The reverse job application landed me a job. I guess that's probably what most of you are curious about, so I'll just get it out of the way. Feel free to get back to business as usual now, if that's all you wanted to hear. If, however, you'd like to know a little bit about how things went down, and what this experience has taught me, read on.
i am not alone.
Alright, so this is sort of a given, given the current state of the economy, but I was still surprised by the number of responses I got from people going through a similar situation. There are a lot of qualified, intelligent people without jobs right now, and it seems the reverse job application struck a chord with many of them. Applying for a job can be an incredibly disheartening process that brings your life to a grinding halt and makes you doubt your worth as a person. I'm just a guy who did something goofy as a way of turning the tables on a system that hadn't been working for him, so I doubt I'm really qualified to give advice here, but I hope the next lesson brings a bit of hope to others who find themselves stuck in a quagmire of unemployment and depression.
somebody out there will value you for who you are.
Not everybody has the credentials and employment history to impress the socks off of every company they apply to. In fact, most people don't. The real point I was trying to make with the reverse job application is that even if you aren't a superstar programmer or a Fortune 500 business executive (and the overwhelming majority of you out there are not either of those), you still have traits that set you apart from everybody else. I can't say I would recommend making a reverse job application like I did, but don't be afraid to let potential employers see the real you. Chances are, you'll fit in somewhere.
everybody on the internet is an amateur psychologist.
I don't even know where to start with this one. It's flattering that so many people are interested in analyzing my personality based on a few thousand words of prose and some silly sketches, but I would go see an actual therapist if I felt there were seriously something wrong with me. Is this just me being arrogant? Maybe! Of course, I might also just be a normal, well-adjusted person that made a silly web site to advertise myself to employers. But hey, you're the expert; you make the call.
Frequently Asked Questions
so... did it work?
This is the question I was asked more often than any other. The answer, as I made pretty clear at the top of this page: It did. I received several dozen legitimate submissions from some really great companies, and after about two weeks completely packed with interviews, I accepted a job offer from an awesome start-up. I was not a perfect fit for all of the places I spoke with, but I didn't expect to be. What's more important is that the reverse job application made me visible to a ton of places I may never have ended up speaking with otherwise. Every company I responded to actually followed up with me, which was a pleasant change from my prior experiences.
did you really expect anybody to hire you without knowing a thing about you?
No. My goal was to get a conversation started with potential employers, not to get a job offer outright. I had no problem with sending my résumé to anybody that asked to see it (and as many people figured out, it wasn't very hard to find on my personal site). At the end of the day though, it's just a document. I doubt anybody out there honestly feels that their value as a person can be summed up in a single page, and I was looking to work somewhere that values who I am as much as what I can do.
do you realize how entitled/arrogant/narcissistic this made you sound?
Okay, this wasn't typically phrased as a question. It was usually phrased as a statement of fact, often alongside an assortment of other unsavory exclamations. I am operating under the assumption that the individuals who saw the reverse job application as little more than a monument to my own hubris—or, heaven forbid, the sense of entitlement shared by an entire generation—are of a particular breed of person, one which despises all creative works and sees change as something to be avoided. I do not think I would get along with such individuals. The "me" I presented in the reverse job application is a fictional character. He was based on real thoughts and emotions, but these were distorted and exaggerated in an effort to transform an otherwise mundane monologue on the state of the job market into something entertaining and overblown that people could still connect with. The obvious arrogance in the reverse job application is a result of the narrative voice I decided to use, rather than a reflection of my day-to-day personality.
doesn't linkedin already do this?
No, in the sense that LinkedIn does not showcase my sense of humor and personality through creative writing and absurd doodles. Yes, if you are referencing the concept of putting legitimate information and accomplishments out there for potential employers to see and evaluate. As I've mentioned already, the latter was not really my intention with the reverse job application, though the overarching goal of getting potential employers to notice me was still there.
why didn't you spend your unemployment working on a project to flesh out your portfolio?
This is a fair question, and it's something I really don't have a valid excuse for. Initially, I was confident in my ability to land a job right out of college, which in hindsight was sort of silly. The process of applying for jobs and simply waiting for responses was habit-forming; it was difficult for me to get out of that rut once I was stuck in it. I realized that if I carried on the way I had been, I would be stuck in my funk forever, so I had to make a change. At this point, I identified two options: spend several months building up something substantial for my portfolio, or do something crazy and drastic. Impressionable fan of action movies that I am, I chose the latter. In a sense, the reverse job application was my way of turning things around for myself, of catching my second wind.