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Kai Ryssdal: There are, by some counts, five people going after every open job that's out there. For recent kids just out of college, it's worse. They're competing with two or three years worth of graduates who're still trying to find their first jobs. It's especially true in more popular lines of work, high-tech and social media in particular. So younger applicants are coming up with some creative ways to get a virtual foot in the interview door.
Youth Radio's Maya Cueva reports.
Maya Cueva: Alec Brownstein needed to get noticed. The 29-year-old copywriter left an advertising company he says wasn't creative enough. He jumped right in to a job search, focusing on six Manhattan ad agencies.
Given the competition, Brownstein decided against the old-fashioned application process -- just sending in a resume. He took a more direct approach.
Alec Brownstein: I was doing a bit of research on Google about the agency I wanted to work for and about the creative directors who I wanted to work for. As I was Googling them and I was looking through their results, I noticed that there were no ads at the top of the page or even on the side of the page. So as someone who Googles myself somewhat frequently, I realized that if there was an ad above my results, I would notice it when I Googled myself.
So that's just what Brownstein did for the executives he hoped to work for. When they Googled themselves, they would see Brownstein's ads asking for a job, and directing them to his website. Total cost of placing the ads? Six dollars. He bid on the ad words and waited.
On the other side of the country, two 20-somethings used social media to apply to the social news site Digg.com. Digg publisher and chief revenue officer Chas Edwards says the company receives hundreds of resumes each month from hopeful employees. But instead of the typical route, these two applicants took out Facebook ads about themselves, targeting people who work at Digg.
Chas Edwards: So when I logged in to Facebook, I saw an ad that was directed at me, basically, me and other people at Digg. Someone said, "I would like to work at Digg, click here to find out my credentials." And it caught my attention and both young men got interviews.
And Edwards hired one of them. He says just posting your resume and waiting for a callback is like a shot in the dark. But new media strategies establish a direct relationship with the possible hiring manager. And they show you're an innovator in a field packed with web-savvy creative types.
Edwards: I get a clear sense that these two young men really want to work at Digg. They're not just looking for any old job, they've gone through the effort to reach out to Digg. And I think the same thing about if people are following me in Twitter, and replying to me in Twitter and we get to build a relationship, I'm much more inclined to invite them in for an interview than somebody who comes in by way of Craigslist.
Alec Brownstein's Google ad strategy didn't get an immediate reaction, but eventually, the e-mails started trickling in.
Brownstein: And they all said the same thing, which was, "Somebody else was Googling me and told me about this. But we thought it was really cool and we liked your portfolio of work, would you like to come in for an interview?"
Not only did Brownstein get one of the advertising jobs he interviewed for, he won some industry awards for the creativity of his job search.
I'm Maya Cueva for Marketplace.
Ryssdal: Maya's story was produced for us by Youth Radio.