15 Ways to Use Humor to Land a Job

Nov 08, 2013 - Joe Matar

When it comes to landing a job, you need to nail three components: a deep professional network, a tip-top resume and strong interview skills. Unfortunately, no matter what your dream job is, you're not the only one competing for it. Tens, hundreds or possibly thousands of other candidates are also hoping to soon be sitting in that same cubicle.

How do you stand out among the crowd to be the one hired? Find a way to add a dash of humor. Easier said than done, right? Try these off-the-wall tips to get noticed and get your foot in the door:

Step one: Work the networking room stage

Networking is a vital step in the job search. It’s how you make a human connection with people who have hiring power or can recommend you to people who might hire you. Here’s how to use humor to be remembered long after the event.

1. Present a unique business card

Include your picture or an inspirational quote. Or try to find a creative way to match your business card design with the industry in which you’re seeking a job. Check out these unique business cards for inspiration.

2. Create an interesting job title

There are millions of accountants out there. But you can be remembered as the only Numbers Ninja in the room. (Click here to Tweet this thought.) Let your personality prevail and try a witty job title.

3. Ask thought-provoking questions

After the obligatory “What do you do?” and “What do you like about your job?”, turn to more memorable questions that will keep the conversation interesting for both of you. My favorite: “What’s something you’ve done that you think no one else in this room has done?”

4. Give yourself a personal challenge

There’s no doubt that networking can be scary. So challenge yourself to accomplish something before you allow yourself to leave. Don’t leave a networking event before reaching a goal you’ve set for yourself, like talking to five new people or collecting a certain number of business cards.

5. Play an improv game

Bored by the conversations at the event? Play an improv game like First Letter Last Letter to force yourself to concentrate on the other person more. The first letter of the first word you say has to start with the last letter of the last word they just said.

Step two: Make your 30 seconds of resume air time count

Your resume is your sales letter to get that interview, yet it will only be looked at for 30 seconds — or less. Here’s how to use humor to make sure those 30 seconds help you stand out.

1. Start with epic inspiration

Before you polish your resume, get inspired. Listen to music to motivate you to create the most epic resume possible.

2. Add special skills

Your past skills and education are important pieces of your resume, but you can also shake things up a bit by adding social skills as well. Find a way to work your sense of humor into your special skills section.

3. Design the resume

Incorporate aesthetically pleasing design elements like icons or the use of color to highlight (but not overshadow) your skills and expertise. Or, you could create an infographic resume.

4. Embed a message

To really demonstrate your creativity, use the first letter of each section to hide a message such as “HIRE ME.”

5. Add personal experience

Include a personal accomplishment at the bottom of your resume. Have you run a marathon? Successfully raised kids? Drank three milkshakes in the same day?

Step three: Crack up the tough interview crowd

One of the final steps to landing a job is the interview. It’s your time to show the hiring manager (or HR person) why you’re the person — and personality — for the job. Here’s how to use humor to show you’re someone they want to work with.

1. Talk to your hype man / woman

Before your interview, spend time with a friend or family member who hypes you up about how awesome you are. They’ll amp you up and give you the momentum you need to be your best self during the interview.

2. Be a superhero

Your body language can work wonders for how people view you — and for how you view yourself. Hold a power pose before interviewing to boost your confidence.

3. Respond from personal experience

In addition to giving examples from your work life, sprinkle in stories of overcoming challenges or facing adversity from your personal life.

4. Ask culture questions

Determine if the company is a place where you actually want to work. Ask when the last time was that your interviewer laughed at work to gauge how much fun they have around the office.

5. Follow up with humor

When following up post-interview, include a link to something funny that reminds you of the person or the company. Just make sure it’s positive humor and not too edgy, which could be taken the wrong way.

Stand out among the crowd, have some fun in your search and use humor to land a job you love.

Andrew Tarvin is a humor engineer teaching individuals and organizations how to be more effective using humor in the workplace. He is also the author of the bestselling book Humor That Works: 501 Ways to Use Humor to Beat Stress, Increase Productivity, and Have Fun at Work.