How Creative Would You Get to Land a Job Interview?
It’s amazing the lengths people will go to in order to be noticed by a prospective employer. To be invited for an interview, people have done things like sending a lottery ticket, doing a back flip into the room, and sending chocolate (or writing a resume on a bar of chocolate!).
My first thought upon reading about these stunts was that I’d never have the nerve to do such things. Then I recalled a time, way back, when I was eager for a job as customer service manager at a software company. The job posting said that the candidate should have, among other things, “the hide of a rhinoceros and the patience of a saint.” I bought a strip of fake leather at a craft store, cut out a small piece, and attached it to my cover letter, which opened with “Attached is a piece of my hide.” I figured that since the posting reflected a sense of humor, I could take a risk in responding in kind.
Still, you have to be careful with your creativity when seeking an interview, because what works with one potential employer might not work with another. Certainly, it’s helpful to think outside the box, but maybe not too far outside.
For example, while some of these resume designs are genuinely creative and employers in arts- or graphics-oriented areas might be impressed, law firms and IT departments may not want to go through the effort of reading an unconventional format.
On the other hand, a tailored proposal that shows you’ve researched the company and have ideas for addressing problems may demonstrate your attention to detail and willingness to go to bat for the company. As this article states, “Wherever your expertise lies, wow them with a specific idea that you could bring to their organization.”
This approach is likely to take you a lot further than sending a shoe with your resume (getting a foot in the door—get it?) or sending a magic wand with a note offering to do magic for the company. Ideas like these are gimmicky. Besides, most managers have seen them before, and any amusement value they may have once had is long gone.
I don’t know if attaching a simulated “hide of a rhinoceros” to my cover letter would work today in getting an interview. In any case, back then, it did work. I got the interview, and it went well. I was led to believe I was being seriously considered … and I got to demonstrate my “patience of a saint” as I waited to find out if I got the job. It turned out they decided to promote someone internal instead. Maybe if I had done a back flip!