Command Attention During Your Job Search with Professionalism

Command Attention During Your Job Search with Professionalism

The job market is tough -- no question. So what can you do to get noticed?

Some job seekers have tried such attention-getting techniques as delivering their resumes in pizza boxes or offering to wash the hiring manager's car.

Should you resort to such a gimmick to gain an employer's attention?

That depends.

In my experience, if you know the hiring manager or the person who will be reviewing resumes, modify your approach based on what you know about this person. If you know the decision maker favors those who show initiative, go the extra mile. If not, then take the professional approach.

When you don't know who is going to be reviewing resumes, you have no way of knowing how the person might react. But 99 percent of the time, resumes delivered in a pizza box or through some other gimmick will be the first ones thrown out.

The only exception may be when you think a company is making a concerted effort to target someone with your specific skills -- and you suspect there are a lot of other folks with those same skills. While I encourage job seekers to take the professional route in getting a company's attention, in this case, employing a more unorthodox approach might be worth the risk.

You Can Still Stand Out

If the thought of resorting to attention-grabbing antics makes you a little queasy, how can you make sure you get noticed through more conventional means?

  • Apply to Jobs that Match Your Skills and Experience: Write a targeted cover letter and make sure your resume demonstrates how you are a good fit for the job and why the hiring manager should consider you.

  • Get to Know the Top Recruitment Agencies in your Area: You will find that these agencies post jobs on behalf of their clients.

  • Work Your Network: If there's a job you want and you meet the description, your most effective strategy is to apply through an internal referral. Do you know someone in that company who can make an introduction? Do you know any of its customers? Suppliers? Former employees? You won't have a referral every time, but it is worth the extra effort to try to find one.

  • If You Know the Hiring Manager's Name, Consider a Voice Mail or Email: Your message should entice the hiring manager to pull out your resume and contact you. Be sure your message does not create another to-do for the hiring manager.

When contacting employers, you need to find an approach that reflects the reasons why you think you should get the job. Whatever you do, remember to be polite, and don't do anything to get attention at your long-term career's sake.

[Ian Christie founded to help individuals build bold, fulfilling careers and help organizations attract, develop and retain talent. A career coach, consultant, three-time entrepreneur, former senior director at Monster and former retained executive search consultant, Ian is an expert in the fields of careers and recruitment. He believes that career management is a central theme to both personal and organizational effectiveness. offers career services to companies and individuals as well as free career resources.]