Standing out in a crowd is key to finding work, says Allison Nawoj, a career adviser at CareerBuilder.com. But now that 3.3 people are competing for every job in the United States (in December 2007 the ratio was 1.9 applicants per job opening), being noticed is tougher.
In an October survey by CareerBuilder, 1 in 10 hiring managers reported seeing “unconventional” applications, ranging from an applicant offering foot massages to a cover letter written in verse.
“It’s something on the rise, especially in the past few months” as unemployment has risen, says Ms. Nawoj.
The wait for a job has become longer. The average period of unemployment hit 23.4 weeks in April, compared with 17.9 weeks in 2008, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Opinion is divided, though, on the value of extreme job hunting. Gimmicks attract attention, but they need to be done with care and don’t always yield quick results.
Ask Joshua Persky, former investment banker. For a week last June, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate walked New York’s Park Avenue wearing a sandwich board that read, “Experienced MIT grad for hire.” He got news coverage and about six serious job leads, but no work. He was forced to move in with family later in the summer.