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Tuesday, 20 August 2013

White Hat Hacking and Using Digital Media to Land Your Next Job.

In the news today we have the story of white hat hacker Khalil Shreateh. After making many attempts to inform Facebook's security team of an exploit that allowed him to post on someone wall without being their friend, all of which fell on deaf ears, Khalil took matters into his own hands and penned a message to the big man himself, Mark Zuckerberg.

Khalil hoped that the the bug he had uncovered would earn him a small share of Facebooks vast wealth through their Bug Bounty Program, where those who find bugs are rewarded with one of these personalised black preloaded Visa cards. Instead the security team insisted that "there is no bug". To publicly and undeniably prove that the bug existed, Khalil bypassed the Facebook convention of having to be a "friend" of someone to post on their wall, and left his message directly on Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's wall for the world to see. The repercussion of this were immediate, causing Khalil's profile to be disabled in minutes and frantic emails from the security team demanding an explanation.

Although Facebook refused him his pre-paid visa, he was quickly inundated with job offers from digital security firms. So it's a happy ending for Khalil.

This is reminiscent of many offbeat stories of those acquiring employment through unconventional methods. One which springs to mind is the story of Alec Brownstein, who landed a job at a creative advertising agency by advertising himself creatively using Google Adwords. He brought the names of creative directors at top agencies all over New York so that when they inevitably googled themselves, his personalised message was at the top of the results. This message poked fun at their self-Googling and urged them to look over his portfolio. It eventually landed him just the job he had been looking for after hearing back from all but one of the creative directors he has "contacted". The whole exercise cost him just under six dollars.

There are many unconventional ways to land your dream job, but they all have one thing in common: You have to put yourself out there for the world to see, whether you do it by breaking the privacy of one of the most important CEO's of our generation, or by poking gentle fun at the vanity of your own industry's top dogs.