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January 15, 2011
What's a Girl To Do (For a Job)?
 
Now that I’ve been unemployed longer than I care to mention (though not long enough for Glenn Beck to hear me say, “Want fries with that?”), I’m wondering how to get an advertising job when you have lots of experience, but limited nepotism.
 
The average job has five candidates (double that in a mega-metropolis). The first hump is getting your resume noticed, especially when you don’t have someone hand delivering it. I added a slightly humorous and relevant illustration to mine, manipulating the image with my limited Photoshop knowledge; so far, the sepia-toned version gets the most hits. Hits don’t equal paychecks, however. The old “click-without-conversion” dilemma. 
 
That’s where I (used to) come in: my personality, work history, ethics. Though stuffed with humble pie, I normally do well on interviews—twice offered a job instantaneously.
 
Those halcyon days are gone. Not just because I’m older (higher price tag) but because of the incredible shrinking job market.Even before the economy soured, I marketed myself creatively; nowadays, even “out-of-the-inbox” ideas barely get noticed, much less a reply.
 
When Mission: Impossible premiered, I spoofed it with Mission: Employment, creating a manila dossier replete with resume and (under) cover letter. Had I been wealthier, I would’ve included a cassette. Had I been a tech geek, it would’ve self-destructed.
 
Continuing the espionage theme, I once hand cut-and-pasted a “Ransom Note,” claiming my old job held me hostage creatively and I needed rescuing. Those ideas garnered positive responses and a couple interviews. Close, but no cigar.
 
Recently, Mashable revealed award-winning ways to get jobs: a UK guy “borrowed” my Mission: Employment concept, taking it to the next level: a video of himself, hiding in shadow, imploring the recipient to hire him. They did. Nice to know I was ahead of my time, but that’s little consolation when bills need paying. If I repeated this scheme now, it’d scream “cheap copy.”
 
I’ve also sent 3-D packages. A giant, homemade fortune cookie with a clever message inside; the target was a NY bakery chain that never acknowledged the time, trouble, and expense of baking and mailing the cookie. Even if they thought it was tainted, an email reply would’ve been decent.
 
Another time, I thanked a pharma-agency with a note mailed inside a prescription bottle, the label offering me as the cure for their job ailments. Yes, done before. Still, I made the effort.
 
Recruiters warn that 3-D items can backfire, citing the “Tale of the Shoe,” whereby one was mailed with the cliché, “Hope to get my foot in the door” tucked inside. Pretty lame. Still, I get the desperation.
 
These same recruiters advise drive bys (dropping off your resume) and elevator pitches. However, after you’ve made a million email queries, applied for a zillion jobs online, networked with everyone you know and many you don’t (think: Farcebook), and left countless voice messages—you don’t want to continue pestering strangers, especially in a confined space that could get stuck.
 
If money weren’t an option, you could truly think big picture. As in billboard. As in Living Ad...
 
Climb the ladder that’s used to install billboards; bring a sleeping bag, bullhorn, iPad, and smartphone (if you haven’t hocked them already) and stage a campout until someone hires you. Local news will pick up your story, then eventually YouTube, drumming up more attention than you dreamed. Especially when you’re arrested.
 
Hey, desperate times call for…consideration. It takes 30 seconds (I timed it, even with typos corrected) to send an email: “Thanks for applying. We're reviewing many applications and will be in touch.” Unfortunately, the very thing that makes email responses easy also makes them just as easy to avoid: Simply delete.
 
Naturally, people are too busy to respond: they’re doing the job of two. Still, 30 seconds is a blip in time. Wait until they screw up doing two jobs, poorly. They’ll wish they took those 30 seconds to be human. That’s when they’ll panic and Link In.
 
Then I can reply: “Sorry, I’m spending my 30 seconds more productively.” However, I wasn’t raised that way and would be happy to find others work. I look forward to doing that soon. After all, climbing the ladder to a job is making me dizzy.

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Mary Alias is a writer who hasn’t won any awards nor worked at any hot NY agencies. Consequently, you probably shouldn’t read what she has to say. She’s just a hard-working creative who doesn’t want to get ahead if it means sticking a stiletto-ed heel (actually, she prefers flats) into a fellow forehead. Mary strives to collaborate, create, write. And get paid for it — because, next to writing, she needs to eat

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