Self-campaign your way to dream job, our weekly column from various Irish newspapers

Job-searching is the new frontier, I believe.

Think of six graduates coming out of college with the same qualification, more or less, give or take a grade here and there. They all have CVs of broadly similar quality.

See all six on the starting-line, waiting for the gun, and then the race begins to see who can snag the first suitable job.

Think of every job-hunt in that way – a series of candidates on the starting-line, waiting to burst from the blocks.

How do you get yourself 20 yards ahead of your peers in this 100m sprint (yes, it does remind you of the – probably politically incorrect these days – joke about ‘Paddy the Irish man’ who beat the world record for 100m – he found a shortcut)?

The whole area of creative job-searching is growing worldwide. In a buyers’ (i.e. employers’) market, the seller (i.e. candidate) must do more to get noticed.

We are so convinced of the importance of new job-searching approaches that we have built a website dedicated to the topic – On there you will find dozens of success stories and works in progress from the world of job-searching.

There’s Alec Brownstein, a copywriter based in New York. He bought Google adwords for the names of five of the city’s leading advertising creative directors.

When those top dogs googled themselves (who doesn’t do it on a daily basis?), they were directed to ad in which their name appeared along with Brownstein’s request/instruction to ‘hire me.’

Did it work? Yes it worked.

Of the five he targeted, four offered him an interview. Two of them offered him a job. He took one of the jobs and now works there.

Total cost of his campaign: $6.

What’s more, over one million people have watched the video of how Alec did it, not bad exposure for someone for whom capacity to generate attention and ‘noise’ is a key part of his work.

Nick Begley landed a job by creating his CV on a chocolate cake. Stephen Cleary landed a dream media marketing internship with adidas through a simple, yet clever, six-week campaign involving his YouTube, Twitter and blog accounts. Mechanical Engineering student Eoin Murphy has a website showcasing his farmyard inventions, replete with videos of them in use.

This is not for everyone – but, equally, I would argue you should think about going a little beyond your comfort zone to get noticed. That notice must be appropriate and complementary to your skills, not just a silly gimmick.

Effectively executed, creative job-searching campaigns can be hugely successfully, as a browse through the many and varied campaigns on will show you. It might help to get your creative juices flowing and help you snag that job.

One-liner earned me a crisp refusal

Q: Have you any weaknesses, he asked. I told him Pringles were my main one. “Once you pop, you can’t stop,” I said.

He looked sheepish, like I’d touched a nerve. I mumbled an apology. But the moment had passed. I didn’t get the job. I’m still looking. Is humour a strength or a weakness in an interview? (PP, email).

A: One day all interviewers will desist from asking this dinosaur of a question. What do they expect? Everybody has an answer to bat away this creaking old relic.

Humour is a strength, if carried off properly. Maybe he was just having a bad day. On day three of a vigorous diet, perhaps, and experiencing some cravings.

The peerless Guardian Careers (sign up here recently published their ‘top ten office nibbles’ guide. Maybe he’s found that since and over the hump.

Sli Nua Careers offer CV preparation, interview training and mock interview services at their offices in Galway, Limerick, Dublin, and Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo. Each month, they give away a free CV Makeover to a reader. Enter here: