Money - Jobs
By: - at June 20, 2013

15 Unusual Ways Used To Source For Jobs

Businessman with binocularsPeople have done some weird things to get a job. With today's technology, and a harsh job market, it's almost a necessity to do something that will make you stand out to potential employers. There are some creative ways to get you noticed that may or may not land you a job, but you can bet some people out there have tried them, and they have worked for someone. The Internet is full of stories about people who have gone above and beyond sending in a normal resume and doing follow-up calls and emails to land them a job.  Sometimes it is necessary to do this when trying to peruse even the most mediocre jobs due to the rising levels of competition globally within the job market.

15)  Illegal Activities for Legal Jobs
Facebook hired a young man by the name of Chris Putnam in 2006. That's a dream come true for many tech savvy people, but for Putnam it wasn't just the career land of a lifetime.  It was a chance to stay out of prison. Putnam got the job after he hacked the social media site and turned thousands of users' profiles into replicas of MySpace profiles for Georgia Southern College. When Putnam pulled this stunt, representatives from Facebook had just launched at the campus and representatives wanted to determine of the site had security loopholes. Putnam found them, Facebook representatives called him and asked how he had done the prank, and he was given a job.

Computer hacker in suit and tie

Putnam isn't the only person to land a job by doing something illegal, though. In 2009 Owen Thor Walker of New Zealand helped a crime gang hack into more than one million computers worldwide and landed a job as a security consultant for a telecom company, because the company found him to be a valuable asset. Many hackers are now finding full-time jobs as security personnel for some of the largest corporations in the world, and even working for the FBI and CIA.

14)  She Put Her Name in Lights
Every year you know you're going to have "that neighbor." You know, the one who likes to have their house decorated brightly for Christmas. That one neighbor that has to outdo everyone else with their decorating. Well, Liz Hicock of Georgia took her holiday lights to another level when she used them to display her availability for hire. Hicock's lights read "My wish, HR job, Liz Hickok, Linked In," according to Believe it or not, many people checked her out online and she was hired before the start of the new year.

New York billboards

Holly Stuard's husband did the same for her. He took out not one, but two electronic billboard with his wife's picture and a brief description of her qualifications without his wife's knowledge. Stuard said her young daughter pointed it out to her, and at first she was embarrassed. She began to gain more confidence in looking for a job. The billboards weren't that expensive, he said, and they worked. Holly found a job after a few weeks, and she had more motivation to find the job. Stuard isn't the only one who advertised for a job, though. In fact many people have similar stories.

13)  Advertising Yourself
Pasha StockingThey say if you can sell yourself, then you can sell anything. That may be true, as it has shown to be beneficial to many people in the past. says Alec Brownstein took matters into his own hands when he needed a job. He didn't just sit around and wait for someone to come calling on him. He bought ads on Google for some of the biggest names on Madison Avenue.  When the people owning or running those companies searched for their own name to look at media coverage and press hits the first thing they were able to see was Brownstein's ad. In his ad he advertised himself available for work and the link on the ad went straight to his website, which gave his resume and work samples. Brownstein had five targets in mind and focused on them solely. It resulted in four interviews and two job offers. He spent roughly six dollars on his ads. Brownstein showed potential employers what he could with selling himself, which made them wonder how he could sell their brand.

Forbes magazine did a piece on Pasha Stocking, who did not go so cheap when she decided to advertise herself, nor did she land a job, but she did build a career. The Connecticut job hopeful took out a $7,000 billboard on I-95 that resulted in time and money lost, but experienced gained. Stocking took her fame and new-found knowledge and created her own public relations firm that helps people rent billboards to sell their products, services, or even themselves.

12)  Sell Yourself, Literally

By Leon7, via Wikimedia Commons says that "selling yourself" doesn't just mean having someone buy your personality. It can actually mean having someone buy you and your services. No, not like a prostitute would sell themselves, but maybe something similar. You really can buy just about anything on eBay, even employees. In 2011, 18-year-old Josh Butler applied for almost 600 jobs and got nothing except mad. He decided to do something unheard of, and maybe even a little illegal in most states. He sold himself on eBay. Or, rather, he auctioned himself off. Crazy as it seems, he received three job offers within 24 hours. While that does seem a bit drastic, it's really not. Selling yourself into indentured servitude for an agreed upon amount of money isn't uncommon. In fact, it's how most of Europe was built. It was also how some people fed their families. Money wasn't the only thing people would sell their labor skills for. There was a time when carpentry skills, for instance, would be worth a whole cow.

11)  Being Homeless Can Get You Employed
While it seems like an oxy-moron, being homeless can land you a decent job. Really, though, being homeless can get you employed and not in the manner of being an indentured servant. The National Coalition for the homeless has been working specifically to get homeless people employed. They aren't alone. It is estimated by non-profit organizations that more than 500 charities exist in the United States that focus on finding jobs for the homeless. These charities network and advertise for homeless people to help them land jobs. It's like having a person PR team for free.

Homeless man

In a recent, shocking story out of Cleveland, a homeless man made national news when his quest for a job was televised. says The Cleveland Cavaliers offered a job and a house to a homeless man that wowed the Internet with his golden voice. Ted Williams was standing near a highway exit ramp when a reporter saw him. Williams may not have stood out to most in an area that heavily populated with homeless people, but Williams had a gimmick. He was holding a cardboard sign that that said, "I'm an ex-radio announcer who has fallen on hard times." The reporter interviewed him and his voice became a national sensation, and job offers began pouring in. He now has a successful career and is no longer homeless.

10)  Social Media To The Rescue
You can check in on your friends from halfway around the world, read the morning news, get a dose of entertainment and a chuckle from memes and other cartoons, and even get a job all on social media sites. Jon Kolbe did just that, according to In 2009 Kolbe had reached the end of his patience on job hunting. He had sent out dozens of resumes, searched all the job sites, and made the regular job fair circuits for seven months before he devised the plan that would get him his job. Kolbe propositioned Twitter users: the first person that could help him land a job would win a high-definition video camera. He got his interview and job, but it was never made certain if the person that helped got the camera he promised.

While this may seem a bit drastic, it's really not. Sites like LinkedIn, GooglePlus, and even Facebook allows users to interact with other users and make connections. LinkedIn is for professionals to post resumes and answer job calls from potential employers. Often, these sites will give away "featured" accounts, as well as other contest prizes, to the user that wins. This gets that user's resume and profile noticed and pushed to the front of the hundreds of other users on the site. Some people are using these sites to source themselves out to other professionals, but most of the time the word-of-mouth and checking-in-online process is done through friends on social sites.

9)  Just Don't Pee On Me
Old fashioned urinalImagine you're a guy and you're using a public urinal. You look at the wall in front of you and there's an ad. Not just any ad, though; it's an ad for someone looking for a job. You own a business, so you call the person advertised. Any guy that can post their face in a urinal must be pretty creative and brave, right? Think this is far-fetched? Think again. People and businesses are now placing ads in urinals and bathroom stalls to get the attention of people at all times. It's not really all that surprising when you consider that Cinemark theaters began selling ad space before the trailers of movies more than a decade ago (ya' know, in a place people went to avoid commercials) and even movies themselves have advertisements in the form of product placements. The first product placed in a movie (a Hershey's chocolate bar) was in 'Wings,' a 1927 silent film with Clara Bow and Gary Cooper.

8)  Humility At Its Finest
Shoe shiningA cover letter that recently circulated the Internet had the whole business work buzzing. Matthew Ross, a 22-year-old undergrad at San Diego State University, sent a very sincere cover letter by email to Ryan Bouley at Duff and Phelps in which Ross did something that many people don't do these days. He showed humility and willingness to work. Ross didn't try to over inflate his resume, but rather spoke plainly, and sometimes even bluntly. At one point Ross asked for an internship - even if it meant shining shoes. Bouley said Ross would not be shining shoes and was just what the company was looking for. Professionals everywhere responded to the letter, most calling it "hilarious but bold" and "instant classic.'' Being bold in resumes generally gets the resumes rejected, according to Tech Republic and St. Luis University. Employers aren't looking for people who are overly confident and brag about themselves often. A little humility goes a long way, it seems.

7)  Open a Lemonade Stand
Lemonade standLaurie Seldon was out of work for more than nine months, so she set up a "virtual lemonade stand" to help her get her job, according to AOL Jobs. She set the stand up in front of her apartment building on a hot day in Los Angeles. At the stand she gave out free bottles of water and handed her resume (printed on lemon-yellow paper) to people passing by. A neighbor she'd not met before worked in the HR department at the LA Unified School District and noticed Seldon's efforts. Seldon landed the job a few weeks later. Another weird tactic a hiring manager on Careerbuilder discussed was when a female potential employee wrapped a baby shoe in a box with her résumé and sent it directly to the hiring authority with a tag that read "Let me get my foot in the door and you will be pleased." She brought the other shoe to the interview. Other candidates listed on the site did things like insert star stickers with the words "hire a star" on it and sent in fliers of themselves. These tactics can get you noticed, but Careerbuilder recommends you don't go overboard or you may seem desperate and even childish, two things employers do not want.

6)  One-way Ticket, Please
TravelCalling people and asking for jobs is one way to get you noticed, but flying halfway across the country to show up in person is a whole different story. says Juda Borrayo bought a one-way ticket to from Florida New York where he met an executive creative director in an elevator. The director tweeted about Borrayo, saying: "Met someone in the elevator who flew here from FL, in the hopes of getting a meeting @carrotcreative Wow. That's a cold call." This may be a "no-no" for some businesses, though. According to Huffington Post, showing up to a job when a busy hiring manager is not expecting you can have the opposite of the desired result you want.

5)  Smile and Say 'Thank You'
shaking handsIf you're rejected, reverse it. James Adams, a career expert and former job-search consultant to the U.S. government says to reject rejection by sending in a thank you letter to any rejection letter you receive. Adams said he advised a client to do this, and she actually got the job she was first rejected for because the person that beat her had to turn the job down. On, marketing and management expert Mark Stevens said he interviewed with a guy that disappointed in the interview. The next day Stevens received a FedEx package from the applicant with a book of poetry on human loss and letter about how his mother died that week. Stevens gave the guy another chance and hired him.

4)  Give Some Free Advice told the story of Sandip Singh, CEO of GoGetFunding, who one of his programmers was hired after the man had spotted an error on the company's site and gave advice on how to correct the error. Instead of seeming arrogant, the man simply stated the error, his expertise, and showed how to fix the error. Hiring a programmer that notices the mistakes (and knows how to correct those mistakes) of another programmer seems like a smart thing to do. Stories like this prove that employers want to hire people that know how to do the job and can prove it practically.


Recently, Google hosted a contest to have people show off their best designing skills by coming up with a new Google interactive logo for the home page. The person also had to program the interactive logo. By doing this, Google was able to source the talent of those that already visit Google and get free ideas, but they were also able to hire creative, innovative, and talented programmers that could add to the company. Many freelance writers get hired in such a manner. They see the need to redo content on a website and send in an example of how they can make it better, enticing the owner of the site to hire them.

3)  Network Backwards
On, Jeff R. from Prior Lake, Minnesota, landed his dream job by networking among contacts that most would say you shouldn't ask for job seeking help: potential employers from his previous job search. Jeff says he emailed managers he had interviewed with to ask for people he should contact while looking for a job. Jeff said the managers he spoke with were more than willing to give him the names of people he should be in touch with, and many had moved on to other companies, themselves.  So they had an even broader range of contacts than what Jeff originally anticipated. This also works for people who are networking through internships. Devon White, a reporter in north Louisiana, got her job with a newspaper by revisiting where she interned. White said she went in to ask for a personal reference and the news room was holding a meeting. Since people there knew here they invited her to sit in. During the meeting White was able to give insight into a new online program the paper was starting to use and the hiring manager mentioned they needed a reporter that understood the program. White applied and was hired immediately.

Futuristic Networking

Social media site Facebook even sees the importance of networking backwards and offers a full page on how to do so. Start with your Facebook friends and ask them in if they know of any open jobs. Then go to former co-workers then expand to acquaintances. You're basically having other people network for you to find a plethora of jobs you may not have even known about, and these people are also mentioning your name to potential employers. This gets you recognized and can even act as personal references.

2)  Video Resume posted the story of PR and social media consultant Graeme Anthony, who put his skills to use in an interactive video resume. While this may seem like a pain for employers, it actually answers most of what they need to know, especially if you're applying for a job in video format. His video even had links to additional sections like About Me and Timeline, which basically acted as a bit of personal information that employers like to glean from interviews. Anthony was very blunt in his video, saying he made it because communications had changed and therefore applying for jobs in communications should also change. The video was sent directly to individual companies and Anthony had a job lined up before it even went public. Anthony became a freelancer after he received so many offers when the video went viral.

Business People having meeting has a whole section dedicated to video and camera jobs, and each one wants to see a video of the candidate's work. Even television reporters must send in their best video clips, and journalists are asked to send in copies of their best work. On, some potential employers even ask that journalists (who may strictly be in print) to show their proficiency with cameras by uploading short videos online. This is because newspaper and magazine jobs are also online jobs that must direct readers to interactive websites to keep their interests. For this reason, what Anthony did may actually become the wave of the future for job applications and sending in resumes. It's already catching on. YouTube has many sections of online video resumes for people to browse, and job websites even offer the choice to upload a short video of yourself. This completely goes against the old rule of not attaching your picture to your resume, which experts say is almost an obsolete rule as employers like to have a face with a name even before interviewing a candidate.

1)  Hire Your Employer
interviewing interviewerAndrew Horner didn't get hired for his job. He hired his employer. Yes, you can hire your employer, even if you think it goes against the established order of things. Heck, that's probably why Horner did it, why it worked, and why you should try it. Horner made a website that asked employers to apply to have him work for them. On the site he described himself, his qualifications, and his talents. He also listed the type of job he wanted, what he was looking for as far as pay, benefits, and work environment, and what specifications he'd like from the job. While many people think Horner did this as a joke, the joke was on the disbelievers. It worked. Horner received 44 job offers and accepted one of them at a mortgage financing site.

Maybe this idea of Horner having people vie for him isn't so new. Throughout history people who are very qualified or educated in an area will negotiate with potential employers. Lawyers are notorious for "courting" law firms until they find the company that is willing to give and pay the most to retain them. Highly skilled doctors often negotiate their salaries and working conditions. Even having the video online is not that unique. Many people now put their resumes online, some even list what they will and will not accept in a job and even list it in the video so that potential employers not willing to comply won't even waste time calling. Throughout the last 100 years, actor's and actresses' salaries and contracts per movie have been negotiated beforehand. This is just a lesson that you can get what you want in a job, if you're realistic and know how to negotiate.

From the strange to the practical, the illegal to the just outright odd, people have done some crazy things to land a job, and even crazier is when you know that some of them have worked. With technology being what it is today, the antics of job seekers are even easier to accomplish, and easier to share. With videos posted on YouTube, screen shots of cover letters, and hilarious pictures all over the Internet, these job hopefuls have given other desperate unemployed persons hope and ideas. New graduates just out of college are looking for ways to set themselves apart in a competitive work environment. Some of these ideas, many of them using technologies young people are already familiar with, just might be the ticket to getting a foot in the door. In tight economies people must resort to drastic measures, at times, to get the scarce jobs and their antics have made for entertaining (and even inspiring) stories.





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