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Meet Jens Lennartsson, Who Got Noticed With Action Figures

June 25, 2014

Ever thought about sending an action figure instead of a resume?

Jens Lennartsson demonstrated that he is ready for anything in the photography field with his “G.I. Jens” action figures. From developing a lookalike model, to shaping his portfolio, to creating packaging with a personal touch, Jens effectively told his professional story in an incredibly memorable way that highlighted not only his skills and talents, but also his style. His approach worked, and not only did his professional network expand exponentially with multiple job opportunities, but press calls came in from high profile sites like CNN and DesignTaxi. Here is Jens’ inspiring story…

Story Resumes: Why did you decide to use action figures to ‘tell your story’ as a photographer?

Jens: I wanted to emphasize the style of my photography. I usually travel extremely light, just with a small backpack, like an explorer. And my photos are lightly post-processed; I try to keep the raw and natural feeling. So, doing myself as “Indiana Jens” was for me a way to give the receiver of my portfolio an instant feeling of who I am as a person and a photographer.

Story Resumes: What was your ultimate goal for sending out the figures?

Jens: My goal was to expand my network. To find new people to collaborate with and that goal has been reached several times over. The amount of new friends and potential clients from all over the world has grown massively since the send out. I’ve been asked to speak about my business and how I market it; I have loads of requests for photography shoots and they continue to roll in, even after several months.

Story Resumes: So, the response to your unconventional job search approach has been better than you expected?

Jens: Yes. The first four weeks were crazy. I sent the video to a friend of mine who runs the photo blog ISO1200. From there, it exploded. CNN called me, twice. Both from London and New York. I was doing interviews for days in the beginning. I knew that people would appreciate the stunt, but not that it would grow so massively. Whenever you do something out of the ordinary, you will gain extraordinary opportunities.

Story Resumes: How long did your job search process take from the time you started creating your action figures?

Jens: From the time I contacted the Chinese manufacturer until I sent out the first figures it was about 14 months. Most of that time included waiting for the figures to ship from the factory.

Story Resumes: Please walk us through the creation process.

Jens: I first took pictures of myself from all different angles. Those were then sent to the manufacturer in China who crafted a prototype made of clay. It took several rounds to get a prototype that resembled me. I had to compare the photos of the prototype I received via mail with the photos that I sent to decide on changes. When we finally managed to get it right, one single figure was molded and painted and sent to me.

While going back and forth with the manufacturer I designed the package with a friend. I wanted the packaging to have a rough and raw feeling so we decided to go with raw cardboard. The one-color print was chosen to emphasize simplicity. The boxes were produced in Sweden. It wasn’t possible to have the ‘window’ attached before I received the boxes so we had to cut them and tape them on ourselves, which required A LOT of work.

The portfolio was made to resemble a map—another travel reference. All of my images have a similar feeling but we decided to put travel-related photos on one side and the more commercial shots on the other.

Finally, over the course of two days, my friends and I spent hours putting the whole package together.

Story Resumes: What else can you tell us about the process?

Jens: It took a lot more time than I thought. And whenever you are working with someone in another part of the world, you have to deal with cultural differences and misunderstandings. It is also extremely difficult to only communicate via e-mail. It might cost less money to hire someone abroad, but it might cost you a lot of effort and time!

Story Resumes: What advice would you give to other jobseekers looking to get noticed?

Jens: If a marketing stunt like mine is to succeed, you need to first produce a lot of good material and continue to do that all the time. A GI Jens is a great way to get yourself noticed, but you need to be good at what you are doing to gain from something like this. And whatever you do, as long as you enjoy it, no time is wasted.

Story Resumes: Thank you so much for sharing your incredible job search story with us, Jens, and we applaud your ingenious idea!

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