6 Creative Resume Tactics That Actually Worked (Study)

Earlier this  year Careerbuilder conducted a study of 2,298 hiring managers in the US and provided real life examples of resumes that stood out for the right and wrong reasons and they also looked at common pitfalls to avoid. The Study took place between May 14th 2012 and June 4th 2012 and revealed six creative resume tactics that actually worked and I have shown them below. Maybe you could use them as creative inspiration to make your own unusual applications to make you stand out from the competition in a good way.

6 Creative Resume Tactics That Worked

  1. Candidate sent his resume in the form of an oversized Rubik’s Cube, where you had to push the tiles around to align the resume. He was hired.
  2. Candidate who had been a stay-at-home mom listed her skills as nursing, housekeeping, chef, teacher, bio-hazard cleanup, fight referee, taxi driver, secretary, tailor, personal shopping assistant and therapist. She was hired.
  3. Candidate created a marketing brochure promoting herself as the best candidate and was hired.
  4. Candidate listed accomplishments and lessons learned from each position. He gave examples of good customer service he provided as well as situations he wished he would have handled differently. He was hired.
  5. Candidate applying for a food and beverage management position sent a resume in the form of a fine-dining menu and was hired.
  6. Candidate crafted his resume to look like Google search results for the “perfect candidate.” Candidate ultimately wasn’t hired, but was considered.
However, while it is all well and good being creative you need to be careful not to take it too far and Career builder outlined some of the unusual resume tactics which failed — and which you should avoid.

Unusual resume strategies which failed to impress

  1. Candidate called himself a genius and invited the hiring manager to interview him at his apartment.
  2. Candidate’s cover letter talked about her family being in the mob.
  3. Candidate applying for a management job listed “gator hunting” as a skill.
  4. Candidate’s resume included phishing as a hobby.
  5. Candidate specified that her resume was set up to be sung to the tune of “The Brady Bunch.”
  6. Candidate highlighted the fact that he was “Homecoming Prom Prince” in 1984.
  7. Candidate’s resume had a photo of the applicant reclining in a hammock under the headline “Hi, I’m _____ and I’m looking for a job.”
  8. Candidate’s resume was decorated with pink rabbits.

The survey also outlined some common pitfalls to avoid when preparing their resume with their research showing that the following 9  mistakes would mean that the employer would automatically dismiss a candidate from consideration.

9 Common CV Pitfalls to avoid

  1. Resumes with typos – 61 percent
  2. Resumes that copied large amounts of wording from the job posting – 41 percent
  3. Resumes with an inappropriate email address – 35 percent
  4. Resumes that don’t include a list of skills – 30 percent
  5. Resumes that are more than two pages long – 22 percent
  6. Resumes printed on decorative paper – 20 percent
  7. Resumes that detail more tasks than results for previous positions – 16 percent
  8. Resumes that include a photo – 13 percent
  9. Resumes that have large blocks of text with little white space – 13 percent

So, there you have it. With the new year’s job rush just round the corner, now is a good time to do a quick health check of your resume/CV to make sure it is up to standard.


About the author

Kazim Ladimeji is the Director of thecareercafe.co.uk—a resource for start-ups, small business and job seekers. It includes a blog with career and small business advice articles. Kazim is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and has been a practising HR professional for 14 years.

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