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Going too far outside the box in your job search

Image result for too far outside the boxGetting employers’ attention in today’s job market it no easy task!

When organizations get dozens, or hundreds of applicants for each job opening, it’s hard to get noticed even if you’re a perfect fit. Being unique in some way, doing something attention-grabbing, or getting creative is one way to rise to the top. Taking the idea too far, however, can hurt more than it can help.

What are some things to consider?


What is the culture of your field or industry?

Someone putting their picture with a “Hire Me!” appeal on a billboard will get a very different reaction from potential employers if they are pursuing a position as a Funeral Director than they would if they were pursuing a career in advertising.

Many fields are characterized by certain levels of professionalism and decorum. When someone does something so far outside the norm it will certainly get noticed and grab people’s attention, however, is more likely to create more of a negative impression than a positive one. Pursuing a role in a more creative environment may call for more drastic stunts, however, it’s important to have a good understanding of the limits.


What do they really want to see?

Setting yourself apart in ways that emphasize the most important qualities they want to see is imperative. That will vary depending on the type of role you pursue. Certainly functional and technical skills for the role matter greatly. However, other factors are equally important. An organization isn’t just looking for job skills. They are also looking for:

Communication skills                                   Professionalism
Appropriateness                                        Emotional Intelligence
Polish                                                      Passion
Enthusiasm                                               Strong Work Ethic
Sense of Urgency                                      Ability to work well with others
Tenacity                                                  Follow through

Distinguishing yourself in those areas, as well as technical and functional competence for a role will make the difference.


How do you do that?

Research the field, the industry, and the company you are trying to pursue, and find ways that would make the best positive impact. Be creative based on what unique characteristics you have to offer to a potential employer.

Perhaps it’s…

· being more pleasantly and professionally persistent than other applicants in finding, reaching, and talking to multiple contacts in the organization.

· offering to contribute time and effort on a small project or initiative for free to show how you can be an asset.

· going above and beyond in researching and finding ways you uniquely can be of value to the organization. Then send a concise proposal to contacts you find.

· sending a coffee mug to someone you’ve been able to determine is the hiring manager, with your resume and a note inside asking if you could bring them coffee for the mug while you chat about the role.

Be creative, appropriate, professional, and a cut above any other applicant they will hear from.

Sending your resume with glitter on it, or perfumed; emailing them with a pink flowery background on your note, dropping in dressed in a mascot costume… may certainly get their attention… but will more likely be fodder for jokes around the company rather than resulting in a job for you.

Think outside the box to find ways to stand out from the crowd in your job search, however, don’t be so far outside the box that you are not taken seriously!


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It’s not about you!

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