Joblessness transformed Joshua Persky, James A. Williamson III and Peggy Greco into experts about extreme job-hunting tactics.
Mr. Persky, an investment banker, handed out his résumé while wearing a sandwich board that read, "Experienced M.I.T. Grad for Hire." Mr. Williamson, fresh out of business school, taped his résumé inside the cab he began driving when he couldn't land a marketing post. Ms. Greco printed a T-shirt touting her availability for private-duty nursing, then wore it during bicycle rides around wealthy neighborhoods.
The unorthodox gambits failed these job seekers—but taught them plenty about finding work, and could provide a playbook for countless unemployed Americans. Mr. Persky learned to become a multi-faceted entrepreneur. Mr. Williamson discovered why personal networks matter. Ms. Greco recognized the importance of targeted marketing.
I've already censured myself for my previous commentary about Persky (See this post: "I have been too Harsh")1, so I'll skip over his example. Regarding the Williamson fellow, the job he ends up with after his efforts is as an insurance agent. I'm surprised that a Wall Street Journal reporter doesn't know this, but those jobs are pretty easy to get. The initial training and stipend costs are usually a good investment for the insurance company for a simple reason: most applicants may not have the sales skills, persistence, and contacts to build a viable career as an insurance agent, but most will at least bring on some family and friends as clients before they give up. My guess is that the revenues generated by sales to those family and friends generally considerably outweigh the initial costs of the new hire.
A WSJ reader named T. Sawczyn weighed in in the comments:
Superficially obsequious and potentially self-serving compliments like the one from the recruiter above notwithstanding, I trust that the most important thing each of the profiled job-seekers has learned is the value of TARGETING their efforts to the need at hand.
I would think twice before hiring a personal nurse who rode a bicycle around "affluent neighborhoods" in a T-shirt that says "Hire me." Likewise, I question the intelligence or focus of an investment banker who thinks the best way to find a job is to wear a sandwich board. Finally, a taxi driver in a marketing job search is probably meant to be, a...taxi driver.
People, target your efforts and your job search to the correct audience. Network, direct your inquiries and make yourself a big fish in the small pond of your chosen specialty, not in the big lake of public exposure. This article and these efforts are further proof that what reigns in today's culture is narcissism and media exposure, no matter that the result of said self-exposure is nothing more than 30 seconds of fame.
Yes, none of these people was successful in their "job-search." Is anyone surprised?
1I did also recently offer him the chance to bid on a small project I placed on Elance, but didn't hear back from him.