Put yourself in the picture to get a job

Fran at Rock Solid Ground Foundation

A few months ago I met a woman I’ll call Fran at a party. When the inevitable “What do you do?’s” were exchanged, her answer boiled down to: “I’m looking for a job and worrying about it.”

The cool thing about Fran’s situation is that she knew where she wanted to work. I think identifying what you want is about 90% of the battle, so this was great news. Her dream job was to work for a non-profit organization we’ll call the Rock Solid Ground Foundation.

I told her about Take Back Your Brain!, and about a very successful ad campaign I had just completed. I suggested that the primary thing personal advertising could do to help her was move her from a place where she primarily identified as someone who was unsuccessfully looking for work to thinking of herself as someone who has a job. As I’ve said before, your unconscious mind can’t tell the difference between truth and fiction. It will believe whichever one of those messages you give it, and set about making it so.

Fran wanted to play, so we set about aggressively convincing her subconscious mind that she works for the Rock Solid Ground Foundation:

  • We drove to the headquarters and took several photos of Fran taking the freeway exit to Rock Solid, parking in the employee parking lot, and walking toward the building as if she was going to work. I showed her how to display those pictures in her Google Photos gadget, and recommended that she mix them up with photos of her dog and loved ones.
  • We downloaded the foundation logo off of their website and used it to print a business card with Fran’s name and the title of the position she wants.
  • We changed the color of her computer desktop to Rock Solid’s colors, and her screensaver to scrolling text that displayed their tagline.
  • Finally, I advised Fran to start doing work for Rock Solid immediately in whatever capacity they would have her, whether she got paid or not.

“This stuff works”

Soon after launching the ad campaign, Fran set up an interview with a vice president of the company, let it be known what (considerable) skills she has to offer, and communicated that this organization is an excellent match for the good she wants to contribute to the world.

A few weeks later I received the following message from Fran:

This is so cool. Rock Solid called me to chair (as a volunteer) a major event. They said they were overloaded and needed somebody to just do it that they didn’t have to oversee. So I jumped in and did it — it took most of my time for 2.5 weeks. Everyone was really jazzed, and there was media coverage by television. I’m still high from it. The event was a big success, and I met a bunch of higher ups at Rock Solid at the event as well as a lot of other nice people from the foundation. Pretty cool, don’t you think. This stuff works.

Fran had moved from being unhappily unemployed, to working for her ideal organization in a trusted role! Talk about getting your resume noticed!

Observe results and adjust your message

Although the results from Fran’s campaign were spectacular, there was still a significant problem – she was going to work (exactly what we had advertised), but not getting paid. Apparently we needed to explicitly spell out the financial element! I made several suggestions about how Fran could tweak her ad campaign to address the financial dimension, such as taking a picture of herself depositing a big paycheck from Rock Solid at her bank.

If you’re not getting quite the results you want in your own advertising campaigns, remember how literally your brain can interpret these kinds of messages. Observe what is actually happening and make adjustments to your ads as necessary.


Fran’s ad campaign yielded several more requests from high-level executives at the Rock Solid Ground Foundation, asking her to help with projects requiring advanced skills and a lot of responsibility. After working on a couple more of these projects she ultimately decided it would be a better fit for her to work somewhere else. However, I’m confident that fine-tuning her ad campaign while she pursued those opportunities would have eventually yielded a paid position at Rock Solid if she had wanted it. Like Fran said, this stuff works.

Other articles in the Put yourself in the picture series

  1. Put yourself in the picture
  2. Get a gorilla to hold the camera
  3. Put yourself in the picture to get a job (you are here)
  4. A great digital camera
  5. Put yourself in the picture with Photoshop
  6. Put yourself in the picture with glue

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