Man fails to sell himself on eBay - for 99p


auction listing

Steve Sewell, a 58-year-old unemployed mechanic from Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, tried to sell himself on eBay, with a starting price of 99p. But despite listing his qualifications and experience, he didn't get a single bid by the time the auction closed yesterday afternoon.

Undeterred, Sewell has re-listed himself. So could this be the new answer to job hunting?

The listing

Sewell has listed himself as an 'operator'. He lists his qualifications including an Net Tech with ITQ2 and an HND in Electrical and Electronic Engineering: he also lists his experience as a mechanic.

He adds that he also has: "excellent interpersonal skills, infinite patience and an indestructible sense of humour. You get all this, including reliability, experience and loyalty for a reasonable wage for as many hours as needed. Contact me via eBay. Grab this bargain before someone else does!"

Although under Seller Notes he has commented "Some wear to moving parts, surface finish worn".

He's clearly both keen and creative, it remains to be seen whether this will be enough to secure him a job.

So should you follow his example?

On the one hand it demonstrates to potential employers that you're willing to go out on a limb to secure a job, and that you are creative and resourceful.

This unusual job hunting technique has been used before, with mixed success. Back in 2006 John Davis, a newly graduated rocket scientist from San Diego, was one of the first to have tried this approach, although there are no records of him having received any bids before his auction closed.

At the beginning of 2011, salesman David Wood sold himself as a 'super sales package', for £35,000 a year He worded the advert as a product to get around the eBay rules which state you cannot sell yourself. He said this product: 'Has been developed over 25 years', 'has received good reviews and is stable and well tested."

In February last year Ross Laing, a 24-year-old marketing graduate from Edinburgh, auctioned off an interview with himself. He said he hoped to generate some interest, after applying for 150 jobs. He received three bids, although it's not known whether he got the job he wanted.

The downside is that this approach is becoming more common now. Just advertising yourself for work on eBay is unlikely to have journalists beating a path to your door to publicise your crazy stunt. If you're going to garner publicity, your listing would have to be particularly clever, funny or creative.

Or like Sewell, you may get publicity if you fail to attract any interest in your auction. The question is whether you think this sort of publicity is the tonic your career needs.

As we went to press, four hours after Sewell's re-listing, he had attracted no bids.