How creative can you be in job search?


Photo by StephEvaPhoto

I’m all for creativity! In fact, I encourage it. I advise my clients to use creativity in figuring out their stories for the resume to move the resume from boring to power-packed. But in a job search, measure your market before you use over-the-top creative strategies.

In my last post about those power-packed resumes, Bendos shared his successful story of using unique strategies in the comments:

I applied for a marketing role with an airline, so I created a resume that was a single page (printed both sides) that had to be folded into a paper airplane to be read properly.

At the end of the interview I had the recruitment folk folding planes on the boardroom table and throwing them around laughing.

Probably wouldn’t work for any old airline, but it certainly got Mr Branson’s team’s attention.

And, yes, I got the job.

And I applaud his effort. He is in the marketing field which is looking for creativity. But he also admits you have to study your audience and try this only when you have the right audience.

Creative Job Search?

In the time that I have been in the career field, I have heard of many creative stunts pulled by job seekers to get a job. The problem is that many people don’t study the audience and they use a stunt when careful preparation and research for the interview would have provided a better opportunity to win the job.

With my company name as Design Resumes, my Google alerts pull blogs that talk about the right “design” for a resume and even that can be considered a stunt. While my own resumes are far from boring, they don’t cross the line to bizarre.

Here’s a take from a Monster post:

Less than half of the executives surveyed — 46 percent in advertising and 34 percent in marketing — said they might consider an applicant with a gimmicky resume, and only 2 percent of marketing execs and 8 percent of ad execs said gimmicks would help a candidate get hired. In other fields, where creativity is a less-critical job skill, a candidate who sends a shoe “to get a foot in the door” will probably be dismissed as unprofessional, recruiters say.

What do you think? Should you take the risk with a stunt?


  1. Ed Han on March 15, 2011 at 8:56 am

    I’ve heard of the shoe thing, but the paper airplane idea is amazing–and that it worked well is a tribute I think to how Virgin’s marketing people think. They’ve also done a great job of communicating this element of their brand, I think.

    There’s always such a need for cooler heads to examine these things, so I’m glad you’re talking about it, Julie!

    • Julie Walraven on March 15, 2011 at 3:34 pm

      Yes, you will find a creative team who could identify and value those kinds of strategies but according to the very quick research I did for this post, those people are few and far between. If you spent as much time trying to build relationships with key people in the industry or even in the company, you might find the success rate much better. Thanks for stopping by, Ed.

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Julie Walraven, Design Resumes

Julie Walraven

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