5 Unorthodox Ways to Land a Job
When conventional job search methods are not working or bore you to death, try semi-unorthodox or even ridiculous ways to land a job. Seriously: a little creativity in your job search can pay off. Take a look at these five approaches, in order of escalating (but still valid!) absurdity.
5. Enlightened self-interest. Be charitable in a strategic manner--not the most unusual tactic, but underused, in my opinion. One young man looking for work had a charitable heart and began to volunteer weekly at a local agency during his job search. He scoped out the LinkedIn profile of the head of the agency, and the agency head's LI premium account status immediately ratted out the volunteer.
The head of the agency was pleased to see on the volunteer's LI profile that he was a dedicated contributor, noting also that he had a background in accounting. The agency happened to have a vacancy in accounting. You can do the math from there.
Wives and husbands of CEOs and top-of-the-house executives buy tables at charitable events with corporate funding and need to fill the seats because the CEOs and top-of-the-house kahunas are too busy with their Knicks, Jets, and Giants season tickets (also purchased with corporate funds) to attend the ballet gala. Volunteer and eat really well. In today's world of social media, it's not hard to connect the dots of who is involved with what charity. Either choose your targets by charities that appeal to you, or call the Hilton and ask who their top 25 fundraising clients are year-in and year-out. Then let your social media fingers do the walking.
4. Fly in under the radar. You'll be surprised how many job seekers won't budge on their salary and title demands. That sometimes reads to me as arrogance or insecurity frosted over with arrogance. If you have picked a company you are dying to work for, get in there any way you can and work your way up.
To some this smacks of indignity. But taking a $20K pay cut doesn't smack your bank account as much as spending a year out of work. People who are confident in their ability to contribute know they won't stay down for long. Access to opportunities in most organizations favor those inside the citadel over those staring across the citadel's shark-infested moat, waving a resume with an obscene price tag. Don't fly in too low--you'll be accused of sandbagging, and it will be far too easy for people to spot you as overqualified and underemployed. Be nimble and agile, and swoop in ahead of those sitting at home eating bonbons and feeding the Monster while the spouse loses patience.
3. Read the Obituaries. The other day, a colleague came in and told me a sad tale of a dear friend and associate who passed away suddenly and unexpectedly about ten years ago. She was asked to step into the decedent's position, which was a promotion, and she wound up serving a great cause with a fulfilling job for a long time.
She left my office teary-eyed, and left me wondering how I could retell her sad story funny-side-up for this piece. I'm not sure I can, but people do die every day and leave behind unfinished work. Before 2008, when every apartment building in New York City emptied by half, New Yorkers used to check the obits to find available apartments. That was funny enough for Woody Allen to turn it into a bit in Annie Hall. So read the column of death, check the deceased's LinkedIn profile, and drop your resume into the lap of the grieving firm's hiring manager (by mere coincidence of course) that closely maps the decedent's job profile.
2. Street Theater. There is always the legend of the guy who dressed up in his best suit, carried an impressive attaché case, and stood on street corners handing out resumes. Before long somebody recognized his work ethic and "can do" attitude and hired him for a six-figure position.
It's worth a try. You own the wardrobe from your last job. If you've been out of work for a while, the suit might feel better than the sweatpants you've been living in 24/7. If you live in the Big Apple, your Barney's motif will be a welcome relief for New Yorkers who have grown weary of looking at the Naked Cowboy. Dress to the nines and invoke the logic of the New York Lottery: "Hey, you never know."
1. Be Naked. The Marx Brothers were trying to up their careers by landing a movie contract with MGM mega-producer Irving Thalberg. Thalberg kept them waiting for hours in his palatial Culver City office until the producer returned to find the four brothers sitting naked in front of his fireplace roasting potatoes on wire coat hangers.
Thalberg, who could have breathed fire and roasted them, instead enjoyed the fact that the Marx Brothers weren't afraid of him. He joined them in eating the potatoes and shared that he needed to have more fun in his life. And so the Thalberg/Marx Brothers era began at MGM.
You don't need wire coat hangers to be a good hang. Be the person who organizes fun for your colleagues at the company you just left or the company where you want to land, and opportunities will come your way.
Thanks to Jane Weiland and Harold "Hal" Flantzer, phenomenal career coaches with Partners in Human Resources International in New York City, for contributing to this silliness.
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