You might remember Adam Pacitti from previous GoThinkBig articles. He’s the guy who did something crazy to make himself stand out when applying for jobs – he used his last pennies to hire a billboard to advertise himself for a job, any job. We had a chat with him to find out how he’s doing three months later and if that advertising campaign landed him a job.
Did the billboard work?
Adam had finished working in an arcade in September 2012 and spent a month applying for 250 jobs. With no success. “I think I was really struggling to stand out because employers are getting hundreds of CVs for every job,” Adam says. “On paper it was really difficult to stand out so I took the step of putting a billboard up in the hope that employers would instead come to me.”
And suddenly Adam was in demand. “I received sixty solid job offers,” he says. “It got to the point where companies were emailing me contracts to start employment with them before even speaking to me, it was that crazy.”
“A lot of offers were coming from London, which is where I saw myself working because I did want a job in the media,” Adam told us, “but I ended up taking a job in Cornwall for a company called Keo Digital and I’m now a viral producer.”
Adam admitted he was lucky it worked for him – he didn’t even have a backup plan. “If it hadn’t worked I guess I would have just continued to be unemployed and just waited for the next summer to roll around and worked in the arcade again.”
How is it all going?
“I wanted a job in the media. But my passion is with documentaries and here I get to do a bit of everything,” Adam said. “I’m doing public speaking about viral advertising and they’re keen for me to do that kind of thing, which is really cool.”
Adam admitted it wasn’t without concerns that he started his job, having got it in such an unusual way. He said: “It’s weird because I’m going in perhaps at a position higher than I should be going in at, as somebody that graduated last year. I was very worried that they would be a bit negative about it because I haven’t paid my dues or worked my way up but they’ve all been very supportive.”
So, should we all hire billboards?
Seems like it’s worked pretty well for Adam so we should all get together £500 and hire a billboard and the job offers will come flying in, right? Well, probably not. It’s the kind of thing that will probably only work once.
“I think the press are probably going to get pretty fed up of it soon to be honest. I was lucky I did it at a time when it was topical but there’s only so many things that they’re going to cover and I think that it only worked because I had mainstream press coverage,” Adam said. “When people email me telling me they’re going to hire a billboard I try and put them off because they’re not going to cover the same story twice.”
“It’s really important to market yourself appropriately,” he added. “Where I was looking for a job in the media, I could get away with being a bit of an attention seeker and doing the whole billboard thing. But it’s really important for people who are seeking employment to market themselves to the employer. They’ve got to know about the company and what’s appropriate and what’s not to put on your CV.”
Adam said that it’s all about identifying the thing that the employer wants to hear. But of course, that’s easier said than done.
Adam’s not the only one who’s done something a bit unusual in an attempt to get a job, though. We featured Lil Miss Geek Chic last week, who’s sending out a whole gift box to potential employers. And if you’re looking for more inspiration, you should have a look at Philippe Dubost’s Amazon-inspired CV and Nick Begley who sent his CV out on chocolate bars.
It’s not all about doing big acts though – your application can stand out, even if it is just a paper application. Have a look at our round-up of the best advice on making a stand-out CV, apply for one of our CV clinics, or check out our tools for more advice.