriminatory activity when hiring employees. But they can’t catch everybody who breaks and bends the rules, and some folks like to live dangerously. These Level 4 tactics may sound ridiculous, but they have also all been done before. Other people have used these methods, but how far would you go to get a job?
- Bribe your way in
- Blackmail a recruiter, employee, or hiring manager
- Get frisky with the boss
- Lie about your age or gender if the job had legit restrictions
- Use a fake visa, residency card, stolen identify, or fraudulent social security number
- Post a fake job listing to scope out your competition and gain valuable information
- Cheat on your placement exams
- Falsify your education, degrees, and certifications
- Lie about your skills and experience
- Withhold information about your inability to work
There’s lots to think about when it comes to work ethics and making yourself stand out amongst the competition when you’re trying to get a job. People continue to come up with crazy new ideas all the time. And those who get there first tend to have the best chance. But not every wild idea is worth trying. Think about the hiring process from HR and the hiring managers point of view. Would you be creeped out if you were in their shoes? These days out of the box thinking can get you noticed but it may not be the type of attention you want to draw to yourself.
How Far Would You Go To Get A Job?
Now that you’re familiar with the four Levels, please take a 5 seconds to participate in my anonymous poll. 🙂
Untemplaters, just how far would you go to get a job? Have you or anyone you know tried an unusual method of landing an interview or a job?
Daisy @ Prairie Eco Thrifter says
Calling in sick to go to an interview – or, for any reason other than that you’re sick – is stealing from the company. Using vacation time is the ethical way to do it. I’m currently in the midst of creating my own website for a portfolio.
I agree with you that using vacation time is the ethical route. I don’t know very many people who do that though. Everybody tends to use sick time. It makes it pretty obvious to me when people in my team are interviewing based on their sick hours.
That’s cool you’re working on creating a website!
Buck Inspire says
Level 3 and Level 4 are pretty funny. I’ve been fortunate that using Level 1 techniques have yielded me jobs. However, I have to say my last few jobs were because of who I knew. Who you know and networking are quite important when it comes to job searching.
It’s so true that who you know and networking can make a big difference to getting your foot in the door. I’ve had luck using friends of friends and past work relationships to get jobs myself. There definitely are some pretty silly tactics in levels 3 & 4! 🙂
Edward Antrobus says
Level three things are the kinds of things that are only worthwhile if the job pays pretty well. A billboard? Those start at a couple grand.
Yes good point. A lot of the public display types of methods work best for sales related jobs too and less for conservative industries.
Financial Samurai says
I guess it just depends on how desperate you are financially. I’d probably do whatever it takes to get a job if I was in poverty with no way out. Now, I think i’d just not look for a job to get a job. The best ones are those that just seem to fall in your lap because they fit so well.
BTW, for some reason it says “Failed To Verify Referrer” after I clicked the poll. But it works on my phone.
That’s an interesting viewpoint about the best jobs are the ones that just fall into place. Having connections really makes a difference with that. Thanks for the heads up about the poll glitch. I’ll look into it!
I’m currently looking for a job and would love to find one, but I would probably stop at the first level here. Some of those ideas are a bit much!
Yeah some of the tactics are definitely a bit crazy! In the past I never would have considered anything in Level 2 or beyond, but I think I’d consider a few of them now as I’m a bit more daring than I used to be. Best of luck in your job search!
I’m with you Fig, as much as getting a better paying job, or even a job to begin with is, some of these are way out of my comfort zone. Perhaps that’s the point, but I’ll stick to level one.