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Thinking Outside the Box Pays Off

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Want to spice up your job hunt? Combine your credentials with fresh-squeezed creative juice and your resume is now a recipe for success.

Joshua Persky

Joshua Persky, a New York banker, landed his dream job recently after taking an innovative approach to advertising his skills. The father of five had been searching for work for 11 months when he decided to turn himself into a walking classified ad.

Wearing an "MIT Grad For Hire" sign, the savvy job seeker stood on the corner of 50th Street and Park Avenue handing out resumes to potential recruiters. "Before 9/11 we could go into office buildings and camp out until someone hired us," says Joshua. "Now we're not allowed to do as much guerilla marketing. So, I put a sandwich board on so people would give me a glance."

Joshua's stunt attracted more attention than he ever imagined. Passers-by constantly offered him words of encouragement. "People on the street were kind and supportive. I didn't expect that," says Joshua. "New Yorkers are known to be pretty cynical." Even Joshua's voicemail box was full of uplifting messages. "So many people have called and said, 'We're praying for you,'" says Joshua.

His experience also inspired him to write a blog. Within three days, Joshua began receiving job offers. An executive recruiter from Weiser LLP, a prestigious accounting firm, spotted Joshua's blog and hired him to be a senior manager for the company.

However, Joshua's journey to success didn't come without sacrifices. His financial struggle forced him to give up his apartment. For months, Joshua's wife and kids have been living in Nebraska with his in-laws. "It was very traumatic to split up the family," says Joshua. "I've been going back and forth every few weeks."

Despite losing his home and his family, Joshua never gave up hope. His advice to current job seekers..."Do what you have to do to survive. Keep your humor and your drive." He also suggests consulting a career counselor for resume tips.

"Anything you can do to set yourself apart is important. The key is to get your resume to the right person," says Nancy Malkin, partner and CFO of Curphey & Malkin Associates Inc., an executive search firm that specializes in enterprise recruiting.

Joshua's creativity made him a stand out over other candidates. But will clever self-promotion become a more popular trend among job seekers during these tough economic times? "Whatever you can do to think outside the box now helps because you're competing with so many people looking for work," says Joshua.

Were you laid off recently? Get some practical advice on what to do next from experts at Essence.com.



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