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Build Your Career Get the Job

6 Crazy Job Hunting Stunts That (Mostly) Worked

6 Crazy Job Hunting Stunts That (Mostly) Worked
Credit: Brt/Shutterstock

Applying for your dream job is already scary, and knowing that hundreds (or maybe even thousands) of other equally qualified candidates are also applying certainly doesn't help.

If you want to stand out, you need to do something memorable. To some people, this means creating an eye-catching résumé or writing a more interesting cover letter. But to others, it means doing something totally crazy that shows just how willing you are to go above and beyond for your career.

These six job seekers took applying to their dream jobs to a whole new level. Some got the job and others did not, but all of their stunts were definitely unforgettable.

Building a custom Lego employee

Job postings generally ask for résumés to be sent as PDFs, but Leah Bowman decided to think outside the box when she created the ultimate Lego résumé. That's right — Bowman used Lego bricks to set herself apart in the job hunt while looking for internships in 2014.

Bowman, who has graphic-design skills and an obvious passion for Legos, used Lego's Digital Designer tool to create a brick version of herself, according to Mashable. She then designed a unique résumé featuring Lego Leah, explaining her skills and expertise. Bowman's résumé encouraged prospective employers to "build the perfect account service intern," and included all of the pieces to create her Lego creation. The pieces came as a "2014 Intern Set" personalized to the companies she applied to.

Eventually, according to her LinkedIn profile, Bowman landed an internship (and subsequently, a job) at a creative advertising agency in Chicago.  

Starting a social media campaign

What better way is there to prove you're the right candidate for a social media position than by creating a social media campaign to get you hired? That was Lisa Blackwell's logic back in 2011, when she applied to be the social media director at the University of Michigan — and it totally paid off. [10 Ways to Make Your Cover Letter Stand Out ]

Instead of taking the typical, impersonal route and submitting her résumé through the university's automated application form, Blackwell decided to use her Internet savvy to grab the attention of Lisa Rudgers, the university's vice president of communications. She launched a website, www.dearlisarudgers.com, complete with personalized videos, pages explaining who she is, why she'd be a good fit, and links to all of her social media accounts and her résumé. Blackwell also created a Twitter account with the handle @dearlisarudgers and encouraged website visitors to share it with their friends.

In the end, Blackwell did not get her dream job at the University of Michigan, but she did get an interview. In the process, however, Blackwell grabbed the attention of the media and several other companies, and wound up landing a job as the social media director at a marketing company.

Taking out a Google advertisement

Admit it — at some point in time, you have searched for yourself on Google just to see what would come up. Alec Brownstein was seeking a job at an advertising agency in New York, when he realized he could use this to his advantage. Brownstein purchased an ad on Google to get the attention of the company's creative director, Ian Reichenthal. According to CBS, Brownstein bought the top Google result for "Ian Reichenthal" — and it only cost him 15 cents. The ad linked to Brownstein's portfolio.

Eventually, Reichenthal did do a Google search for himself, found Brownstein's ad, and offered him an interview. And in the end, Brownstein wound up getting the job. 

Creating a holiday light display

During the holidays, work tends to be the last thing on anyone's minds. Between celebrating with family and friends, decorating and shopping for gifts, the focus is definitely not on the office. But for Liz Hickok, the 2011 holiday season was a chance to let everyone in her home state of Georgia know that she was looking for a job — she adorned her home with a holiday light display that read, "My wish, HR Job, Liz Hickok, LinkedIn."

Hickok's family was already known for their creative light displays, according to WTVY, so she knew her efforts wouldn't go unnoticed. Whether Hickok actually landed a job in Atlanta like she'd hoped is unknown, but her stunt did get her a lot of attention around the world — she even got a job offer from a company in Italy but turned it down.

Sending a brutally honest cover letter

Back in 2013, one brave college student and job seeker decided to send out a cover letter that was more than just an honest summary of his qualifications — it was a brutally honest request for an internship at an investment agency that highlighted the harsh realities of the professional world and his lack of specialized skills. The letter, which went viral on the Web, stated, "I have no qualms about fetching coffee, shining shoes or picking up laundry, and will work for next to nothing," and the author also admitted that there really wasn't anything special about him. He wrote, "The truth is, I have no unbelievably special skills or genius eccentricities, but I do have a near-perfect GPA and will work hard for you."

While the author's name was redacted and the end result of this stunt is unknown, the letter got a surprising amount of positive feedback. According to Gawker, the letter was sent out to "entire listserves of Wall Street bigshots," many of whom raved about the applicant's bravery and said that he should be seriously considered. One investment banker even said, "I wouldn't be surprised if this guy gets at least a call from every bank out there."

Recording a Snapchat story

Elski Felson's dream is to work for the popular photo- and video-sharing app Snapchat. And just as Blackwell realized with her "Dear Lisa Rudgers" campaign, Felson felt the best way to get noticed would be to hold off on blindly sending out his résumé and instead use the app to apply to the job instead. Since Snapchat allows users to create a "Story" (a collection of photos and videos to display to the users on their friends list), Felson decided to use the tool to create a video résumé showing off his skills and love of the app.

The app is mostly known as a place where users can share fun and silly photos and videos with friends (each sent message disappears after 10 seconds or less), so Felson used the opportunity to show off his humorous side. The video résumé, which he downloaded from the app and uploaded to YouTube, featured him filming himself riding a bike while spinning a basketball on his finger and showing off his "ugly selfie" skills.

Felson, who is one class away from earning his MBA, applied to the job earlier this month, and he told BuzzFeed that he hasn't heard from Snapchat yet.

Brittney Helmrich
Brittney Helmrich

Brittney M. Helmrich graduated from Drew University in 2012 with a B.A. in History and Creative Writing. She joined the Business News Daily team in 2014 after working as the editor-in-chief of an online college life and advice publication for two years. Follow Brittney on Twitter at @brittneyplz, or contact her by email.