Disrupting the Traditional Job Search

Disrupting the Traditional Job Search

I just finished reading Disrupt You! by Jay Samit and in it he relates a job search story that illustrates a level of creativity and chutzpah we all can learn from:

In 2010, Alec Brownstein was just another copywriter working at the bottom of a large New York advertising agency. It’s not that Alec hated his job, but he dreamed of working at a really creative shop with the most innovative creative directors on Madison Avenue. He knew who these creative executives were, but not how to meet them or get on their radar. While googling around to see the latest work by these industry luminaries, Brownstein notices that no sponsored links were attached to the searches for their names. Sponsored links are the ads that appear on the top of every search results page. Brownstein saw an opportunity.

“Everyone googles themselves,” Brownstein explains, “even if they don’t admit it. I wanted to invade that secret, egotistical moment when [they] were most vulnerable.”

As the only bidder for the names of top creative director, Brownstein could secure the top search placements for fifteen cents per click. Whenever a creative director’s name was searched, the following appeared next to the results: “Hey [creative director’s name]: Goooooogling [sic] yourself is a lot of fun. Hiring me is fun, too,” with a link to Brownstein’s website. His ingeniously simple plan worked.

Eighty percent of the creative directors took the bait and called Alec. Brownstein received job offers from two superstar creative directors, Scott Vitrone and Ian Reichenthal. Total cost for disrupting one of the world’s most creative industries: $6. The effect on Brownstein’s career: priceless. That wasn’t the only bonus from his investment. In a field that rewards creativity, Alec Brownstein also won a Clio – the advertising industry’s most prestigious award – in the self-promotion category.

“Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there in an interesting way,” Brownstein advises. “The people who you want to work for can’t hire you any less than they already are. So shoot for the moon.”


The way to really stand out in today’s job search is to go beyond the “standard,” the “expected,” and the “customary”, and reach for new heights in personal creative expression. Brownstein combined deep insights about his target market, savvy tech chops and customized messaging to snag his new job.

What are your current opportunities to disrupt the traditional job search and put your creative stamp upon it?

One comment

  1. ha. This is great!

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