Your Guide to Extreme Job-Hunting – Bethan James

I’ve been avidly watching The Apprentice for years, and I can’t tear myself away from the screen as the contestants make complete fools out of themselves on national television. As I tuned in to the final of the recent series it got me thinking: how far would I go to get a job?

Appearing on The Apprentice is just one example of the desperate measures some people take to find work. The recession, combined with the fact 83 applicants are now chasing each graduate vacancy, has led to a new career trend— extreme job-hunting.

It’s no longer enough just to send your CV to a few companies that catch your eye. Young people are employing increasingly creative “guerrilla” tactics to make sure they land themselves a job despite fierce competition.

One person who adopted unorthodox methods for finding work is 20 year-old Daniel Bird. In June he ended up getting fined for posting 200 giant CVs around Hull!

The Coffee Mug Approach

Equally outlandish is the effort of job-hunter Jann FritzHuspen. Fed up of being out of work for over 18 months, she decided to post her application to prospective employers along with a coffee mug inviting them to meet her for a drink. A month later, FritzHuspen was offered a job as an executive director.

The “coffee mug” idea came from a guerrilla job search boot camp she went to in America. Perhaps we’ll be seeing boot camps like this cropping up in Wales as the graduate job market becomes increasingly competitive here. It may happen sooner than you think, as nearly a quarter (23%) of young people in Wales are not in employment, education or training according to the Welsh Government.

Social Media

Extreme job-hunters have also started using social media in attention-grabbing ways to ensure they stand out. A prime example of this is the You Tube CV. It involves people uploading videos of themselves which they hope will catch the eye of potential employers.

This tactic is popular with Americans, and the trend has recently reached the UK. You Tube CVs allow people looking for work to show off their creativity, skills and experience in a way that is impossible on a paper CV. They can attract thousands of viewers too.

Here’s a great example of an innovative You Tube CV. It was created by job seeker and PR practitioner Graeme Anthony, who has since found permanent employment. You never know, this might inspire you to make your own!

However, there’s always the chance this gimmicky approach will leave employers unimpressed, and the odds of a graduate recruiter actually viewing your video CV and hiring you because of it are slim.

Alongside You Tube, Twitter has also been a popular tool for extreme job-hunters hoping to get on the graduate career ladder. Take Ulrike Schulz, a media student from Vienna.  She’s been urging her followers to use the hashtag #HireUlrike to bag herself an advertising job in London. Ulrike has gained four interviews out of it already, and her innovative attempts were even featured in The Guardian!

Be creative!

There are many other unconventional ways of using the internet to break into a tough job market. Desperate for work, Jaime Varon created the website It went viral over social networking platforms, which led to a meeting with top Twitter executives.

Unfortunately, Jaime wasn’t hired. She did, however, grab the attention of others in the industry. She started getting inundated with clients, and now runs her own successful web design business.

So, is extreme job-hunting a winning tactic for getting ahead in this challenging economic climate? Or is it a risky gimmick that’s more likely to irritate employers than impress them?

One thing is for certain though. With thousands of students and graduates hunting for jobs in Wales while you read this, it pays to make sure you stand out from the crowd.

Bethan James

Thursday 28 July 2011