Many job applicants feel that if they could just get past the initial screening process and land a face-to-face interview with a hiring manager, they’d have their chance to shine. Getting that toe in the door has gotten harder than ever in today’s market. Matthew Epstein, a 2008 graduate of the University of Central Florida, created an online video presentation to both display his skills and provide a glimpse of his personality — and it eventually landed him a job.
Epstein initially began his viral campaign last summer to get hired by Google’s marketing team. He launched a website called Google please hire m.e. and made a pitch video that featured him lounging in a mansion in a blazer and boxers. The video gained more than 1.5 million views, and he used an awkward fake mustache to brand himself and his website.
“You look at me and all you see is a man with an awkward mustache that makes angels weep,” he tells Google in the video while sipping from a glass of wine. “But I’m more than a man with a mustache. I’m a lover, a product marketer, and a digital strategist with a passion for bringing products to market online and off.”
Epstein’s quirky approach did snag him an interview at Google. And though he ultimately didn’t get a job there, the effort did earn interview offers from 80 companies (including Microsoft and Amazon); brought some 400,000 people to his website; and nabbed worldwide media attention. Pretty useful accolades for young person trying to break into the marketing field.
Now he’s working at SigFig, an online startup that helps users track their financial investments. “I was only unemployed for a month but I personally know friends and family who have been unemployed for 6+ months,” he wrote on his blog after landing the job. “If there’s one thing I learned from my campaign it’s that you can’t give up when things seem hopeless.”
Epstein’s not the only one providing potential employers with video introductions. Jared McKinney, a rising senior at Brigham Young University-Idaho, utilized the web-based presentation program Prezi to create a visual resume. Then he used Screenr, a program that lets you record what’s happening on your computer monitor, to create a video resume where he walks the viewer through his past experience.
“I used this short five minute video to show the experience that I’d had and also help give employers a feel for my personality,” McKinney said. “Then I just applied everywhere I could think of that was looking for a social media/ advertising/ marketing/ promotions/ copywriting intern.”
Now he’s a social media intern at a firm in Utah. “At the interview they mentioned that they were impressed with my video resume, and could tell that I was resourceful and had good experience,” he said.
A carefully targeted video presentation can show bosses your creativity and dedication. Let the web’s culture of sharing help propel your name and brand into the consciousness of employers.
This article is part of an ongoing series about using unconventional strategies to find jobs in a tough job market. You can read the rest of the series here. Email your own strategies and experiences to TIME reporter Victor Luckerson at firstname.lastname@example.org, and you may be featured in a future installment.