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5 Nontraditional—& Surprisingly Successful—Ways To Land A Gig

Get some inspiration from these creative—and sometimes weird—ideas.

Workin’ Girl

In today's job market, it's always good to find ways to stand out, and the more creative, the better. In the realm of creative ways to get a job, I'll never forget the time I met an awesome up-and-coming media queen named Renita Burns years ago. She was young, smart, and a go-getter whose reputation among the editors preceded itself. Why? Because in her job application for an editorial position at the magazine I was working for at the time, she formatted her resume to look like a popular section from the publication. Not only did it impress my boss, but it raised the bar for many of us on the staff. I worked with Burns for several years, and she excelled as a content producer and social media strategist before becoming an analyst.

If you've been hitting walls on the job search front or simply want some inspiration on how to get the attention of top recruiters and companies, be inspired by these 5 stories:

Add a Bit of Shock Value or Visual Allure to Your Resume

If you can risk it and are in an industry where a creative resume is a tad more acceptable (i.e. tech or media versus financial services or education), you might want to try switching up the format to showcase your graphic arts or design skills. You can go the wilder route, like one candidate for a head of marketing job at Basecamp did back in 2017, and list your reason for quitting or leaving each job. You could also get a little wackier and print your resume on the back of a chocolate bar like this candidate or send it as a message in a shoe box to bring life to the "foot in the door" like this candidate.

But seriously, some candidates include infographics and even video resumes and have found success in landing their dream gig. You can also make small tweaks like bold headers, using a sans serif font (versus the usual serif fonts like Times New Roman), or color instead of black-and-white. Experts recommend ensuring that what you include in the design of your resume is relevant to your skills and the job your applying for. You also don't want it to be perceived as gimmicky, rude, unprofessional, tacky, or distracting from the whole point of a resume.

Submit a Campaign or Proposal Idea

Though some candidates might shy away from this—believing that a company might just take their idea and skip hiring them altogether—providing a proposal or solution to a problem the company is facing can sometimes put your resume at the top of the pack. This could be especially ideal for that dream job within your industry or one in which you might have contacts or a good lead.

The first step is to research the company and find out ways you'd impact change via the prospective job. You want to be sure to just give them a taste of your professional abilities as to spark interest, and you can use the proposal to elaborate on your abilities once you've gotten the job interview.

Put Out an Ad

Back in 2014, a Google hopeful put up a billboard right outside the Canadian offices to land a job and was contacted for an interview. Not willing to go that far? Try using Craigslist, LinkedIn, Upwork or other web platform to let recruiters know you're looking for work, you want a specific position, or you're just the best talent to work for the company. You could even try running an ad on Facebook, a tactic that this guy says brought him success and got him interviews.

Go Viral

If you have a knack with social media, lead a brand built on purpose, have a niche talent, or are great with marketing or entertainment, why not use that to draw employers to you? For example, this candidate's whiteboarding video went viral on LinkedIn and got her not only media attention but the eye of hiring professionals. While a guest on Jimmy Kimmel's late night show, actress Tiffany Haddish raved about her love for Groupon and then became their spokesperson shortly after. Remember James "Patti Pie Guy" Wright, whose 2015 video literally singing the praises of the soul songstress's new pies went viral? He's since gone on to build a relationship with LaBelle, create endorsements for other products, tour with Faith Evans and Tamar Braxton, and launch his own solo singing career.

Sis, get creative and find authentic ways to showcase who you are, make connections with your industry's influencers (in real life and on social) and build a community. Turn the tables and make the opportunities come to you.

Host a Recruitment Party

The video hosting options for events are quite reliable at this point, and if you can connect with a recruiter or someone who works in the human resources industry, why not partner with them to host a recruitment party? (Dig into your network, school alumni association, frat or soror chapter, church, or other group you're part of. Trust me, you know somebody, or at least somebody who knows somebody. Hey, a classmate of mine from Hampton U who was a broadcast major now runs an amazing career consultancy after years of working in corporate recruitment. See? Dig in.)

Invite your network, share tips, and offer value. Make it known that you're on the market and are open to new opportunities, and share insights with others who are job seekers. This is a great way to kill two birds with one stone—put yourself out there and be of service at the same time. Recruiters are always looking for ways to reach great professionals—and save money and time in doing so.

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Featured image via Shutterstock

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