Human Resources News & Insights

Walking resume lands job

These days, we’ve been hearing a lot of stories about crazy stunts job seekers are pulling to find employment. Well, here’s one that actually worked.

Five months ago, Jason Fruen of Manchester, England, lost his job as a mechanical maintenance engineer.

After sending his resume to companies and having no luck, he adopted a different strategy: He started wearing the resume.

Fruen donned a sandwich board that read, in big bold letters, “Mechanical maintenance engineer, seeking employment,” along with his telephone number, the Daily Mail reports.

His plan: Stand by an industrial complex and hope someone pays attention. He didn’t have to wait very long.

On his first day of self-advertising, a car pulled over. The owner of a local company offered him a job.

Unfortunately, it was only for a two-and-a-half month temporary assignment. So now, Freun is hitting the streets again, starting every day at 5:30 a.m.

What extreme job-seeker tactics have you seen or heard about? Would anything like Freun’s gimmick grab your attention enough to consider someone for a job? Let us know in the comments section below.

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  1. There was a man here in Dallas who did something similar. He was an SMU graduate — his particular degree escapes me now — but he stood on street corners in downtown Dallas wearing a sandwich board advertising his skills and experience. No follow up on the local news that I saw so not sure if he landed a job or not.

  2. There was this guy on the freeway exit the other day with a sign that said, “Will work for food.” He was nasty-looking and scraggly. I think someone hired him for a corporate position because he wasn’t there the next day.

  3. Leu- LOL!!

  4. That was done right here in NYC last year. An MBA, in a suit and sandwich board advertised himself in midtown. It made national news.

    So, why couldn’t you google this topic first and talk about someone right here in the US instead of someone in England?

  5. Though the last sentence in your message was funny LEU, if you are an HR professional especially, I would expect more understanding from the rest of your comment. Someone that needs to hold a sign that he is willing to work for the basic need to eat is obviously in a very desperate situation and is not leaving a nice house and a warm shower where he can clean himself up. He is at least willing to work to get money.

  6. Although I could say, “Get a sense of humor” – my initial reaction was thinking of some of those panhandlers who DO have a warm shower and nice house (or at least, apartment) to go to. Yes, if you see someone out there who is willing to work or begging just for food, that does deserve understanding and a kind heart.

    However, from the tone of that post, I mostly assumed the entire reply was a joke, not just the last line.

  7. SSM- let me show you how out of touch you really are: 98% of “homeless” people are bums, and are in that situation because of their own doing (drugs, alcoholism, etc.)
    Two years ago I had a MFG plant and we were in need of general laborers to fill a conveyor line doing manual work. About a half mile from the plant I saw a “will work for food” guy on the exit ramp. I said to him I have a job waiting for you less than half a mile away and paid $8.00/hour. He declined, saying all he wanted was a handout to buy booze.
    95% of poor people are poor because of the things they do – they keep doing to themselves all the things which keep them poor. Wealthy people keep doing the things which make them rich.

  8. LEU – your lack of compassion is truly amazing. Especially in these hard economic times, as more and more people struggle to keep their homes, we all need to be aware of what is truly going on and remember our field is “human” resources and we need to stay human. I hope you are never an HR representative anywhere I work.

  9. Barb – Our field is human resources as it applies to the employers whose job is to create and maintain stakeholder or shareholder profit. We manage the human element on the job – not worry about those bums on the side of the road who, again I emphasize, most are just that – bums looking for handouts due to the drugs or alcohol they need. How many legitimate unemployed people are standing on the road with hand-lettered signs, all scraggly and unkempt? None. Most of the legitimate job seekers are doing just that – putting 10-12 hours a day into finding work by calling contacts or networking, or going to offices and plants actively seeking work.
    BTW – I’m one of the most compassionate people you’d ever meet. Except my compassion is devoted to personal responsibility, liberty, and freedom, not welfare, excuses, and government intervention. But you wouldn’t understand that. You’re one of the touchy, feely HR people who give our profession a bad name with all the feel good programs that tend to drive companies into the ground with the entitlement mentality – or you work in government.

  10. Do I need to separate you two?! I think we can all agree that there is absolutely no way to determine a person’s circumstances — past and present — based on appearance. Yes, there are some people standing on street corners begging for food or money who truly need it, who got dealt a bad hand and find themselves in a spot they never imagined. By the same token, there are people standing on street corners begging for food or money who have addictions or emotional problems. Then again, there are people standing on street corners begging for food or money who are just lazy and don’t want to work. It takes all kinds and they’re all out there.

    Case in point: Several years ago I was taking a lunch break, sitting in my car in a church parking lot reading a book. I noticed a poorly dressed woman in her mid 30’s standing on the corner with a sign asking for money. Occassionally someone would stop and give her change or a few bucks and she’d pocket it. One man stopped and gave her a bag that contained a full meal. She stashed the bag underneath some nearby bushes and continued begging. Shortly before I left to return to work, I watched the woman walk away from her corner, cross the street to a shopping center (leaving the meal behind), and get into a Jaguar and drive away.

    Don’t judge a book by its cover, and don’t assume you know someone’s circumstances based on their appearance.

  11. Ed in HR in Southern Indiana says:

    As Lucy points out, there are all types in situations like this. I’ve seen the side that LEU mentions more times than the ones that are truly looking for help, but there is a mix of both sides out there and it’s impossible to tell the difference.

    On at least three occasions my wife and I wanted to teach our young daughter about helping people in need and why you don’t always shell out money. The best example I have was on a very cold Saturday morning and we were coming off an exit ramp and there was a man holding a sign stating he was starving and needed food and a job. We went to a McDonald’s close by and purchased the man a meal with hot coffee and circled back to give it to him. Then we watched as he hid the bad in his dirty backpack . . . never even looking inside. We hoped that he’d at least eat it later, but he never even said thank you and he had the nerve to ask for money beyond the food. We parked nearby and talked about the incident for about a half hour and he never ate the food or drank the coffee.

    It was a valuable lesson for my daughter and she focused her charitable efforts to other avenues as we have. Now When I see someone asking for handouts, I tell them where they can go and apply for a job . . . I believe there is a story about giving someone a fish vs. teaching them how to fish and feed them self for life. Fortunately, I’m on a regional workforce board that oversees the WorkOne offices in a six-county region, so having a stack of cards to hand out for job seeking assistance really helps. You’d be amazed at how many folks refuse to take the contact information . . . I’m still offering a helping hand, but it’s up to them to take it.

    We’re all shaped by the things we’ve experienced in life and our decisions are often influenced by that harsh reality. Those of us in HR are just like other people and are entitled to different views. It’s really not our place to judge each other on our own interpretations of compassion or values. Ultimately we are not the judge . . .

  12. I have to interject a little here. The percentage LEU also contains those poor souls who are mentally or emotionally ill. Back when the good state hospitals felt it was a good idea to release many of the poor patients that only needed medication to maintain a certain amount of normalcy. Of course nobody cared that there was no follow up care, nobody made sure the people had family that cared, or some place to live, or someone to make sure they take their meds, etc…….Our loving, wonderful, compasionate Government at work. Not all are drug addicts, alcoholics. Some are your brothers, sisters, Grandparents, parents, children……….

  13. William S. says:

    I am really amazed …. let’s put aside the fact that we are HUMAN resource professionals…. we are first and foremost…HUMAN BEINGS and we all are one check away from potentially being in a situation where we we could be holding signs…Will Work For Food… No one is above being downsized, outsourced, fired, etc during these times. I admire anyone willing to be creative enough to think outside the fish bowl as it were in trying to obtain employment.

    It amazes me when I read / talk to peers who are in this profession and have the compassion of a flee. It’s not always about the title…the money…it’s about the human experience.

    I’m getting off my soapbox now.

  14. Well said, William.

  15. Anthony says:

    I agree with LEU –

    Unfortuneately, MOST HR people are business school Drop Outs, and are the touchy, feely, and gossipy good-for-nothings.