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Nick Powills: Want to Get Hired? Stand Out

Turns out, differentiation isn’t only important in franchising.

In 2008, the job market was brutal. 

My brother, who had just graduated from college, told me about a friend who mailed lottery tickets to CEOs. He then called them following up on whether they had won or not. Convinced they would all lose, he said, “While you may have not won with that lottery ticket, you can with me.” Guess what happened next? He got a job (don’t know how good he was, but it’s still a good story).

Similarly, when I was making early hires for our company, I had someone drop off my team’s favorite Starbucks orders (because we posted on social what we liked) to the office. A little weirder, but at least it opened up the door.

In today’s job market, the effort seems to have slowed down. The creativity is limited. While you can still see who is hungry and who is not (cover letter that isn’t just INSERT COMPANY I AM APPLYING TO), different is few and far between.

In the late summer, I posted for two positions: Social Media Manager and Graphic Designer. Both received hundreds of applications through LinkedIn. I narrowed the list to 20 each, looking for something that was solid—time at last job (didn’t leave before a year), own Social footprint (only 10 LinkedIn connections, probably not great at social; a URL on your resume to your portfolio that doesn’t link, probably not what we are looking for with design). Since almost all of them didn’t have a cover letter (the few that did, I immediately emailed back), I emailed a few questions to define the why. Out of 40, I got 10 responses. 10. 30 people who applied didn’t even reply.


There, I said it loud and clear. We are looking for amazing people. People who want to live their careers with our core values. People who care. 

And I know they are out there. There are great people sitting out there ready for someone to give them a chance. And our team wants to reap the benefit of that chip on their shoulder by giving them one.

But, they have to stand out. They have to be willing to show us some creativity to bust through the noise. They have to let their grit shine bright.

Want to get hired? Stand out. Do something unique to show that you care. Businesses are hungry for loyal talent wanting the chance to be a superstar.