employ Adam

Why I wouldn’t employ Adam!

I’m sure most of you are aware of the story about Adam, an unemployed graduate who has blown his last £500 on a billboard ad with a huge picture of himself and a link to his website  The Telegraph reports that, “The 24-year-old from the Isle of Wight is yet to be offered his much sought-after first job in television production.”


Now don’t get me wrong – I am all for innovation and enterprise – and I really do hope he gets the job that he wants but….


His on-line CV says nothing about what value he can add, and what his previous experience has taught him about the industry he is interested in – it’s a wasted opportunity. He says he has sent over 200 CVs but that it is difficult to get across his talent on paper. So why not have a blog with examples of his work and send that instead?  Where is his LinkedIn profile? Why isn’t he linking in with media production professionals? Why isn’t he joining relevant LinkedIn groups and engaging with industry professionals?


My previous post – Can today’s graduates really be bothered – highlights some of the frustrations I have found in the past with this sense of entitlement that seems to go hand in hand with today’s youth.


Adam says he is desperate – hmm – I don’t think desperate people have £500 to burn! He has sent out a bunch of CVs and had no luck. Well hey – welcome to the real world and try thinking about how you can better engage with employers rather than expecting them to  come and find you!


Yeah yeah I know – grumpy old woman strikes again!


By Tracey Barrett – read more posts from Tracey


Do you agree? What’s your opinion? Would you employ Adam? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


37 thoughts on “Why I wouldn’t employ Adam!”

  1. I guess it’s partly the fault of advice gurus who are forever telling people that they need to do something different in order to get noticed. These stories tend to get an airing from time to time and are generally from young, desperate candidates who have read somewhere that donning a Batman suit, making a silly video or paying for a billboard is the way to go. The trouble is, all of these actions, whilst novel (though less and less the more others do similarly whacky stuff) ignore the basics as you mention above. It’s not enough simply to be seen to be different. Indeed, being seen as different can sometimes be a bad thing, as perhaps it is here due to any lack of substance under the self-seeking publicity veneer.

    1. Thanks Alisdair – I really do hope he gets a job but as you say – its about the basics – LI makes it much easier to build a targeted list of people to try to engage with.

  2. There’s a page on the website (which only has five pages) called ‘WATCH’, where you can watch my documentaries in their entirety and learn about my work. It’s very easy to miss if you only look at the bottom half of your browser, though. Maybe that happened.

    1. Hi Adam – and thanks for commenting. I truly do wish you well in your search for a suitable job but your comment really compounds my argument. Why should an employer have to navigate your website to find out about you? Why not push out relevant work experience through LinkedIn statuses and through relevant LinkedIn groups? In a competitive market you have to make it easy for people to find out what it is that really makes you stand out.

      1. Maybe he already exhausted all other avenues including the ones you’ve mentioned and got nothing in return. I feel you’re quite shortsighted in your opinions of his method.

  3. I think it’s clever. It works, subscribing to the ‘Go-Compare’ school of messaging and advertising. It’s deeply, deeply irritating, loathsome even; one’s face on an advertising hoarding has to be about as aggrandising and as blunt an instrument as one might imagine, backed-up by a similarly memorable personal style. But isn’t that the point?

    ‘What makes [Adam] really stand out…’ is that he had the stones to do it; we’re talking about him, aren’t we? It’s a matter of time until one of those conversations converts…

    1. Thanks for the comment Stefan – but I don’t agree that its the point. Who would you rather employ – someone who has done their homework on the organisations they want to work for – researched them on linkedin, joined industry groups, engaged in discussion – or someone who slaps their face on a billboard and expects employers to come and find out about him? Yes we are talking about him – but is it for the right reasons?

  4. As someone who’s spent over 25 years creating recruitment communications, my main concern was that Adam had wasted his money on an ad that told potential employers nothing about him, except that he’s desperate and has £500 to burn.

    So it gives those potential employers no good reason to even go to his website in the first place. And it greatly reduces his chances of getting his ideal job, as it doesn’t mention anywhere what that might be. The fact that it’s difficult to find out more about him once you get to the website just compounds the problem.

  5. The only part I disagree with is that not all young people have a “sense of entitlement”. I worked hard for my degree and made sure I held a part time job throughout, working as a trainee for the profession I wanted to be in. Once graduated. I was offered a job within 2 days of graduating from my course.

    I wish Adam every success, but I feel the method he chose was lazy and not even completed to a high standard. Sending out over 200 CVs is just what it takes in today’s market, and if there has been no success, perhaps it is time to review the content of what you are sending.

    1. Hi Rob and thanks for your comment. Of course you are right – my comment was a generalisation and you obviously don’t fall into that category. You are also a great example of someone who realises the importance of employability skills and how to highlight them – good on you and the best of luck with the rest of your career

  6. I think he’s done something relatively original and definitely achieved his key objective (which may not actually of been to get a job) but to get some main stream PR.

    Need to bear in mind the industry he is hoping to get into, the Media. The media is all about getting attention, good and bad, once again objective achieved. No doubt there will be some in the media who smile at his efforts and will be keen to talk with him.

    Lets also bear in mind, it is tough out there right now. I have 100 graduate CV’s come across my desk a month, I currently have 2-3 vacancies. All of these 100 applications are ridiculously similar. Words on paper all stating the same information… the fact I can see, hear and immediately understand this candidate is much more powerful than reading his post in a Linkedin Group or on a CV.

    Either way, whether you like it or not. He’s being creative, trying something different. If it wasn’t for people like Adam, the world wouldn’t be the advanced, creative, vibrant place it is and we wouldn’t have the wheel or the internet. Should at the least be praised for this efforts. We’re quick to kick the young and unemployed…

    No its not text book or perfect. But what would be nice to see, is constructive criticism to help him further, not knocking him down. At the end of the day he’s only 24 so perhaps rather than being grumpy (as the OP states), we should be encouraging and guiding.

    1. Well….he was pretty clear in telling everyone that his objective was to get a job. And I agree – it is tough out there – we took on four grads last year and competition was rife. I agree constructive criticism is what is needed – which is why I suggested that he look at having a LinkedIn presence where he would be able to at least research the right professionals within his industry.

  7. Thank you so much!!

    Absolutely amazing article, and cuts through the crap of all the praise Adam has got for his stunt, which has frankly made him a laughing stock in the TV industry (reason: there is no such role as a junior producer).

    He has done a great marketing campaign, but sadly it has only highlighted his lack of experience, his lack of industry knowledge and proven him to be lazy and incapable.

    1. Thanks for the comment Chris – it’s a shame that this is the case though isn’t it? I wish him no ill but I do wish more people would realise that getting a job isn’t just about getting a job that is your heart’s desire – it;ls about getting a job – any job that can show an employer you a e willing to graft and get experience.

  8. What’s the obsession with LinkedIn? There are thousands of potential employers reading the Guardian article, and then your blog. Not every employer shares the obsession with social media.

    I suspect this blog is a careful way of getting free PR for your firm (hey – it worked). I wonder if anyone will write a meta-blog entitled ‘Why I will (or won’t) hire Blue Sky PR’.

    Best wishes,

    1. Lol – thanks for the comment! It’s not an obsession – but its is a strategic way of building targeted connections – and to ignore it is IMHO missing a trick!

  9. Very well said Tracey, Instead of whining on a billboard i think he could have done better on his CV at least and tell the interviewee what he will add to company after joining… and I don’t think at all that he will not find a job…

  10. I think fair play to him doing something to get himself noticed in a competitive industry. I would also say that being on LinkedIn isn’t the be all to getting a job. Adam website when viral on Twitter,other social networks and you blogged which I imagine was the desired affect. Although I don’t know if I would have spent £500 on an advert when you look at the website you can see he had some good skills.

    1. Thanks Amanda – agree that LI is not the be all and end all but I think if he is that desperate to find a job it should have at least been in the mix

  11. If it was that easy, im sure all unemployed university graduates will be doing the same. Its not what you know…. but who… In case you havent noticed, everyone works well in a team, as an individual and CVs are extensions of the job description mirroring every desired quality and are therefore indistinguishable from the next. If everybody was on LinkedIn, you would have the same result.

    As an unemployed graduate, i empathise with Adam, he is just as committed to finding his place in society as the rest of us are.

    If getting a graduate level job was easy, we wouldnt be having this discussion. The “happily” employed can merely speculate on Adams circumstances but the truth of the matter is, why are there so many unemployed graduates and why is so little being done to integrate them into society.

    1. I think my comments on linkedin have been misunderstood – my point is that it can be used as a great research tool to find – and engage – with the industry professionals who might just be impressed with a direct approach – and with an involvement in industry discussion groups. Why are there so many unemployed graduates? In my view because the government has a foolish and misguided notion that all young people should go to university. The trade apprenticeships of yesteryear are no more – just one reason why you can never find a plumber or electrician when you need one! My brother left school at 16 – did a trade apprenticeship and now runs his own business employing people – I went to university – and now run my own business employing people. My point? University is not a silver bullet – my brother and I both got to the same point – we just arrived there by different routes – and the routes that suited us.

  12. I note your comments Tracey, I agree Adam has not filled some more of the boxes that are expected to be filled and also that could easily be deemed as a little foolish. My impression of him is one of a lad with a great aptitude to push beyond the norm in thinking for a lad of his age. I hope for him that he can continue to flare in the right direction with his skills and that he gets a serious opportunity to do so . We do live in a changing world with ever changing protocols, perhaps he is the one who has got it right and our opinions are yesterday….

    1. perhaps you are right – my feeling is that we just send too many people to university ( see my reply to Josh)

  13. Good piece Tracey – and a worthy argument and observations – however largely I disagree.
    Adam is a sparky graduate, who has received oodles of press coverage for this – with appearances on BBC, Sky, and newspaper press. Outstanding PR and as `stunts` go, absolutely nailed it. Clearly.

    What is clear from the content of Adam’s stunt – is that he is quirky, and off-ball. He’s not a run-of-the-mill LinkedIn group networker, his stance is to try and be a game-changer. This isn’t lazy, as someone commented – this is imaginative and incredibly brave. We also have to remember the direction of his planned career – where imagination and creativity are applauded.

    He’s a grad. Yes I agree – there are too many, and yes 200 CVs out with nothing is normal for Grads – but that is not Adam’s fault and he has come out and expressed himself in another manner. Good on him.

    Would I employ him if I was in his industry? – I don’t know enough yet to say yes – but I would have him in my office NOW to find out if there is substance behind the bravado. Given his profile, it could be the greatest hire a company could make.

    Let’s give the lad his dues for bothering to try hard, and do something different. He could be sitting in a call centre with all the other disheartened grads who couldn’t get the breaks.

    1. Hi Steve – and thanks for the comment. You are absolutely right in terms of the amount of press coverage (perhaps he should be in PR;) but… my point really was that having done all that, his video on his website was just ( imho) a bit underwhelming in terms of selling himself as a must have hire….. perhaps its my age;)

  14. #1. Quit moaning about age.. as a worldwide (or Global) people we should get over this! Now to the serious part…. “experience”.

    I feel “experience” is something that people say to be lazy and in other words they are saying “this can’t be taught/I cant be bothered to teach it to you”.

    Ok forget that today’s graduates (2000’s onwards) have literally been flung through an education system that has been raped again and again by “experienced” politicians. Forget the whole learning at work 70/20/10 principal and forget that this guy Adam is from a remote island that some people still arent sure of it’s exact whereabouts!

    Anyone who says anything about “experience” I immediately lose respect for. However what is worse is that in this instance, instead of perhaps contacting Adam to offer some kind of pro bono advice or apprenticeship (cough), it look’s like the “experienced person” band wagon is moving again. Couple of things to ponder:

    1. What can you do today to help an “inexperienced” but bright person find a job in the industry they want to join and that you are a part of?

    2. Could Adam be your “Diamond in the Rough”?

    I’m not Adam and neither do I know him, but I remember trying to join the legal industry when I graduated and if I knew then what I do now over 6 years later… well let’s just say i’d have more respect for the “experienced” person.

  15. Excellent article Tracey and I agree entirely with your opinion on Adam’s CV. It’s a shocker, to be quite honest. A quick search around the internet provides you with considerable information about how to write a professional CV.

    Adam’s, I’m afraid, is quite the opposite. It’s difficult to find a theme, there is no personal profile, and irrelevant information is included (does an employer really want to know that Adam is an occasional wrestler or that he listens to music (don’t we all listen to music?!)).

    The key skills section is the most flawed area. It’s completely subjective and doesn’t draw upon any examples of why he is “excellent” at MS Word but why he is only “fair” at Autodesk Maya. In the context of a CV, what do those words actually mean? Further, on what scale or rank is Adam selecting these words.

    Key skills must relate to both past experience and future intentions. Select 4 skills that are relevant to the position you are applying for, and evidence demonstrable information that you have developed that skill in the past, be it at school, University, or in work experience.

    Work experience. I noticed Adam “trained new employees” at Woolworths. Trained them to do what? Again, this could be incorporated into the key skills section.

    I write this comment with experience, I’m a teacher of functional skills which includes employability. I see CVs time and time again and common flaws are the lack of personality as well as the lack of core examples of key skills. I got my job (I’m not much older than Adam) by networking and through writing individual cover letters, or by going beyond what was required of me in the application process.

    I do have one quibble with your argument Tracey, and that is your tendency to refer to age. Age is a false point here. Age doesn’t always equal experience, and vice versa.

    I enjoyed reading your thoughts Tracey.

  16. Hi Tracey Barrett, now there are number of reason why he should get hired. He use the way no one use before to get job, shows out of the box thinking and also required lots of guts to do so, beside that he has Confidence, sense of humor and presentation skill. He also have educational qualification.
    Now you are suggesting he should have used “LinkedIn” but you are suggesting him to use the new way of find job while at the same time you are criticizing his way to find the job.

  17. I think you´re wrong, yes, maybe there could be better people for the job, and he didn´t put a lot of information on his billboard aside from the webpage, and you say it doesn´t give the employers a reason to go to the webpage, but what you´re not seeing is that he took a risk, saying he used up the last of his money to me it makes him seem like someone ready to take a chance, and to be creative and stand up for his choices.
    In this competitive market the best people for the job are NOT always the ones who get the job, but the ones that are creative in ways to get the job other than the normal LI way… besides people can re-position their worth in different ways, if you´re not the smartest, be the most social, or the most creative, or take risks, i think it´s just bad that you criticize him like that for thinking of a ¨short road¨, taking a risk, and ultimately what i am saying is backed up by the fact that he in fact DID get a job… in contrast with a thousand others with maby the same or even more qualifications that him that are still looking for a job
    i see that person as a smart man

  18. The first half of what you wrote is true. I am lucky to be a young analyst in my company, and was only able to get the position after looking into the internal network my job provided, communicating and developing a relationship with the hiring manager, highlighting my interest and advertising my capabilities. I was lucky to only have had to send one application, which brought me to my position today.

    The bottom half of your article is terribly uninsightful though, perhaps even out of touch. If you look up Adam’s story, he was working in an arcade. This hardly seems like a position to properly network with professionals in his field. He was trying to get his foot in the door, sending hundreds of CV’s in the process, but no one would hire him. I know professionals that spent months, almost a year unemployed, with decades of experience and lots of networking partners delivering their CV’s straight to the hiring manager. It still took some of them over a year to find new jobs. Adam does not stand a chance in this position.

    I understand this is your blog, so you truly can rant as you please, but the statement of overbearing youth entitlement as an answer to an entire generation’s lack of capacity to find jobs that will give them even average capacities such as decent pay, networking opportunities, benefits, and dignity is short-sighted to the point of embarrassment.

    Despite you highlighting his errors, Adam got the job he wanted, and it turns out that despite being an “entitled youth” he turned a 500 GBP advertisement into super bowl levels of exposure that being traditional could never acquire.

    You mention that employers should not have to look up his content on his website to know what they’re getting, except you’re forgetting something fundamental. Even with the perfect CV, it can still be missed with a direct application, because at the end of the day every person I know who has a somewhat decent job is one that they needed the employer to want to know about them from a direct inside reference. Adam found a way to deliver his CV to an interested employer without having to spend months networking and even longer just submitting resumes. When an employer can see the potential Adam has with his knowledge of social networks to turn something viral, something not inherent simply by reading his billboard, that newfound exposure will follow him and that becomes valuable.

    For your sake, I hope you have evolved from this position since you posted this several years ago, or at least really consider how shallow the statements in your bottom half really are.

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