Posted by: Francesca Di Meglio on April 20, 2009
With the economy in turmoil, many MBA graduates are finding the job search tough going. To give readers some insight into the strategies they’re pursuing and the difficulties they face, BusinessWeek has recruited four out-of-work MBAs to write about their experiences for a new feature called “The Hunt” that will appear periodically on the Getting In blog. Comments, as always, are welcome.
By Bryan Glover
How have I gone about standing out to potential employers and what have I done to get an edge in my job search? I must say, this entry will be quite challenging for me because I haven’t been very creative in pursuing opportunities. I think the main reason is that I don’t believe in being overly creative in my job search. I think there are some tried and true methods that work and I have been sticking to those. The other reason is that I’m not a very creative person in general. Some would contend that if my methods aren’t working, I should try new ones. While I normally agree with that line of thought whole heartedly, I think when it comes to trying to find a job, there is only so much creativity that can be injected into the process without risking standing out for the wrong reasons.
I tend to believe more in networking, targeting your search to focus on companies that seem to be a good fit, and making use of word of mouth. That being said, when I talked to my friends, they not only came up with some great suggestions but relayed some great stories about friends of theirs. Some of the creative job-getting ideas I have heard involve video resumes and personal Web sites. I’ve come across ideas such as putting your resume on windshields and taking out billboards.
Someone attached a flip-flop to a resume along with a note saying, “Just trying to get my foot in the door,” which seemed both creative and risky. One friend had turned down a job a few months ago, and when she got laid-off, she decided that she’d call on the company she turned down by writing a sincere personal letter to the president of the firm and attaching a snapshot, so he would have a face to go with the name. It probably didn’t hurt that she is an attractive woman. Normally, I wouldn’t think attaching a photo was a good idea, but in her case it worked well because the president needed a reminder of who she was and this helped him put a face with the name. All of these things worked (much to my surprise in many cases) and the people involved ended up with jobs they rather like.
Going to such lengths is not my style. I am good at coming up with creative ways to view various business and personal problems, but I think I tend to let societal norms influence my creativity when it comes to putting myself out there for work or in other situations. Hearing these stories has given me the courage to know that trying something I might have previously thought was silly or too far out there may pay off and that thinking creatively may just help me stand out from other candidates.
With that, I will invite my readers to share their stories of “out of the box” job hunting tips Don’t be shy, share ones that have worked and ones that haven’t. Let’s see if we can give people some suggestions they can use in their job search.