DEAR JOYCE: I read about Scott Avidon, a man in New York who is so frustrated in being unable to find a job in the jewelry industry -- where he'd worked for 15 years as a marketing consultant for a wholesale jeweler -- that he is offering a reward of up to $25,000 from his future earnings to the first person who can help him find employment. He is looking for annual earnings of between $225,000 and $275,000. Is this an outlandish stunt, or might it result in a paycheck? -- S.E.
Avidon has framed an interesting offer by starting a blog, e-mailing his personal network and posting a press release online. Avidon says he quickly received "really solid leads" to CEO-level executives at interesting organizations, and that Facebook is spreading the word. Follow his progress on scottavidon.com.
Avidon's employment adventure updates the applicant-paid fee arrangement that was prevalent before employer-paid fees became the norm. But Avidon's self-marketing gamble is directed at individuals via social media, not at state-licensed employment agencies. Employment professionals have, over the years, developed standard solutions to future problems, such as the amount of the applicant's fee to be returned if the employer lies about the quality of the job, goes out of business quickly or treats the employee like a insect. Agencies don't like giving money back, but individuals, new to the employment matchmaking world, may flatly refuse to do so.
I don't know whether Avidon's guerilla marketing campaign will succeed. I hope so, and that he'll work happily ever after for his new employer. But, in my observation, most search campaigns requiring novelty notice -- such as billboards, sandwich boards on toll roads and flowers for hiring managers -- have proved disappointing. The novelty has worn off. The shoe delivery, for instance, has become a cliché: "I'm sending you this shoe to get a foot in the door."
DEAR JOYCE: You mentioned using Twitter in social networking for job search purposes. What should I be saying in my tweets? -- T.J.K.
Diane Crompton and Ellen Sautter, authors of the new book "Find a Job Through Social Networking" (jist.com), advise job hunters to stay professional in the Twitterverse.
-- Tweet the work and job you're targeting; preface your tweet with "Need help with."
-- Tweet events related to your field, industry trends and a recent accomplishment.
-- Tweet about resources you've found to be helpful, including thanks to individuals.
DEAR JOYCE: I have sent at least 50 resumes within the past two weeks and have not heard a peep. It's like they've fallen into the ninth circle of hell. Why has no one had the courtesy of acknowledging receipt of my resumes? -- C.S.
A single job opening may attract hundreds, even thousands, of people who throw their resume into the digital ring. Most are from people who aren't qualified for the job. Even when your resume is passed on by automated software (an applicant tracking system, or ATS) to human eyes, the reviewer may be untrained for the job. What you're experiencing is generally referred to as the "resume black hole."
A tip to avoid the hole: When you see an appropriate opportunity on a job board (careerbuilder.com or monster.com, for example), don't apply through the job board, but move to the hiring company's website to send your resume; customize to the open position. Moreover, company websites often are more liberal in accepting better-looking design elements in your resume, compared with job boards that may accept text-only resumes.
Cruise directly for jobs on company websites: JobsDirectUSA.com is a consortium of company websites. LinkUp.com is a job search engine that collects jobs from nearly 21,000 company sites.
Another tip: Look through local job search websites where there may be less competition than on the big national job boards. These sites list opportunities in small and large communities, such as Bandon, Ore., or Chicago, Ill. Search for "directory of local job boards."
Grab other tips by searching for "How to Avoid the Resume Black Hole" by Alison Doyle. She is the well-regarded job-searching guide for About.com.