Everyone who runs billboards or creates Web sites told me they get wacky marriage proposals, lots of commission-only jobs and responses that just didn't pan out.
A group of job seekers started the New England Job Show on public access television. While not too many people are watching, the buzz around the initiative is helping the participants get noticed.
In Tulsa, Okla., Neighborhood Newspapers, which publishes 12 local papers, has offered free ads to job seekers for as long as it takes to get hired. The program is just two weeks old, but already it has about 100 postings and is making plans to expand to other markets.
Dave Wilson, 59-year-old who has worked in building materials, bought radio time in Las Vegas. His 60-second resume ad has generated supportive e-mails and at least one interview.
The station manager at KXNT in Las Vegas told me job seekers should be creative and reach out to local radio and newspapers, since such outlets are part of the fabric of their communities.
Take a chance and contact yours to see if you can start a mini movement. Stress that you're an individual — not a corporate giant with deep pockets — and you may get a break or even a free ad.
While billboards and media buys get an A for effort, they have near-failing rates for results. These are optional ways to re-energize your search and get you out there hustling, but don't count on gimmicks to generate a solid job offer.
Beverly Shepherd of Virginia lost her job as a marketing manager at a local newspaper in January. She's since offered a cash reward for anyone who introduces her to her next employer: $800 for a salary of $80,000, up to a hefty $6,000 for a position paying $120,000.
She's gotten no results yet, but she's hopeful.
Atlanta's Michael Checkoway offered a minimum prize of $2,000 cash to the person who introduced him to his next boss — and he got quite a bit of local media coverage that resulted in 300 e-mails.
Most people, he said, didn't get it. They'd write, "Hey check out the government jobs on this Web site" -- not exactly the specificity he expected.
Eventually, when he realized this wasn't going to pan out, he got a job on his own and didn't have to spend a penny.
My concern with a finder's fee is that you may stop hustling on your own if you assume someone else is doing the legwork. Just because you dangle a carrot doesn't mean people will hop into action for you. Only you can get yourself hired. And if you're going to offer a reward, it doesn't have to break the bank. Buy coffee for great lead and spring for dinner if you get the job.
Finally, keep a job journal. The power of the pen is the best way to keep track of your daily progress, as well as all of your leads. It also allows you to reflect on all that you're doing. Find one small thing to celebrate every day; it's lots of teeny victories that will lead to the big one.