Lateral Thinking in the Job-Hunting Process
Think Creatively to Get A Head* in Life
It’s that time of year again – graduation. My students are ready to walk and move their tassels from the right to the left signifying they have officially received the baccalaureate degree. This inspired me to develop the following blog that tests one’s ability to think creatively – out of the box. I find this is a challenge even for the best of students (i.e., high GPAs). Realizing that many of my students read my blogs, I include a puzzle to test their creative thinking skills. I invite all readers to try the puzzles below. To add some drama to the “test,” I will post answers on Friday, May 31. But first, a little background about the use of lateral thinking in job-hunting. It comes from my colleagues at the University of Kent in the United Kingdom.
A number of graduates have tried the commonplace methods of trying to gain a recruiter’s attention, such as enclosing a tea bag with their application, so that the recruiter could take a break to have a cup of tea before reading it. Here are more creative approaches.
A student wanted to become a staff journalist on her town newspaper. She decided to carefully analyze the content of the paper and compared it with similar local papers. She conducted a small survey of readers' opinions on the paper by interviewing passers-by downtown. Using this information, she drew up a list of possible changes to the paper, wrote a sample article to show what she had in mind and sent these to the editor. The editor invited her in to discuss her suggestions - they had a long discussion and the next vacancy that arose was offered to her without competition.
One New York graduate who wished to work in a top advertising agency Googled the names of the creative directors of these agencies and then spent just $ 6 on a set of Google ads that were triggered when the directors searched for their own names. The advertisements said "Hey, (creative directors name), Googling yourself is a lot of fun. Hiring me is fun, too" Of the five directors he targeted, four gave him an interview and two offered him a job. Here is a one-minute video of what was done.
The following fun puzzles will test your ability to think laterally. Simple look at the puzzle and describe what it means. Here is an example:
1. ------------ = man overboard
Now you try it. I will post the answers on Friday so keep reading.
feet feet feet feet feet feet
7. he's X himself
9. death ....... life
* purposefully misspelled in the spirit of this blog
Blog posted by Steven Mintz, aka Ethics Sage, on May 29, 2013