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Would you advertise your resume…in a taxi cab?
Emma Clifford did exactly that and, combined with the power of social media, got noticed. Frustrated by how difficult it was to get hired out of university, Emma realized that placing her resume as an ad in a London taxi might catch a prospective employer’s eye. She snapped a picture of the unconventional resume ad and posted it to Twitter, which caught momentum and the media’s eye—she was featured on local TV and radio networks, in addition to the major outlet Daily Mail UK. While speaking on a radio show, she serendipitously met the person who would help her secure an internship, and the rest is history. Here is Emma’s inspiring story…
Story Resumes: Emma, what led you to do something unconventional in your job search?
Emma: I had finished my English Literature degree at Canterbury Christ Church University and had been applying for numerous jobs as well as internships online as many people in the same position were doing.
After a while it gets a little disheartening, not to mention monotonous, being at home and not having much to do in between working at a part-time job I’d been doing for a bit of money whilst I was studying. I knew companies often advertised in the fold-down seats in London taxi cabs so I thought what would be the harm in trying this myself—just in case—in the off-chance it would happen to catch a prospective employer’s eye? It was something to do to pass the time and also to give me some focus in improving my employability chances.
Story Resumes: Why did you decide on a taxi ad resume in particular?
Emma: I had been trying to apply for jobs for a little while and as it is an employers’ market I thought it would be a good idea to try something different and unconventional in order to stand out. It was also an interesting talking point later on in interviews.
Story Resumes: How confident were you that employers or agencies would contact you in response to your creative resume? Did you have a ‘Plan B’?
Emma: I wasn’t that confident at all that I would be specifically contacted by an employer or agency really. Plan B was just to continuously apply the old-fashioned way online for jobs and even internships as well as work experience. Social media actually played a positive part in helping me to get my advertisement noticed to a wider audience.
Story Resumes: What was the overall response to your taxi ad resume?
Emma: My dad did receive some comments from customers who got in the back of his taxi day-to-day; they often said many positive things about it and wished me good luck, which was great. Although this was very encouraging, the chances of the right employer getting into my dad’s taxi did seem a little slim.
I had posted a picture of my advert on Twitter just to show people what I had created. This led to an interview on BBC South East who interviewed me and my dad (who is a London taxi driver) about the ad and about unemployment of students who have just come out of university. I also spoke on LBC Radio about a similar topic and discovered that one of the presenters on the show actually had a book publishing company—this enabled me to get a one-month internship with the book publishing company. I was very grateful for this as I was able to get further experience in the industry I wanted to work in.
Therefore, through the use of social media and showing people my advertisement in the cab it was quite well received. People saw that I was taking my own initiative to be proactive and to do something different. As well as being interviewed on local television and radio, the Daily Mail Online posted a story about me and the advert. Most of the comments I received were positive, however, with online articles also come some negative comments that you need to learn to ignore.
Story Resumes: How has your ad resume impacted your career since your internship?
Emma: As mentioned above, I would say that the ad helped me at first to gain further work experience which therefore opened a door there. However, I believe that gaining the work experience, volunteering at a book festival, and reading as much as I could about the industry ultimately helped me. I never regret the advert resume as it helped me to gain some experience, but it was also other extra things I did that really helped me.
When I got my first job as an administrative assistant, I had applied online for the job and was given an interview. In the interview I did actually mention the advert as I thought it would make me stand out and was something fun to talk about. The employers did like this and thought that it was interesting, therefore it may have been a contributing factor in gaining my first job perhaps, although it was my online application that ultimately got me the interview.
Story Resumes: What advice would you give to other jobseekers looking to stand out?
Emma: I would say that they should never give up on their chosen career path and to just be ready that it may be quite competitive. You have to show an employer what is different about you. Is there something unique that could give you an edge?
Engaging with those in your chosen industry and also setting up a blog are also said to be good techniques of demonstrating how passionate you are about something. Do bear in mind if you do set up a blog employers who may spot it also like to see that this is something you currently maintain and not just to post one thing once in a blue moon!
Having voluntary and internship experience is a great way to stand out and also a great way to network and develop professional relationships with people in your chosen industry. This also shows that you are dedicated. Perhaps if you could find something that would show you are passionate about a certain area or topic and can think of something that shows your initiative then why not give this a go, too?
Story Resumes: Emma, many thanks for sharing your resume story and tips with us. We wish you all the best in your future endeavors!
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