Job Seekers Getting More Creative With Resumes

By Staff
June 30, 2009

Job candidates are doing whatever they can to grab a potential employer's attention, such as by including photos, presents and cakes with their resumes.

"The search for employment is taking longer, and it is more competitive than it has been in past years," said Jason Ferrara, senior career adviser for, who was quoted in Illinois' Belleville News-Democrat [from an article originally located at]. "To compensate, some candidates have turned to extreme tactics."

According to a survey of 2,543 human resource professionals conducted by CareerBuilder, 18 percent of hiring managers are seeing more job seekers using unique tactics to secure interviews--up from 12 percent last year. Included among the unusual resumes, for example, was one folded into an origami bird and enclosed in a red Chinese take-out box.

"This was obviously a very creative individual," said Sam Porcelli, a human resources assistant at Hoveround, a Florida manufacturer of power chairs. The resume, which was submitted for an art director position, "made a great impression on us. While he didn't get the job, because we interviewed someone earlier that day we fell in love with, we will not forget this guy. The impression was significant."

In response to the job search, the company also received a framed example of artwork a job candidate had created for a corporate client, with her resume attached to the back of the frame.

"If you're going to differentiate yourself, you almost have to see more people who do things like that," said Porcelli. "Frankly, it indicates a level of creativity and awareness that you know by far puts them ahead of the pack. They'll at least get seen."

Cheri Butler, the associate director of career services at the University of Texas at Arlington, agreed that creativity can go a long way towards securing a job. In an exclusive interview with, Butler told of an alumna in public relations who bought a pair of gold sneakers and inserted her resume in the box. Then she included a cover letter explaining that she was "just trying to get my foot in the door."

"In fact, the company had already made an offer to someone else before she mailed her resume," said Butler, "but they brought her in because they were so impressed with her technique. They told her that if there is ever anything open in the future, or the other candidate didn't turn out, they will call her. She did a similar mailing again for another company and she got another interview."

Nevertheless, Butler noted that such a technique might be appropriate for a job in public relations, but not necessarily for a job in accounting.

John Challenger, CEO of the Chicago-based outplacement firm of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, agreed that it's important be cautious while being creative. "Don't do something that they would find obnoxious, that would cause them to be mad or upset," he told the Chicago Sun-Times. "But if it's something that shows you're persistent, that's not harmful."

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