We’ve all heard the stories – some are true, many are bordering on the job search version of urban myths. A woman sent a VHS tape to Google instead of a resume and it landed her a senior-level position. A guy created a resume that looks exactly like an Amazon.com web page and it goes viral. A friend of a friend showed up to a place of employment and simply refused to leave until he or she was given a job (at least that worked for Erin Brokovich, right?).
Those stories capture our attention because they are, to a certain degree, soothing. They create the possibility that, just maybe, the reason we are struggling in our job search is not because we have ineffective resumes or lack critical qualifications. They allow us to believe that the real problem is that employers want us to completely turn their world upside down with a unique and disruptively creative job search approach.
For better or worse (I argue for better), that is simply not the reality. Über creative approaches can work, but that is the rare exception, not the norm. In almost every case, employers are looking for qualified candidates who can clearly communicate their potential impact via traditional channels.
Don’t decide to recreate the wheel before you’ve first put air in your tires.