Although we’ve written a lot about the best resume layouts and formatting as well as how to make your resume stand out for the right reasons, it can sometimes take a bit more than a clean design and the right credentials to get noticed.
This is especially true in highly competitive industries like fashion, web design or film where innovativeness and creativity are valued above almost any other skill.
To get a better idea of what it might mean to go above and beyond when looking for a job, we’ve lined up 15 job seekers who took things a step further and showcased their creativity with some rather unconventional resumes and job applications.
As a frequent Amazon user, Philippe Dubost, a Web Product Manager from France, decided to show employers his fun side by creating a custom-made Amazon resume complete with a title, photo and product description as well as lots of five-star reviews from previous employers.
He began to include the link to the Amazon resume along with his regular one when sending out job applications and eventually sent the link to a French tech blog. From there it was posted on Hacker News and went viral.
Since then, Dubost has received thousands of responses to his Amazon resume, one of which was a job offer for the commerce platform Birchbox where he now works.
When web designer Eric Gandhi set out to land a position at Google, he knew he’d have to do something a bit different to stand out, and what better way to catch Google’s attention than a resume that looks like a Google search page?
Gandhi placed keywords like “Creative,” “Hard-working,” “Talented,” and “Excellent Designer,” alongside his name in the search bar and then laid out his experience and qualifications as the results for those search terms. Sure enough, after posting the resume on his portfolio site, Gandhi began to receive responses from all corners, including Google.
Although he ended up turning down Google’s job offer which he felt wasn’t a good fit, his fresh approach did land him a job at The Weather Channel, as well as exposure on sites like Business Insider.
Nina Mufleh, a marketer and consultant from the Middle East had unsuccessfully tried to land an interview with Airbnb numerous times before she realised it was time to apply in a less traditional way.
Instead of sending an ordinary resume, she created a website that showcased her knowledge of the travel industry, demonstrated to Airbnb executives what she could bring to the team if hired, and even presented a strategy outlining how the company could increase its presence in the Middle East.
Within hours of sharing the link on Twitter, Mufleh received responses from hiring managers at Airbnb promising to set up an interview. Although she has yet to receive a job offer, Mufleh’s website has gotten over 455,000 hits and its popularity has undoubtedly given her career a huge boost.
Graphic designer, Joe Kelso demonstrated both his creativity and design skills to prospective employers by creating a horror film-themed resume.
His resume, styled to look like a movie poster, is titled “Resume the Reckoning” and features a fun tagline along with a clear overview of his relevant work experience and education. The visually appealing resume got him several job interviews and finally a job, and Kelso admits that it even got him into interviews when his experience and skills weren’t an exact match for the job advertised.
In an interview with Business Insider, he points out that even if you don’t work in an industry like graphic design, you can make a plain resume stand out by presenting information in such a way that the reader’s attention is drawn to specific parts.
After sending out countless job applications to no avail, marketing expert Andrew Horner decided he was done chasing down employers and would make them to come to him instead. So he created a so-called ‘reverse job application.’
Horner’s web page explains his predicament and then lays out a list of demands that employers interested in hiring him must satisfy. Finally, it ends with a contact form that invites companies to make him an offer.
After sharing the page on Reddit, Horner received a total of 250 completed applications, of which 44 were legitimate job offers. After a series of interviews, he accepted a position with a promising start up company and says the most important take away from his experience is that someone will always value you for who you are.
As an online marketing manager, Simone Fortunini worked with Google Analytics on a daily basis, so he decided to create a resume that employers and hiring managers in his industry could relate to, but would also allow him to demonstrate his prowess in graphic design, HTML and online marketing.
In the Google Analytics resume, his skills and level of expertise are depicted by bar graphs of different lengths, while a world map shows where he studied. He also included links to other interesting tidbits such as a Slideshare presentation and his Pinterest boards.
Aside from landing him the job he wanted, Fortunini’s resume also earned him and his website plenty of coverage on top sites like Business Insider, Yahoo and Brazen Careerist.
A few years ago, Sabrina Saccocio a writer, director and producer from Toronto got everyone talking when she used her Facebook profile page to apply for a job with a top radio station.
Saccocio simply filled in detailed information about her education and work experience on her profile page, and then added some fun finishing touches like including recommendations in the form of wall posts and changing her relationship status to “Married (to my job).”
Although the station director wasn’t able to hire her at the time, he did recommend her and share her profile page to help connect her with other professionals in the industry.
Design student Victor Petit’s hybrid resume was the perfect mix of old and new and got him noticed by the communication agency where he applied for an internship.
His resume, sent on a simple sheet of paper, included a picture of his face with a QR code printed over his mouth. Hiring managers could then scan the QR code with their phones and hear Petit explaining why he wanted to work for them. Petit has since secured his internship and is now a fully-fledged designer with a promising career in front of him.
If the previous success stories had you worried that interactive or online resumes are the only ways to stand out, Melissa Washin’s brilliant resume sewn on fabric will change your mind.
As a designer, Washin wanted to represent her skills and also showcase her love for sewing and making things by hand, so she printed her resume on fabric. This allowed her to sew and embroider various designs and backgrounds in order to present employers something completely unique.
Sure enough, she got the first job she applied for out of college, and now has a page on her website where she explains how you can create a similar type of resume for yourself.
When freelance market researcher Craig Baute first started out, he created a flowchart resume alongside his traditional one to show prospective employers exactly what he could do for them while also demonstrating his creativity.
The flowchart started off with a series of questions such as “Do you need help marketing?” and “Do you place high value on design understanding” all of which led to the only possible answer, which was “Hire Craig Baute.”
His resume ended up being shared so many times that Apple offered him a job even though he hadn’t sent them an application.
Marketer Nick Begley knew he had to try something different to get employers’ attention after the economy collapsed and jobs were hard to come by, so he decided to sweeten the deal by printing his resume on a chocolate bar.
The mini-resume featured his name on the front and listed his skills and qualifications as nutrition facts and ingredients on the back. While Begley’s resume bar might have been slightly heavy on the buzzwords, his creativity paid off and he got two job offers as well as overnight Internet fame.
What started out as a way to find a new job ended up becoming a new career for marketer Hagan Blount. His infographic-styled resume got him 100,000 hits, a solid job offer and multiple requests from other job seekers looking to commission similar resumes.
Blount’s infographic starts off strong with a mission statement and then moves into his background, work experience, education and recommendations, as well as a fun sidebar featuring some of his major accomplishments.
Thanks to its unprecedented popularity, he now runs his own business creating infographic resumes for job seekers and has been featured in Wired, Mashable, Fast Company and the Huffington Post.
When applying for a job with the video messaging application Snapchat, business student Elski Felson decided that a regular paper resume just wouldn’t do his skills and wit justice.
Instead, he created a rather goofy video resume in the form of a series of Snapchat messages in which he highlights his research abilities by looking something up on Google, his phenomenal presentation skills by arranging some candy packages in a circle and even proclaims himself the ‘ugly selfie expert’ with a photo as proof.
Despite failing to secure him a position with Snapchat (so far), Felson’s wacky take on the traditional resume has generated a huge buzz online and has been covered by big names like Business Insider, Buzzfeed and many others.
Colm O’Conner, an illustrator and artist from Ireland, took the oft-repeated advice to “think outside the box” quite literally when he created a new resume as part of his university course work. Rather than printing the resume on a sheet of paper, O’Conner designed his resume to fit on the inside of a flat-pack cardboard box.
He stresses that his main goal was to direct employers to his website and online portfolio where they could find samples of his work. Although O’Conner didn’t get the job he was hoping for when he created his out-of-the-box-resume, it did get lots of online exposure and earned him the title of CV Superstar from London-based career site FutureRising.
Harvard Business School Graduate Jeanne Hwang was eager to work for Pinterest, so she took her resume to the next level by turning a Pinterest board into her very own digital resume.
Hwang used each pin to highlight a different point about her education, work experience at Yahoo and Accenture as well as other things she felt represented her, such as the fact that she’d completed the New York City Triathlon. When things needed a more in-depth explanation, she redirected viewers to her Tumblr blog.
As it turns out, Pinterest did get in touch with her after seeing her unique take on a resume, and although she didn’t end up working for them, Hwang did receive a number of job offers from other start-ups and believes that she’s learned a lot in the process.