14 Creative Strategies that Get You Hired

by Salary.com Staff - Original publish date: January 16, 2012

While our economy appears to be making gains in other areas, unemployment in this country is still hovering around 9.6%, according to the most recent statistics released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor.

If you are currently searching for a job, consider taking paths less traveled -- and therefore less crowded. This article explores 14 less conventional ways to land a good job.

1. Tailor your message to potential employers

Forget generic resumes and cover letters -- they won’t cut it in today’s competitive environment. Make sure your objective statement is specific to the job and organization you are applying to.

Your cover letter should show specific knowledge of the company, including its successes and challenges.

2. Make contact by telephone

Instead of risking your resume being lost in the “slush pile,” research the names of hiring managers at companies you are interested in, and make some cold calls.

No job, currently? Ask if you can keep in touch. Even if jobs aren’t available, this kind of personal contact ensures you’ll be thought of when they are.

3. Start a job search campaign using social media

Don't be a wallflower. Take advantage of the networking power of sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to get yourself out there. Use keywords to target a specific industry or market.

4. Create a personal website or blog

Develop a site that shares your objectives, your qualifications, your knowledge, and your accomplishments.

Think of the site as your "online resume." Send the link to hiring managers, friends, family, and anyone else you know. Ask them to share it when appropriate.

5. Advertise yourself

Make an investment in yourself by purchasing ad space in a local newspaper or magazine, or in a publication that targets the industry or market you are going after. Sell yourself!

6. Market yourself as a "subject matter expert"

Contact magazines, newspapers, and other publications that target the industry or market you want to work in and offer to write a free column.

Not only is this a great thing to add to your resume, it will give you some name recognition and ensure you stick out from other candidates in your job search.

7. Go viral

Upload educational videos of yourself talking about matters pertinent to the industry or market you wish to work in. Solve a problem, introduce some food for thought, or simply film a "how-to" segment.

This is another great way to position yourself as a "subject matter expert!"

8. Make your resume unique

While this is an area of some controversy, those in a creative field, such as graphic design or brand marketing, can take risks with less traditional resumes.

The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

It sounds like a no-brainer, but in this digital age hiring managers are used to receiving electronic thank you letters.

You can stand out easily just by putting pen to paper.

10. Leave an electronic calling card

Bring a USB flash drive which includes a PDF of your resume as well as a PowerPoint presentation on your experiences, qualifications, skills, and accomplishments, as well as what you can do, personally, to help the organization meet its objectives.

Let the hiring manager keep the memory stick.

11. Make a video resume

A short, one- to three-minute video that states your name, your objective, your professional accomplishments, and why you would be a good hire can impress a hiring manager.

Videos can be uploaded on career networking sites like CareerBuilder, can be linked to your professional profiles on sites like LinkedIn, and can also be included on your paper or online resume.

12. Hold a contest

Start an email chain that includes your resume, videos you have made, links to your website or blog, and anything else you've done to promote your career search, and send it to friends, family, and others in your network.

Offer a prize -- money, a week at your summer camp, a night out to dinner -- to the person who helps you land a job.

13. Offer to work on a contracted basis

Working on a contracted basis, instead of as a full-time employee, is attractive to organizations because it allows them to save on benefits like medical and dental insurance.

All things considered agreeing to work on a contract basis can give you the edge over other job candidates, and is particularly tolerable if you have a spouse or partner who can cover insurance benefits.

14. Offer to work for free on a trial basis

Why not, if you don't currently have other options? Save this move for when you are new to a particular job or industry and have no experience, or are changing career paths.

As long as you put a "cap" on your trial so that you're not taken advantage of, this can be a good way to get through a door you might otherwise not enter.

When the going gets tough, successful job seekers get creative!

 Less conventional ways of job seeking can often get you through the front door -- and into the job of your dreams. Good luck with your job search!