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Monday, April 13, 2009

Public Displays of Job Searching

I heard a story on Fox News while I was on the elliptical machine about a couple's job search. In North Carolina, a wife placed her husband's resume under car wind shield wipers at an office building parking lot with permission from the building. While her husband was reluctant for obvious reasons, it seemed like given the current state of his job search, he was in no position to say no. I couldn't find a link to the story but for argument's sake, let's assume it's factual. The husband had worked in Sales for 12 years and looked very much like a Web 1.0 kind of guy. No blogs, twitter, flutter, or anything fancy other than a lot of copying and some leg work. He got 3 calls for interviews so his family had some success. They looked happier and I am happy for them.

I had previously blogged about using social media to get attention for the job search. Looks like it's possible to get national attention without social media, too but still use paper rather than electronic to spread the word. While the unique marketing tactics drove the success, I think that the guy's resume is what closed the deal. From the TV screen, I could tell the following:
  • Quality paper and professional looking resume
  • One page. He fit 12 years of experience on to 1 page
  • I could see the headers, showing that the information is probably well organized
If the job searcher didn't have a quality resume, he would haven't had any success with his campaign. One thing that this shows is despite all the mediums and vehicles for getting your resume to the top, we still need to succinctly show our experience in a clear format.

On the bigger picture, I wonder if using stunts or unconventional tactics is going to become the norm for advertising one's job search? Will we see resumes on bill boards, on the Net Flix envelopes, Google ads, or more dedicated websites? Some of these tactics are really examples of portfolios as it would make sense for a Public Relation professional to use these tactics as an example of their skills. However, I don't see these as an example of new marketing but more of a demonstration of a new psychology of the job search. Carpet bombing your resume looks desperate and desperation doesn't sell.

I think that candidates have been driven to this state because in this era of on-line job applications, it feels like no one is paying attention to them. The complete lack of response can cause candidates to question to feel ignored, feel like they do not exist, and they are being passed by. A very public display of their job search at least affirms that someone noticed them and thought about them. Its affirming one's existence as opposed to a job search strategy.

Rather than an evolution in the job search process, I think that these public displays of job search are a psychological response the alienation of today's job search.


AB said...

I think you're right that the public display thing is a result of the alienation of the job search itself. It's also probably driven by anecdotes spread through the media, like the one about the woman who got a job at Google by starting a website called "GoogleShouldHireMe.com".

But also, since getting a job is a numbers game (the more eyes on the page=greater chance that someone with hiring authority will see it), it seems to make logical sense that carpet bombing your resume could work.

Deadhedge said...

I agree with you about the anecdotes fueling it the job search.

With the carpet bombing, I thought about that and whether applicants really thought that it was a logical strategy or was it truly brought on just to see if the job world has forgotten about you. I don't think it's about eyes on a page. All the recruiting experts say to be targeted with your search, and it's not like you're selling a suite of products but you're selling one specific product, mainly yourself. There's no evidence for more eyes on a resume leading to a conversion so I think that it's truly born out of desperation.

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