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3 Bizarre Resume Gimmicks (That Didn’t Work)


Adam Pacitti, a recent graduate of the University of Winchester in England, sent out 250 resumes and got only two replies — both rejections. So he summoned up his chutzpah and his last £500 and rented a billboard. A few days later, he was besieged with job offers. But before you go looking for ad space, consider: Pacitti’s story is more of an exception to the rule than a new guideline for job seekers.


(Photo Credit: Adam Pacitti via The Wall Street Journal)

“I’m sort of immune to this stuff,” Etsy’s senior recruiting manager Bobby Gormsen tells The Wall Street Journal. 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.”

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In other words, sending Etsy a sampler with your CV on it won’t help, unless you have the right experience or programming skills for the job.

Still, in a time when each job posting gets hundreds of replies, many people are willing to take a chance. Some of the less successful gimmicks include:

1. Sending a Hershey bar with skills where the nutritional info would be. (“We all thought the Hershey bar was really cute, but no one said, ‘Oh, the Hershey bar, we need to hire him,'” the recruiter tells WSJ.)

2. A resume attached to a stuffed carrier pigeon, which “delivered” the CV.

3. A CV enclosed in a glass bottle. (Like a ship in a bottle? A message in a bottle? That’s one we’d like to see a picture of, if only to puzzle over how the candidate managed to create it.)

The bottom line is that gimmicks are great attention-getters, but recruiters are primarily interested in skills, experience, and fit. All the creativity in the world won’t make up for the lack of those things.

Tell Us What You Think

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever done to get the attention of a hiring manager? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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