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Weird applicant résumés: What works, what doesn’t

by on
in Centerpiece,Hiring,Human Resources

resumeWith U.S. unemployment still running high, that means two things: You’re receiving more résumés per job, and applicants are ramping up the creativity to grab your attention.

“We see more people using infographics, QR codes and visual résumés to package their information in new and interesting ways,” says Rosemary Haefner, VP of HR at CareerBuilder.

That creativity leads to a lot of home runs ... and some dramatic strikeouts. A new CareerBuilder survey of 2,300 hiring managers provides real-life examples of résumés that stood out for the right (and wrong) reasons.

First, the strikeouts

  • Candidate called himself a genius and invited the hiring manager to interview him at his apartment.
  • Candidate’s résumé included phishing as a hobby.
  • Candidate said her résumé was set up to be sung to the tune of “The Brady Bunch.”
  • Candidate highlighted that he was “Homecoming Prom Prince” in 1984.
  • Candidate claimed to be able to speak “Antartican” when applying for a job to work in Antarctica.
  • Candidate’s résumé was decorated with pink rabbits.
  • Candidate applying for accounting job said he was “deetail-oriented” and spelled the company name wrong.

Constructive creativity

Other candidates cited in the Career­Builder survey tried a creative approach and made a positive impression. These include the candidate who:

  • Sent his résumé in the form of an oversized Rubik’s Cube, where you had to push the tiles around to align the résumé. He was hired. 
  • Created a marketing brochure promoting herself as the best candidate. She was hired.
  • While applying for a food and beverage management position, sent a résumé in the form of a fine-dining menu. He was hired. 
  • Crafted his résumé to look like Google search results for the “perfect candidate.” Candidate ultimately wasn’t hired, but was seriously considered.

The lesson: There’s a thin line between genius and just plain weird. Give bonus points for creativity, but know the difference.

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