October 4, 2013

A Bizarre Approach to the Job Hunt

businessman walking through a complicated maze opened up by flames and fire lit by a match I came across an interesting story about Daniel Seddiqui, the “most rejected job seeker.” He’s a motivational speaker and the author of “50 Jobs in 50 States,” a book about his experiences working all across America.

Apparently, after being unemployed for three years post college graduation, Seddiqui decided to take a journey around the nation and work 50 jobs in 50 states over the course of 50 weeks.

The story goes:

He embarked on the journey after three years of unemployment following college. He struck out at 40 job interviews, 5,000 phone calls to potential employers and 18,000 emails to job recruiters.

Let’s pause there for a second. This man made 5,000 phone calls and sent 18,000 emails to still not end up with even one job offer? Talk about perseverance, dedication and, ultimately, a very humbling post-grad experience.

It also said:

Mr. Seddiqui recounted experiences as a TV weatherman in Cleveland, a coal miner in West Virginia, a model in North Carolina, an amusement park entertainer in Florida, a meatpacker in Kansas, a lobsterman in Maine and a furniture-maker among Pennsylvania’s Amish.

He found host families in most states to sample local foods and customs and found the work through online searches, cold-calling employers and personal contacts. He said 48 of his 50 employers during the experiment offered him full-time work.

On the Amazon book summary, it also explains how Seddiqui often didn’t know where he’d be sleeping, what he’d be eating or how people would receive him. During his journey, he appeared on CNN, Fox News, World News Tonight, MSNBC, and the Today show. Now Seddiqui is a motivational speaker who shares all he learned on his job search with others looking for employment.

Not only is this an interesting and incredible story, it also offers a valuable lesson for job seekers: the benefits of taking a “bizarre” approach.

Most of us are used to the traditional job search techniques: tweak your resume, tailor your cover letter, network, create an online presence, etc. And this certainly works for a lot of people, but what about those where it doesn’t?

Look at Seddiqui’s case: the story said he went on 40 job interviews, yet didn’t receive one offer; he made 5,000 phone calls to potential employers and he sent 18,000 emails to recruiters but was never placed. It seems like he went above and beyond with the traditional job seeking methods, but they still proved unsuccessful.

So, he decided to take an atypicaland seemingly bizarreapproach and work at jobs “that reflected the culture and economy of each state.” Those weren’t your typical corporate America positions; Seddiqui worked in roles like: cheesemaker in Wisconsin, border patrol agent in Arizona, meatpacker in Kansas, lobsterman in Maine, and a surfing instructor in Hawaii.

A college grad with an economics degree making cheese? Or catching lobsters to make a living? This certainly doesn’t fall in line with the traditional route for becoming successful, yet these “different” jobs certainly led to his ultimate success—a fulfilling career.

His “bizarre approach” landed him on major news networks, which led to even more exposure. He was offered full-time positions while “job hopping” and is now a successful author and motivational speaker, i.e. an entrepreneur.

Of his experiences, he said:

“I suffered through a lot of disappointment,” Mr. Seddiqui said. “Take everything in stride and follow your dreams and passions.”

Sometimes, like Seddiqui, following our dreams and passions won’t always lead us down the “traditional” route to success and/or securing a job. Yet, this is a great example of how following a bizarre, or different, approach—which could mean creating your very own—can lead you to a much better experience than you imagined.

Read more in Job Search Advice

Marks’ stories have also been published in a variety of newspaper, magazine and online formats including The Arizona Republic, The Daily Herald, Arizona Foothills Magazine and various classroom magazines of Scholastic Inc. Service is her passion, writing is her platform and uplifting and inspiring the community is her purpose. Marks received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication from Arizona State University.
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