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Employment experts tell the unemployed and newly graduated to be “creative” and “stand out” if they want to find work. That usually means writing a punchier cover letter or coming up with a fascinating story to tell during a job interview. But with college graduation ceremonies happening around the country this week and last, these truly strange employment success stories might spark some inspired ideas of your own…
1. Advertise yourself
Last month, an unemployed casino worker in Minnesota took a $300 gamble: He paid for an eight-second rotating slot on a Minneapolis digital billboard. For 24 hours, the billboard featured the smiling face of 22-year-old Bennett Olson, a link to his website, and the words “HIRE ME!” The gamble paid off: MSNBC reports Olson was hired just last week. He starts soon at Laser Design & GKS Services, a 3D scanning company in Bloomington, Minn.
Cost: Olson’s eight-second slot on a digital board cost $300 for a day, but prices vary by market, and there may be required minimums. For instance, national outdoor ad agency Blue Line Media charges $3,500 for an 8-second ad running for four weeks in select markets.
2. Sell yourself
David Wood was 43 when he lost his sales job in Bristol, England, and he couldn’t find work for two years. He never stopped applying, but he wasn’t getting any offers – so he did something drastic. He decided to really sell himself. Literally. In March last year, he posted this ad on eBay: “For Sale an Experienced Sales Representative… A 1965 model who is enthusiastic and motivated.” While there’s no news yet if Wood has found a job, he did get profiled by one of England’s biggest newspapers, The Daily Mail. As they say, that’s publicity you can’t buy.
Cost: It’s generally free to make an eBay listing if you’re not a heavy seller. If Wood’s auction garnered any bids, there would’ve been a percentage fee on the final price, but the original listing is no longer up. The maximum final fee is $250.
3. Learn how to sign
In 2008, Paul Nawrocki was a 59-year-old toy industry executive, but he wasn’t playing around when he took to the streets of New York wearing a suit, tie, and sandwich board sign that read, “Almost homeless. Looking for employment. Very experienced operations and administration manager.” It took a couple of years and a makeover, but Nawrocki was eventually hired as the director of operations for Fantasma Toys, a New York company specializing in magic tricks.
Cost: A wearable sandwich board runs about $60 plus shipping, but you can probably make your own cheaper.
4. Stalk your ideal boss
It’s hard to say whether this is creepy or smart, but 28-year-old copywriter Alec Brownstein wanted to make an impression. So in 2010, he bought Google ads based on the names of bosses he wanted to work for. His logic: Everybody Googles their own name occasionally, and when these bosses did, they’d see an ad speaking directly to them – and begging for a job. Brownstein told tech website Mashable, “I wanted to invade that secret, egotistical moment when [the creative directors I admired] were most vulnerable.” Four of the five gave him a call, and two offered him a job.
Cost: $6 in Brownstein’s case, at 15 cents per click. More popular keywords will cost more.
Not crazy enough to try these ideas? Check out 4 Places for Free Job Training.