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Blue Sky Thinking – five job-hunting ideas to inspire you

August 3, 2012 11:27 by Conor

You may well have seen the creative efforts of Jordan McDonnell this week. The UCD graduate has been making headlines this week with his innovative approach to CV writing, and he’s got us thinking.

Ditching the traditional Word-format page in favour of a neat 'anti-CV' – tagline ‘This is NOT my Resumé’ - uploaded via presentation-sharing website, the 26-year-old showcases his creative skills in an effort to make the jump from his current career in finance into a more creative industry.

Jordan’s efforts echo those made by other job-seekers in a phenomenon The Guardian has come to call ‘extreme job-hunting’ – employing a suite of online and offline tools to advertise yourself as being in the employment market.

In an age where employers apparently spend less than 10 seconds looking at CVs, making your talents stand out from the crowd seems to be a no-brainer.

Even if some of the examples seem a bit out there, chew on this - what are your competitors in the job hunt doing that you are not?

Here are five recent examples of job hunters thinking outside the box.

1.                 Jordan McDonnell – This is NOT my Resumé

 “My dream is to attain that elusive profound happiness we hear talked about so often” says 26-year-old Jordan McDonnell on hiswebsite, and happiness for Jordan is a career in social media marketing.

To draw the eye of potential employers Jordan uploaded a ‘condensed version of his life’s journey’ to, presenting an appealing visual statement of his family background, employment experience and ambitions – and an insight into his character, to boot.

With over 70,000 views on Slideshare and traction on other social media platforms as well, Jordan’s efforts can’t have escaped the attentions of potential employers and showcase exactly the kind of skillset required in the social space.

No word yet on whether Jordan’s got a job, but people are talking about him. Isn’t that the point of social?


2.                 Jobless Paddy

Remember him? ‘Jobless Paddy’ was in fact Féilim Mac An Iomaire, a marketing grad from Connemara who last May resorted to desperate measures after a fruitless nine months looking for a job.

Eager to stay at home instead of heading back to Australia, Féilim sunk his savings - €2,000 – into a billboard on Merrion Road in Dublin advertising his availability for work.

Helped by online buzz, widespread media  interest and a natty title – ‘Jobless Paddy’ does have a ring to it – Féilim soon secured a six-month placement with Paddy Power which eventually turned into a full-time job.

Now not everyone will have the funds – or the gumption – to advertise themselves via a twenty-foot billboard in the capital city, but ask yourself – what am I doing to get noticed?


3.                 A thing of beauty is a joy forever

Job hunters in certain creative industries – especially graphic and product design – have in recent years really begun to push the boat out when it comes to creating CVs that not only stand out from the in-tray, but also showcase their creative talents and abilities.

Jobless social media strategist (another one!) Hagan Blount turned heads in 2011 with his beautiful infographic CV.


Yes, that Mission Statement does read “I am a radiating center of universal love”. History does not tell us if Hagan was successful in picking up his dream job, but his website tells us that he has at least developed a sideline in infographic CVs for others.

We’ve highlighted Hagan’s as just one example of a CV that’s a visual feast, but there are many more out there and some of them boggle the mind.

“But I’m not a visual designer” we hear you cry. Don’t worry - neither are we.

However that doesn’t stop us being inspired by the creative efforts and talents of others, which might lead us to consider some useful tools that are available to help create a visual, online CV.

Remember to include links to any of the creative work you have done on your CV so that potential employers will see them when you apply to their jobs online.


4.                 The moustache in modern recruiting


And then there’s this guy.


Undaunted by the incredibly difficult process of getting hired at Google, moustachioed Matthew Epstein goes all-out to get noticed by the product management power brokers in Palo Alto.

That means not only a nifty CV, but also a dedicated website and comedy Youtube video, all with the sole purpose of attracting an interview in the Googleplex.

We like the disclaimer on the bottom of the site: “Neither Matthew Epstein nor are associated with Google, Inc. in any way. YET.”

Matthew has a thing or two to teach us about targeting your desired employer. Facial hair, not so much.


5.                 Targeted Ads

Finally, and still on the theme of targeting your potential employer, how about spending some money on Google or Facebook ads?

Ad copywriter Alex Brownstein did just that, appealing to vanity of some top Madison Avenue ad execs by buying Google Adwords linked to their names. Everybody Googles themselves, right? When these guys did, up popped an ad for Alex, asking for a job.

After spending $6, the man landed his job.

Something similar can be done with Facebook ads, which can be set up to target people in specific workplaces. Create an advert that links to your online CV and put your targeted company in the ‘employer’ box. Hey presto, only people who work for that company can see it. Hopefully one of them is the HR director….


What have we forgotten?

 Do you have any examples of 'extreme job-hunting' that have inspired you? Let us know in the comments section below.

Feeling inspired? For more tips on creating a CV with impact visit the Recruit Ireland careers centre or check out tutorial videos online from our contributing expert Paul Mullan.

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