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Should outrageous job-hunting strategies be part of your search arsenal?

Alina Dizik, Special to CareerBuilder

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With so many applicants for the most coveted positions, standing out from the crowd can be difficult. Of course, some applicants get attention with memorable and outrageous tactics. But not all bold strategies are created equal, and experts are split on whether going against the grain can help you land an interview. Thinking of sending a hiring manager your shoe with a sign saying: "I want to get my foot in the door at your company"? Consider the following first.

Stay sane

While doing something entirely off the cuff would garner attention, it's probably the wrong kind of visibility. "I'm not a proponent of outrageous," says Jenny Foss, a job-search expert who blogs at "However, I am absolutely an advocate of bold, strategic moves when one is seeking a new job." If you're thinking of ways to get hired, consider what it means to go above and beyond in your particular industry.

For someone who is considering a technology position, coming up with a website that speaks directly to the company or hiring manager can help garner some great attention, Foss says. Jason Zimdars, a graphic designer, created a site that's tailored to the company 37Signals, his dream firm. The site served as an example of the skills Zimdars would contribute to the firm and signaled his enthusiasm for the company. He landed the job.

Use Twitter

While this social networking platform isn't specifically used on a professional level, connecting with prospective managers over Twitter can help get your hired. Follow hiring managers or potential supervisors and take time to interact with their Tweets, Foss says. Whatever you decide to say, "make sure it's professional, inquisitive and thoughtful," she says, adding that this can help you build rapport. If they follow you back, pick a time to send a direct message and inquire about work opportunities.

Another job tactic to try is taking out Facebook ads aimed at your target audience. Marian Schembari, a social media expert who writes the blog, bought Facebook ads to get a job in publishing. Each ad was aimed at Facebook users who worked in publishing houses and included a link to Schembari's professional information. "It was like a networking event on steroids with an added bonus of never needing to leave my house or get out of my pajamas," Schembari says.

Don't force them to interact

One recent client of Foss' was so eager to land a job that he wanted to wait for the hiring manager outside of the lobby. This kind of tactic can hurt your chances, she says. "You could threaten their sense of security and land in big trouble," Foss says.

Consider industry norms

Not all fields are created equal. For those job titles with a more formal hiring process, it may be best to avoid any creative job applications. Especially if you're applying to work in a large firm, any bold moves may be frowned upon. Don't try it with a law firm, says Ann Dunkin, director of operations at Attorney Resource, a staffing firm for legal professionals. "Law firms and corporate legal departments are looking for candidates who can handle themselves with grace and maturity in very busy, sometimes stressful, work environments."

No matter what strategy you consider, it's important to evaluate the professional consequences. Develop ideas that hold true to your own goals. As you're brainstorming, look for strategies that put you in direct contact with the hiring manager. "Essentially, find ways to capture a hiring manager's attention directly, and not in the way they're used to, [like] the old pile of résumés on their desk," Foss says.

Alina Dizik researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues for CareerBuilder. Follow @Careerbuilder on Twitter.

Last Updated: 28/06/2011 - 3:13 PM

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