watching from the bushes with binocularsWith the purpose of the job application process being not only to prove your academic merit and professional accomplishments, but also to distinguish yourself from the rest of the crowded job market, it can be tempting to opt for a more memorable and unconventional application strategy. But many strategies designed to help you stand out may actually cause more harm than good and be considered more outrageous than innovative. So, before running off to serenade a hiring manager from the front lobby, consider the following.

While it is true that an out-of-the-ordinary stunt could draw some sought after attention, that attention may be of the wrong sort. It is safer to rule out the silly and trite approaches and focus more on strategies that show how you will excel within a particular industry.

Career expert Jenny Foss, founder of says, “I’m not a proponent of outrageous. However, I am absolutely an advocate of bold, strategic moves when one is seeking a new job.” For example, an applicant seeking a graphic design job may create a website aimed specifically at a company for which he or she is applying. That site would serve as a demonstration of the skills and genuine interest that applicant has for the company.

Though Twitter may not be traditionally regarded as a professional social networking platform, it greatly simplifies the process of identifying and connecting with recruiters and potential managers that can help get you hired. Find and follow hiring managers or potential bosses and respond to their tweets, but make sure everything you say is professional, well thought out, and indicates a curiosity about the company. If they follow you in turn you can contact them directly about job opportunities.

The use of Facebook ads can also help in targeting your search to only relevant and potentially interested organizations by aiming information at select members of the Facebook community. From the ad, you can link to your professional information.

One simple way to scratch your name off of a potential list of job candidates is to badger hiring managers for attention. Not only can this behavior disrupt a hiring manager’s day but can also make them feel threatened. This tactic can quickly kill any shot you may have had at a job.

For large firms, which often have a more formal hiring process, it is probably best to avoid approaching the process from outside of the rules. Acting outside the bounds of the system will probably be frowned upon and cast you in an unflattering light. Such firms typically seek employees who fit precisely within their culture and handle themselves with a high level of maturity.

Regardless of your chosen strategy, the measure of its effectiveness will rely in part on your ability to anticipate the consequences of your actions. Keep your approach bound closely with your own goals and try to keep a hiring manager’s attention as much as possible without threatening any boundaries of privacy and professional etiquette. Foss states, “Essentially, find ways to capture a hiring manager’s attention directly, and not in the way they’re used to, [like] the old pile of resumes on their desk.”

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