How to Set Yourself Apart in a Brutal Job Market

Jobs right now are harder to find than a cab in the middle of a Manhattan downpour. That's why it's so critical to set yourself apart from the pack. We, for example, have already received more than 150 resumes for three, count 'em, three Summer internships.

Most job inquiries contain the requisite cover letter and resume. A few, though, are incredibly creative. And, since we purport to be in the business of image and creativity, these entreaties get my attention.

Check out the one below from Matt Rakow. Matt may not land one of our three Summer intern positions but his out-of-box inquiry earned him a shot. And, nowadays, that's half the battle.Top-10

So, before you hit the send button and forward 300 copies of a bland cover note, think about ways in which you, like Matt Rakow, can set yourself apart…

1.  I am a standup comedy junkie and performed a 5 minute set at Caroline’s and was the Comedy Chair for the Student Activities Board at Ithaca College

2.  I am a huge fan of the Upright Citizen’s Brigade and as the Comedy Chair I was able to hire John Mulaney from UCB to perform at the college

3.  Although I do not yet climb actual mountains, I walk up and down the hills of Ithaca every day which is getting me in shape for a future climb

4.  You could expand your “Pain-based selling” concept into “Pain-based hiring” since finding a good internship is keeping lots of students up at night, me included

5.  I think naming your company after your dog was clever

6.  I am organized

7.  I am creative

8.  I am motivated

9.  I have strong communication and writing skills

10.  I will be a great addition to your next intern podcast

9 thoughts on “How to Set Yourself Apart in a Brutal Job Market

  1. tell us more about the comedy set, matt. this top 10 list was a bit lame, if you ask me.
    points 6, 7 and 8 should have been combined into one and that would have made the argument in point 9 a bit stronger. then, you could have had some more room to take your pitch letter from good to great.
    also, let us know if you like dominios’ pies and present advertising campaign.

  2. rep, i did say it was good, just not great. constructive criticism is all i am offering and if matt can handle the stage, surely he can take a does of that.
    my top 10 list would have been much more graphical and wouldn’t be appropriate to post (and have live on) in cyberspace.

  3. I heard of a guy who mailed every copy of his resume in a box with a shoe, and a note that said “Just trying to get my foot in the door…”
    I though that was pretty clever, although I’m not sure how effective it really was.

  4. So, Steve, would a sufficiently expensive shoe in your size be ideal, with the mate to follow?

  5. Great question, Brian. Here’s the bottom line: if the company in question manufactured shoes, then yes, the shoe strategy would be borderline genius. Since we have to assume the prospective employer wasn’t in the shoe business, I’d classify this as a career misstep at best.

  6. Right…he literally should have sent his foot vs. one of his shoes. But, there isn’t an internship out there that is worth having to amputate.

  7. I don’t know about that, Lunch Boy, with this economy it might be worth losing a limb if the internship was paid… :)