Would you hire this guy? STL job seeker hits the streets

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by Diana Zoga / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on October 3, 2012 at 7:28 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 4 at 5:33 AM

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Pacing in front of a downtown high-rise, Colin Dowling hopes to get a little attention.  He's wearing a sandwich board, bearing an oversized printout of his resume.  Along the top of the board, in handwritten red letters, are the words, "Laid off.  Need a job".

"I think this is kind of out there, but certain people are going to find the value in me doing this," explained Dowling.

Dowling, 27, says he lost his job two weeks ago and decided to do something drastic.  He's walking the 600 block of Olive Street from 8:20 am until 5:30 pm on Wednesday, wearing the sandwich board and smiling at strangers. 

You've likely heard of similar stunts.  In 2008, a laid-off executive named Paul Nawrocki famously took to New York City streets to hand out his resume.  Others have followed with billboard ads and websites - all in hopes of cutting through the competition.

But on Wednesday, Dowling took a truly strategic approach.  He wants to work for a small startup, so he set up shop directly in front of the Railway Exchange building, home to the T-REx (Technology at the Railway Exchange) incubator.  T-REx is a program that cultivates regional startups.

"I'm open to anything, really.  Something that's exciting, good culture, and good people," said Dowling.

"I'm looking for something strategy based.  I've done a lot of analytical work and industry research."

Dowling says most of the reaction from passers-by has been positive.  The only criticism he's received is over his wardrobe. 

Dowling is decked out in shorts, mirrored sunglasses, and a St. Louis Cardinals baseball cap.  When I asked about his outfit, Dowling says he's not looking for a suit and tie kind of job (although he's quick to add he does own suits and has been known to wear them).

Dowling is finishing up his MBA.  He plans to graduate from Washington University's Olin Business School this December (a call to Wash U confirms Dowling is enrolled in part time, evening classes).  Dowling says he's worked on that degree while working a full time job for the last few years.

Those credentials and his bravado may pay off.  As of 3 p.m., he's collected several business cards and even met with an employee at one of the startups in the Railway Exchange Building.

So, that begs the question:  will Dowling hit the streets again anytime soon?  Depends, he says, on how far his new leads take him.

"I've got a lot of business cards and a lot of following up to do."

Good luck, Colin.

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