Meet 'The Extreme Job Hunter'

Wrestling in gravy, an ad on his chest, offering gifts: This 28-year-old unemployed man is trying it all.

If you think you've worked hard to get a job, then it's time to meet Dan Conway, who dubs himself "The Extreme Job Hunter." Since April, he has tried virtually anything and everything to capture the attention of hiring managers, from trying to auction himself off on eBay, and offering to buy an employer an iPad, to even wrestling in gravy.

The 28-year-old from Newcastle upon Tyne, England, had enough bad luck for everyone. He's been laid off half a dozen times, and some of them from work far removed from his background in advertising. His experience, as he told AOL Jobs in an interview, shows how tough the job market can be, and how even perseverance and ingenuity may not be enough to land a new position.

At this point, despite resorting to tactics that some would consider undignified, perhaps humiliating, he still is unemployed.

When Desperation Set In: Conway, the father of two toddlers, lost his previous job as a project worker in a youth center in June 2012. With no immediate prospects, he says, he tried helping his wife start a business selling cakes at markets. It was a flop. "We couldn't get enough money," Conway says, and the couple started with no capital.

A Thousand Resumes, No Responses: He tried sending resumes and cover letters and is "near the thousand mark." No jobs and barely any responses. So, having a degree in advertising, he took a few weeks after the end of the baking business and planned an ongoing campaign that launched in April to gain attention from employers by branding himself "The Extreme Job Hunter." Conway says that all he wants is a chance to prove that he can do a job. "I need someone willing to take me on," he says. "The interview process doesn't showcase someone's skills properly or show whether they can do the job or not."

It's Not Like Stunts Can't Work: Adam Pacitti of the United Kingdom got 60 job offers after renting a billboard and running a social media campaign to back it up. Even companies have taken to using stunts -- like training someone to be Kid Rock's bartender and paying $10,000 -- to get attention from Google search gold.

First, Conway started with a video resume starring his 2-year-old daughter, Lucy, asking people to employ her dad.


He tried auctioning himself off on eBay for 25,000 pounds (about $40,000).



When eBay learned of the stunt, it shut the auction down quickly.

Conway offered to buy an iPad mini to anyone who helped him land a good job.


He still hasn't had to to make the purchase.

There was the pinata resume and then a picture of him with his daughter and a chalkboard saying, "If this picture gets 10,000 likes, 'Bauer Media' will give my Daddy a job."

It would have been for a job writing radio ads. He got 4,500 likes. He got an interview, but no job. "I was close to getting that job and it broke my heart, to be honest," Conway says.

As he says, he's really bad in job interviews.

But that didn't stop him. Next was the box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts he sent after a first interview, which at least got him a second one.




But no job.

There were other stunts, like buying Google ads so that if Tony Hall, head of the BBC, googled his name, at the top would be an ad that read, "Hello Tony Hall -- Please give me a job -- theextremejobhunter.com". Then there was the song he wrote and sang, posting on YouTube again for Tony Hall.




It's corny, it's silly, but you start rooting for the guy. And that's good, because he's far from done. He did a topless picket on a commuter route.



The giant cover letter.



The cartoon-strip cover letter.



Conway got on Twitter and tried introducing himself to Newcastle University for a position as a social media coordinator. They didn't want to hear from anyone outside of the standard type of application. So he sent an application that would be standard for him: a pizza box with a letter written on the inside cover. Nada.

His latest stunt was entering the World Gravy Wrestling Championships. The people running it were good sports, letting him parade around with a shirt that said he'd "wrestle for job" and a placard with his website address.




He quickly lost his match: "I'm about 5 foot 6 and really skinny. I got eaten alive," Conway says. It may be appropriate for a gravy wrestling championship, but, again, no job.

So, quick, someone hire the guy. Or at least get him some more pizzas and boxes of doughnuts so he can continue his quest.

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Erik Sherman

Erik Sherman

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Erik Sherman is a widely published writer and editor who also does select ghosting and corporate work. Follow him on Twitter at @ErikSherman

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jmg62

Well, unfortunately there're several items that won't work for,....uh, yeah,...Mr.Conway. That I had to go look for his name through all the balderdash and that basic advertising/branding mentions something about using the name of a product or service at least 3 times in presenting it without so much piffle it's a wonder he had ANY interest at all. Interviews were most likely granted out of quirkiness more than employment needs. I would suggest to Mr. Conway to change his campaign to one more of forthrightness and not so much gimmick. As an "Honours Advertising" graduate he should know well that it's doubtful career employment won't come from "morale" boosting of the type he thinks is what an employer desires is "talking" to others on the companies time unless it has something to do with his position. Floor sweep perhaps? Get a foot in the door Dan - serious up. As you state - you've got toddlers to take care of. Ad Exec's are a cynical group on the whole - this route won't go far to endear them. Someone may hire you out of charity now. But unless you keep up with putting yourself in their view - when it "dies down" - you'll be back at it. Network your fanny off and don't worry so much about chatting up the Office! If they could move on - they would've.

September 24 2013 at 5:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ebhntr

Don't "make make" the mistake of hiring someone who doesn't pay attention to detail when they write signs and they want to work in advertising.

September 24 2013 at 3:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jteasdale

Maybe if he would act like a normal person instead of someone who is a little deranged he might actually get someone to hire him. The fact that he has been laid off from several jobs also leads me to believe that he probably isn't a very good worker or can't get along well with others. I used to hire people and if their resume showed mutiple jobs in a 1-2 year period (and they weren't a student during that time), I would pretty much eliminate them automatically.

September 23 2013 at 5:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
stengernc

Dump the glasses you look like a clown. The reason so many jobs disappeared is because of computers and robotics. There has to be a discussion and a limit on how many jobs will be replaced by computers and robotics or the majority of people will not be able to afford to buy the crap being made by these inventions.

September 23 2013 at 2:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bunnyfeet

This dude could afford to buy new glasses if he weren't UNEMPLOYED!!! I doubt the glasses are the reason why he's not getting a job. I can totally relate. I've been out of work for 5 years and actively looking for an administrative assistant position. I try so hard...every...single...day. I can't seem to get a job interview. If I do, I can't get past the phone screening. Employment agencies refuse to help me due to my long-term unemployment. I have two college degrees, good computer skills (Windows 8), type 60 wpm, have lots of work experience, etc. Still nothing. Please pray for us both!

September 23 2013 at 11:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to bunnyfeet's comment
brook2043

Did you consider looking for a job out of your profession, at least to you get something better?

September 23 2013 at 1:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jmg62

"Dude"? Well, despite the vernacular,... there are places that hire if you have any kind of degree and can type well. In 5 yrs there have been openings for classes where - if you've been unemployed for this long government technical schools will wave or take payment from the government and offset any portion until someone is employed. Gotta call them though and most if not all can be found on the Internet wherever a person is. Annex's across most cities.

September 24 2013 at 5:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kimoni Kevin Johnson

THAT SCARY WHEN WHITE PEOPLE CANT FIND WORK !

September 23 2013 at 10:49 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Kimoni Kevin Johnson's comment
jmg62

It's also "scary" when someone doesn't understand the rules of grammar!

September 24 2013 at 5:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
uncommonsensesc

Sometimes you do need to take yourself seriously - if those glasses are for real and needed, change them out!!! They just scream - look at me, I'm goofy! Even though the guy is most experienced in advertising, he's presenting a bad advertisement of himself! I really hope someone hires him though (he is serious about needing a job) and it's a long-lasting relationship! I think he's a good guy, maybe just a little misdirected!

September 23 2013 at 10:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jslflooring

As a hiring manager I would suggest to first get a new pair of glasses. The present ones scream "I am way out there" and do not seem to portray a solid advertising agent/exec.

September 23 2013 at 9:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
arch4003

Dude, lose those glasses! No one will take you seriously with those goggles!

September 23 2013 at 9:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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