When looking for a job, it may be easy to get lost in a slew of applications, resumes and portfolios.
But that shouldn’t deter students from pursuing their dream job or internship. Instead, finding creative ways to get noticed can go a long way toward getting a job.
Seventy percent of all jobs are found through networking, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But to network, you need to stand out.
Andrej Bula, founder of Hire Me Tee, spent his career working in human resources, recruiting for companies like Corning Incorporated and Tyco Electronics.
He used that experience to create hiremetee.com, a site that sells T-shirts proclaiming this message: “HIRE ME,” followed by an individual’s desired field.
He said, especially in this economy, it’s important to get noticed.
“I know what’s effective and what’s not effective,” he said, “and ultimately creativity is definitely rewarded.”
Bula said only about half of a company’s available jobs are posted online.
“You have all these hidden jobs out there that job seekers are not aware about,” Bula said. “These ‘Hire Me’ T-shirts (are) a great form, not only to initiate discussions, but also to make oneself aware of different opportunities that they may not have known about.”
The idea behind the T-shirt is to create a fun, comfortable way to place yourself on the market. Wearing the T-shirt on the street may attract the attention of someone in your field of study.
“This type of self-branding,” Bula said, “it’s not any different than the actual students being at a career fair in which they get a name tag and their discipline or their concentration … highlighted.”
Bula’s T-shirts are available in different colors and styles – including hoodies – and cost about $20 and up. But it’s not the only product available for job seekers.
Inkhead.com offers a variety of pens that can be personalized with up to five lines of text, different colors and even a logo.
Try buying a set listing your name, “for hire,” your career field and phone number. Hand it out at interviews or any networking opportunities. Every time that person uses your pen, they’ll be reminded that you’re available.
While wearing your “Hire Me” T-shirt around town and mysteriously dropping personalized pens, it’s important to start creating a digital networking persona as well.
Sites like LinkedIn.com exist solely for the purpose of professional online networking. The site’s job search allows users to look for available positions by category and even see if any of your LinkedIn contacts can help you get hired.
Facebook isn’t just for social networking anymore, either.
Aside from creating a new profile page to link to resumes or blogs, students can also personalize sections like “About Me” with job skills and create a fan page for themselves or personal company.
Under the “sign up” button on the login screen, click “create a page” and have friends and family “like” it. You can then monitor the page’s activity and watch – hopefully – your fan base grow.
For more specific job interests, use networking style websites like deviantart.com – where artists can display work and chat with other, sometimes well-known, artists – or musicolio.com for anyone looking to break into the music industry.
Once you’ve found a job, it can still be a struggle to get noticed. Don’t lose sight of the importance of standing out from your competition.
Aside from being grammatically perfect and full of experience, your resume should grab the reader’s attention. If you’re applying for a job that’s centered on creativity – like web design, TV productions or graphic art – create a resume that’s attractive and unique.
Canadian producer Sabrina Saccoccio used the familiar Facebook profile layout to design a resume that impressed a potential employer enough that he blogged about her work.
Googling “unique resumes” is a great way to find some inspiration, but your resume should fit what you want to do. The idea is shameless self-promotion.
Resumes for non-creative fields should be simple, but need to sell themselves in cover letters – which should be personalized to the position you want and stress why you would be the best person for the job.
The most important thing during your job search is to be creative – don’t rule anything out.
Paul Nawrocki was an out-of-work toy company executive in 2008 and made the news after spending most of his days in New York City wearing a sandwich board that read: “Almost homeless.”
With multiple news outlets calling him “the face of the recession,” Nawrocki spent two years handing out his resume on the streets before getting hired last month.
Michael Checkoway, who specializes in event marketing and public relations, created michaelcheckoway.com, where he offered cash rewards or prizes to anyone who helped him find a job in Atlanta. Prizes were based on the job’s salary. Early last year, he was hired as a project manager.
The job search may be tough – especially for recent college graduates with little to no experience – but never underestimate the power of perseverance, creativity or a T-shirt that says, “Hire Me.”