These days, fewer and fewer jobs are won the old fashioned way. With thousands of new graduates vying for coveted spots at the most innovative startups in the world, the real go-getters are using unusually creative methods to get noticed.
Here are just a few of their success stories.
How Bethanne Zink nailed a job at Kickstarter
Bethanne Zink knew that she would have to speak Kickstarter’s language when applying for a community support manager position with the burgeoning crowd-funder. Shrugging off the typical cover letter, Bethanne used IM Creator to quickly build an exact replica of a Kickstarter page (called “Picksmarter”) replete with a charming Kickstarter-style video, and a Kickstarter Rewards-style step-by-step guide to what her potential employers could expect from each stage of the interview process. Her application was finished off with a well-written cover letter – in the form of a Kickstarter project description, of course.
Quick Tip: Model your job application in your future employer’s image. Analyse the startup’s aesthetics and brand language, then reflect it back to them to show you that you understand and appreciate what they do.
How Tristan Walker nabbed a job at Foursquare
Tristan Walker always utters the same words when asked how he became one of Foursquare’s first employees: “Be so enamored with the product that you would work for the company even if they didn’t hire you.” Tristan started his quest to get hired by signing up for Foursquare, using it relentlessly, then sending email after email (eight in total) to Foursquare’s founders. Honestly-written, enthusiastic, and eager to please, Tristan’s email persistence finally paid off when founders Dennis and Naveen invited him in for an interview.
Quick Tip: Boundless enthusiasm (regardless of money on the table) is what piqued Foursquare’s interest in Tristan Walker. Especially when applying to young startups, be sure to communicate your enthusiasm to simply be a part of making a cool new project happen, without worrying about your pay cheque at the end of the day.
How Sahil Lavingia became Pinterest’s #2 employee
Sahil Lavingia is another story of how persistence and an honest obsession with his work paid off in a big way. At the ripe age of 18, the ambitious Stanford University freshman was working with a number of startups and projects just for the fun of it. It wasn’t until he learned to start telling people about what he does, though, that his work began to get noticed. After a particularly riling article on the tech-bible HackerNews, Sahil received an email from Pinterest’s founders asking if he wanted to jump on board. He was 18. Just a few years later, Sahil is now the co-founder of his own project, Gumroad, for which
he recently secured a cool $7 million in funding.
Quick Tip: If you do something cool, share it with the world – you never know who you might receive an email from at the end of the day.
How Chris Putnam hacked his way into a job at Facebook
Back in 2005, when Facebook was merely a shadow of what it has become now, a hacker named Chris Putnam wrote a computer worm that turned Facebook profiles into Myspace profiles, and deleting some contacts along the way. Though quickly traced back to Putnam, this ballsy criminal move caught the attention of Facebook’s founders, and Chris was soon offered a job.
Quick Tip: Programmers have used the tried-and-true “hack your future employer” trick dozens of times and wound up with coveted jobs. If you want to show you know more about a website than its founders, then prove it by crashing their system.
Fred Benenson, Flickr Creative Commons: http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6102/6266973488_9d6af9bd79_z.jpg