I have a number of passions in life. One of them, it seems, is helping people find jobs. I find myself gravitating toward that work often. It led me to organize a one-day “tweet-a-thon” to help my friends Scott Hepburn and Sonny Gill (who were both looking at the time). It led me to co-found Help a PR Pro Out with my good friend, Valerie Simon. And, I’m constantly looking to match employers with candidates locally as I often hear of opportunities that never go public.
In this work, I’ve had the good fortune to hear about a number of creative ways to go about the job search. Today, I thought I’d share a few of those ideas–some I’ve picked up from friends and colleagues (during HAPPO, for example) and others I’ve just long thought would be interesting approaches.
* Offer up a digital audit of the agency’s/corporation’s activities. A friend of mine employed this approach earlier this year, and I thought it was brilliant. Come prepared with a full audit of the organization’s social activities and talk about how they could use that information to better their online strategies. Trust me, they’ll be impressed. Not only will they have practical thinking they can actually use when you leave the room, but they’ll also know you understand how to work up an audit and take the findings and apply them to a client’s needs. Believe me when I say, that will make a huge difference with the folks you’re interviewing with. And if it doesn’t, well, you probably didn’t want to work with that particular employer anyway.
* Make a video pitch. One of the tactics we encouraged folks to take earlier this year as part of HAPPO was to develop a video pitch–a 3-4 minute video that tells prospective employers who you are, what you do and why they should hire you (here’s a great example from Mary Krueger earlier this year).
The beauty of the video pitch is it gets beyond the limits of pen-and-paper. Employers will be able to see you in the flesh. They’ll get a better feel for who you are. Remember, “fit” accounts for a lot in the hiring process.
* Give the agency/organization 3 big ideas to consider for the rest of the year. Similar to the audit, walking in with three big ideas the agency/organization can use should really impress the hiring manager and anyone else in the room. Make sure the ideas are relevant, easily understandable and executable (don’t go suggesting a $200,000 campaign for a small business or niche agency). If it was me, I’d even throw them in a Powerpoint or Prezi deck/show and present it just like they were a client. Go all out–what do you have to lose?
* Let your friends do your talking for you. You know how most agencies/firms ask for your references right before they’re about to hire you? Why not move that process up a bit? Ask three trusted colleagues/fans to send a note to the hiring manager telling them why you’d be a fantastic candidate for the job–in their own words. The trick is to find the right three colleagues. Ideally, you want people the hiring manager knows–or has heard of. In this case, I might suggest using LinkedIn to find out who the hiring manager is connected to from your network.
* Write a blog thank you. A friend of mine (Dana Hughens) recently had a candidate who thanked her for an interview via a blog post (she also sent a private note and posted a note on her Facebook page). The end result? The candidate got the job. If you’re applying for a job in the digital realm, why not put one of the primary tactics to good use?
* Create a blog devoted exclusively to your job search. Granted this approach would take some extra effort, but you are looking for a job, right? Just take the time and energy you’re using updating your resume and put it towards creating a killer blog/site that highlights your strengths, experience and accolades. Make the site your virtual resume. Highlight projects you’ve led in the past–and results. Ask former colleagues to record a video testimonial. Record your own three-minute video that allows you to talk about yourself and how you could help an organization. Link to other online properties you’re involved with–including guest posts on prominent PR/marketing/social media blogs (if you haven’t done this yet, start now) and other online projects you’ve been a part of.
Have you seen any particularly creative approaches to the job search? Care to share?