A resume taped to a pillow sent to an accommodations business, another stuck in a shoe with a note asking to “get a foot in the door,” another delivered via a stuffed carrier pigeon, and yet another formatted to be the ingredients on a chocolate bar wrapper.
According to the Wall Street Journal, these resume gimmicks grabbed the attention of employers, but did they work?
Companies received more than 380 applications for every opening posted in 2013, according to CEB, formerly known as the Corporate Executive Board. Many of these are sent through automated tracking systems that rank applications based on keywords and quick scans.
For many employers, the creative resume tactic is getting old. Many applicants don’t tailor their ideas to the company (such as the chocolate bar wrapper), and others don’t follow their applications with professionalism during the interview process. And some companies, including online craft marketplace Etsy, have seen it all, WSJ reports.
Etsy’s senior recruiting manager Bobby Gormsen says applicants have sent an embroidered cover letter, a potholder resume, a paper-garland resume, and an application that bobbed in a corked bottle.
“I’m sort of immune to this stuff,” he says. The candidates “get points for creativity, but it only tells one side of the story. We have a set of hard skills an applicant has to meet,” including experience and software knowledge.
In addition, Alison Green, who writes the Ask a Manager blog, offered a few “don’ts” when it comes to creating and delivering resumes:
“Don’t drop off your resume in person. Sure, everyone has heard a story about someone who went by to drop off their resume in person and got interviewed and hired on the spot. But most employers will find it annoying and indicative that you don’t understand modern hiring conventions. After all, most companies include specific instructions about how they want you to apply, and ‘in person’ iis rarely included. Plus, many companies only accept resumes electronically because they get put into an electronic screening system. (Retail and food service tend to be the exceptions to this rule.)”
This includes overnighting your application, Green says. It looks overbearing and aggressive. Similarly, it’s unprofessional to include your photo, she posts on U.S. News.
“Although photos often accompany resumes in other countries, in the United States it’s considered naive and even gauche to include a photo with your application. Not only does a photo come across as inappropriate, but it will make many employers uncomfortable, because it opens the door for allegations of discrimination.”
But sometimes the gimmicks can work, points out this Business Insider post that details several outlandish resume tricks that helped. One applicant created a LEGO model of the company’s mascot to hold her resume. If you understand the company’s brand and culture, it just might work — but plan wisely.
Read more about job hunting gimmicks now.