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The Extreme Job Search

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Frustrated job seekers sometimes turn to the extreme job search as a last resort.

People who employ guerrilla tactics to find work are making headlines from CNN to "The Wall Street Journal."

But is it worth the risk?



Some say it's a good way to stand out from the crowd. Others claim it's a good way to sabotage a search. But one thing is certain: If you use extreme tactics, they need to be clever, well considered and careful. And you should never use them at the expense of more traditional, tried-and-true methods.

Who Goes Gonzo?

When traditional job search methods aren't working well, some job seekers feel they have nothing to lose. And they go extreme.

The results from these tactics are mixed.

Richard Wilcox, a former insurance executive, stood on a street corner with a "job wanted" sign and inspired an article in "The Wall Street Journal." The exposure eventually got him a job.

But for most extreme job seekers, the verdict is still out.

The bottom line is that extreme tactics probably aren't worth the risk unless you have no other prospects. So, before you consider trying something outrageous, sit down and review your options. You may discover some tried-and-true job search methods that you haven't yet explored.

A Fine Line Between Stupid and Clever

No matter what your job search strategy, don't be reckless.

An extreme job search has to be appropriate to the job and the company. And it should be clever.

Taking extraordinary measures can demonstrate determination, creativity and initiative. But gimmicks can do more harm than good if your stunt appears pushy, corny, dumb, or worse, inappropriate.

Originality Counts

More people are using gimmicks to find a job simply because there are many people looking for work.

The more people who use gimmicks, the more original they have to be.

Handing out resumes on a street corner may sound novel, but it's been done -- a lot. And putting an ad on the side of a bus may seem creative, but that strategy has been used too.

While tactics like these will get you noticed, they may not attract the right kind of attention.

So, before you go extreme, put your creativity to a more productive use: Brainstorm creative ways to expand your network, get experience you're lacking or find hidden, unadvertised jobs.

Multiple Strategies

People who use multiple job search strategies have more success than those who use just one or two. So when your job search gets tough, you want to be sure you're covering all bases.

Don't forget informational interviews, recruiters and resumes for the extreme search.

It's OK to consider unusual ideas, but don't do so at the expense of traditional job search methods. There's a reason why most people approach a job search with a few standard strategies: Those strategies work.
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