The Irish graduate who spent nearly $2,800 on a PR stunt, to highlight his 10-month search for work, has received endless calls, tweets and Facebook posts from well wishers and tips on job opportunities.
The 26-year-old, Felim Mac an Iomaire paid to have a bill board saying “SAVE ME FROM EMIGRATION” posted on a busy road in Dublin. The commerce and marketing graduate of National University of Ireland, Galway, has already had his first interview for a job. He has appeared on Irish TV and top radio stations, as well as the BBC. So far he has also received over 100 requests for his credentials from interested parties.
Having searched from a job for 10 months, in a country with almost 15 percent unemployment, Felim took matters into his own hands and launched a novel social media-driven campaign that has gained him international press. He has re-branded himself as the “Jobless Paddy” and has given himself a priceless global spotlight for his skills in marketing and as a deal-maker.
Speaking to the Associated Press he said “I couldn’t have imagined the effect my campaign has had. I expected to get maybe 10 offers and, hopefully, someone would really want me. But I’m just overwhelmed now.”
In August 2010 Felim returned home from Australia. He had spent a year working as a travel agent and event coordinator in a Sydney hostel. With a few thousand dollars set aside he started the hunt for a job in Ireland. Having applied for 100 jobs in the last year Felim only had two interviews.
By the end of 2011, at least, another 50,000 people, mostly in their twenties, will have emigrated. Felim does not want to be one of those statistics. Felim was inspired to show case his marketing skills.
He said “I felt I needed to use a billboard to get my cause out there. Then I wanted to drive interest through the power of social media, so I was quick to set up Twitter and Facebook pages, and got tweeting my friends and posting right away.”
In April he purchased some stock images from Indonesia, persuaded freelance graphic designers and photographers to give his low rates and negotiated a bargain deal with an ad agency for the billboard. The actual billboard shows Felim with a suitcase, his back to the camera, looking out to see at the iconic images of the Statue of Liberty, British Houses of Parliament, Sydney Opera House and Toronto’s CN Tower.
His billboard has certainly caught the public eye and their imagination. A passing accountant David Daly, 39, said “That’s a work of genius. Exactly the kind of brains we need to keep in Ireland. There’s an army of out-of-work Paddies, but only one Jobless Paddy.”
Maire Quinn, a 32-year-old Dubliner, said “It’s so professional, it makes you want to find out who’s behind it…And then when you hear his back story, it just screams out for him to get hired somewhere quick. He’s got guts.”
Felim admits that the campaign was calculated to appeal to Ireland’s hurt pride. He included the hurley in the poster as a symbol of nationalism and also because he has played the sport since he was 12-years-old.
His Facebook manifesto reads “I do not adhere to the almost universal consensus that any young unemployed person must leave the country to have any hope of prospering. Experience overseas has led me to a greater appreciation of our country, culture, and way of life. I would like to stay and be part of this country’s recovery, so please spread the word.”
Within two days he had more than 5,600 Facebook followers. His Twitter feed though less popular allowed him to chat directly with potential employers.
The gutsy ‘Jobless Paddy’ has been amazed by the responses he has received. He has even had messages of support from Rio de Janeiro. He admitted that if an offer he could not refuse came along he could be convinced to emigrate.
However he added “I just love this country. Being away for a year in Australia really brought home to me how special Ireland is, what a massive village it is. This is my home. If I had to leave again, it would be with a heavy heart.”
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