Finding a job in Marseille is really tough. At 14 percent, the jobless rate here is much higher than France’s national average. But on a busy street near the city’s business district, Diamondra Fontaine unfurls a large, six-foot by three-foot poster of herself, and she and her friends paste it on the side of a boarded up building.
“Here is my photo with what I want to work,” says Fontaine, a non-native English speaker who lost her job as an HR officer a year and a half ago.
In big block letters, the poster gives her name, a phone number and her work qualifications.
“We hang it so the persons come out the subway and see it,” says Fontaine.
The hope is the right person – maybe from a nearby company – sees Fontaine’s picture and hires her.
“I want a job. That’s why I do it,” she laughs.
Fontaine is part of a group called CVStreet, a small group of the unemployed in France that’s adopted a new tactic to put themselves in front of potential employers. Instead of simply sending out dozens, if not hundreds of resumes, its members have plastered Marseille with posters of themselves and what are essentially brief resumes.
Josh Fitoussi, the project’s co-director, says the larger goal is to show that unemployment isn't just a statistical problem. It's a human one.
“We have people that need to find a job,” says Fitoussi. “And they have the posters hanging on the streets so people can actually see who they are.”
That includes poster-hanger Denis Meroy. He’s a gardener who lost his job four years ago.
“This is better than a written resume because when you send a resume you have no idea what happens to it,” says Meroy. “But this is very public. Maybe someone will see the number and call."
The posters do attract attention. Dominique Fanny passed by and stopped to talk to Fontaine as she hung another poster.
“I think it’s really interesting because you actually see a face. You see a smile," says Fanny. "I hope she finds work.”
The project’s organizers claim two people have found jobs so far. It’s not a lot, but it's much better than sitting at home. And they want to roll the idea out to other cities across Europe.