Job-seekers: Think outside the box

Hire Us

Hire Us (Photo credit: Dita Margarita)

Are you sending out application after application for countless jobs and still not getting replies?

Then you should read this article about Alix Montes, a recent graduate who couldn’t get a job by sending out résumés and cover letters, and wound up using less traditional methods to find employment:

How a Recent Grad (Finally) Got Hired (

Montes lists some key strategies he used to get himself hired, including putting his ego on the back-burner. While I’ve discussed how you should be confident during your job search, being confident is not the same as being egotistic, and Montes makes that distinction as well:

I never felt entitled to any job, but rejection is hard for even the most humble of us to swallow. My pride had to go. This is for several reasons. The first is that the biggest acts of humility are often the biggest displays of confidence. To get others to believe in what I can accomplish, I had to believe in myself. While I had to be confident, I also had to keep my ego in check and not come off as arrogant.

He also discusses how he had to step out his comfort zone by going to networking events, spending his graduation money to meet with an executive, and calling companies to follow up on his applications. In fact, he cites following up as the most important factor to a successful job search.

But Montes isn’t the only recent graduate who thought outside-the-box to find employment. In her 20something profile, Sevey O. writes about how she thought outside the box, using alumni connections and reaching out to industry leaders, to land herself a job as an investigative consultant:

Too many times students receive the message that there is one correct major, one way of landing that great job or few lucrative careers we should all rush at. In today’s economy, more than ever, the importance should be placed on stepping outside the box, networking beyond your safe borders and seeking new fulfilling careers of which your current counselors (in life) may or may not have heard.

So if you’ve sent out your hundredth application, and employers still aren’t reaching out to you, then perhaps you should take the advice of these young professionals and incorporate their less traditional — and more proactive — methods into your job search.

About David

I'm an aspiring writer and filmmaker in my twenties. I also run a blog where twenty-somethings share their stories and advice on beginning a career in this economy. Check it out at

Posted on July 20, 2013, in News & views and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. jamestollefson

    Very true. I really feel that more than ever, it’s word of mouth and personal connections that get people jobs – regardless of age, education, experience, or even actual ability. The job I have now I got because I met some people at an organizational event and made a good impression on a couple of influential individuals. Contrast that with dozens of resumes I have sent out that not only didn’t land me a job, but didn’t even gain me a phone call, interview, email, or any acknowledgement whatsoever.

    For folks our age especially, I think social media and face-to-face networking at professional events is the key to finding a good job.

    • Online applications will only get you so far in terms of making an impression. It reduces you to being words on a screen – just another faceless applicant out of hundreds that employers have to sift through.

      Face-to-face interactions demonstrate your personality, and they leave an impression that’s far more indelible than just sending a résumé and a cover letter. (Also, only around 15% of job openings are even posted online.)

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