A key point in creative jobhunting is the understanding that most jobs are not advertised
One source put the figure of unadvertised jobs at 80%. So why is this? Here are some of the reasons:
- It costs money to advertise - perhaps £1,000 to advertise in the Guardian.
- Employers may get more applications than they can cope with - many adverts now attract hundreds of applicants
- Employers may have already received CVs from suitable applicants who have written in speculatively, so they can just call these in for interview.
Creative Jobhunting Steps
- Self assessment: knowing your skills, interests, values and personality.
- Researching jobs
- Identifying and approaching contacts (networking)
- Information interviewing
- Gaining appropriate skills work experience
- Solving an employer's needs: being extra creative!
- Marketing yourself (Application and interview skills)
Advantages of Creative Jobhunting
- It unearths jobs which aren’t advertised
- It impresses employers by showing that you have initiative/motivation
- You find out about a job before entry rather than afterwards when it is more difficult to change your mind
- It bypasses application forms -this could be useful if your academic qualifications are weak
- You get advice on other routes into the job
- It makes you feel that you are in control of your situation rather than feeling powerless
- It can be combined with traditional techniques
- It takes time: as much, if not more, than normal jobhunting
- It requires "gumption" (confidence and assertiveness)
Not everybody will use all the aspects of creative jobhunting outlined here, but everybody can use some aspects, on a ‘‘pick and mix’’ approach, and these may give a powerful boost to the effectiveness of your normal jobhunting. Creative jobhunting may demand more time and effort than traditional jobhunting but it could also prove to be more fun!
Speculative applications are those you make to an employer when you don’t know if there is a vacancy. The standard method is to send out lots of CVs and generally the response rate from employers is low. There are, however, a number of techniques you can use to increase this response rate dramatically:
- Make sure that your CV and covering letter are of the highest possible standard. There is always room for improvement, and lots of information on CV design in the Careers Service to help you
- Target your CV carefully. It’s better to send out ten carefully targeted CVs, than to send out a hundred at random. Research companies to make sure they have the right type of work. Try to find out the name of the relevant manager from brochures, the Web or by phoning the switchboard.
- Individualise your covering letter -don’t just send the same letter to many different companies. Say why you are applying to this particular company and tell them what you can offer.
- Some people use a shortened, one-side CV for speculative applications - a busy manager may be more likely to read this than a longer document.
- Follow up your CVwith a phone call or letter after a week or so if you haven’t heard anything.
BEING EXTRA CREATIVE
This involves finding a fresh way of making contact or demonstrating your aptitude for the job. One way to do this is to solve a need of an employer, as in the following example:
A graduate wanted to become a trainee journalist on her local newspaper. She decided to carefully analyse the content of the paper and compared it with similar local papers. She conducted a small survey of readers' opinions on the paper by interviewing passers-by in the city centre. Using this information, she drew up a list of possible changes to the paper, wrote a sample article to show what she had in mind and sent these to the editor. The editor invited her in to discuss her suggestions - they had a long discussion and the next vacancy that arose was offered to her without competition.
A languages graduate found a job by displaying a "Give Me a Job" placard and a giant copy of his CV during his one-hour stint on Trafalgar Square's fourth plinth in August 2009. The graduate’s skills included three foreign languages and his interests included "plinth dwelling". A London business consultancy contacted him shortly afterwards to offer him an interview and he got a job with them!
One French student stuck a QR Code (a 2D bar code) on his CV which when scanned by an iPhone streamed a video of him talking about why he should be offered the job. He ended up getting several job offers after the video went viral.
David Rowe, a Kent History graduate who was struggling to get a job, walked down Fleet Street in the centre of London wearing sandwich boards asking for a months work experience. He was also offered many other interviews and an international recruitment firm was so impressed with his initiative that they promptly offered him a placement.
One Irishman spent £1,700 on a huge advertising board saying "Save me from Emigration!" (by giving him a job), after making 200 unsuccessful applications. THe advert resulted in lots of interviews and four job offers including one as a communications executive which he took.