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Guerrilla Applications – Apply with Shock and Awe!

Tips and Examples for Creative Applicants

Anke Pfaffendorf 07.10.2016
Boring is so yesterday: Guerrilla applications are on the rise, finding their way onto the desks of more and more HR departments with eye catching creative applications. What if instead of sending a by-the-book cover letter and resume we sent potential employers a video application, for example? This will definitely make you stand out from the crowd and your application will stick with the HR manager when it comes time to interview. But what is a guerrilla application exactly? And how creative can you get? Use these tips to pimp your application and hopefully land that interview. And who knows? It might help you get the ideal job and lead to a successful start to your career.

The word “guerrilla” is the diminutive form of the Spanish word “guerra” (“war”), and means something like “little war.” Today the term has become established in the marketing field as well. It describes an unusual and striking marketing campaign. The same is true for applications. Remember: stand out, stand out, stand out! More and more we’re seeing applicants send HR managers videos, resumes like Lego designs or other creative ideas instead of plain old paper applications. It’s something new, it’s noticeable and may just be very well received by the right HR manager and for the right job. All this can lead to that coveted interview.

What do guerrilla applications look like?

There are countless articles about guerrilla applications online. We’ve picked out three applications that could not be more different. All three applications were well received and ended up being successful. They got the applicant an interview and ultimately a job.

Billboard job search: Briton Adam Pacitti used the last of his money (about 600 euros) to buy a billboard space in London in 2013. But what was on it? Well, Adam himself, the phrase “Please give me a job,” and his email address. The billboard was a hit: He began receiving job offers just one hour after it went up. Adam now works as a producer at a television company.

Applying using Google: Alec Brownstein used Google for his job search. He would search for the name of the employer and used this as a keyword. So when the boss Googled himself, the first hit would be Alec’s website with the phrase “Googling yourself is a lot of fun. Hiring me is fun, too.” The idea worked: He received a total of four invitations to interview, two job offers and ultimately a job with an agency. Alec’s video about the idea:

Rethinking a cover letter and resume as an infographic: You don’t need a giant billboard to get a job. Uniquely presenting your application can work just as well. Hagan Blount packed his entire resume into a one-page infographic. It included all of the key facts plus some funny comments, QR codes, icons and links.

How do I create my own guerrilla application?

First things first: The application ideas in this article have already been done. Don’t just copy them! Use these applications as inspiration – after all, it’s your own creativity that’s required for a true guerrilla application. We’ve put together a few tips for you to earn bonus points on your next application as you start your career.

Tips for the perfect guerrilla application

  • The right concept is key
    The first thing you need to pimp your cover letter and resume is a concept. Your application should have a common thread, should reflect your own personal style and should fit the job you’re applying for. This means you maintain credibility in your job search as an applicant.
  • The application must fit the company
    Are you applying to work at a more conservative company? It may be that a guerrilla application is not necessarily the right fit. Make sure you find out in advance as much as you can about your potential employer to figure out if you may be better off with a traditional application.
  • Be professional
    Spelling and grammar are important, even in guerrilla applications.
  • Take your time
    Time is an important factor, especially when it comes to creative ideas and concepts. Take it! Your application will eventually lay the foundations for a successful career, so don’t rush it.

We wish you lots of luck with your creative application!

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