Sometimes Being Creative with a Resume Works

July 17, 2012 ( – Sometimes when looking for a job, a candidate has to get creative.

A CareerBuilder survey of hiring managers revealed some candidates tried a creative approach, made a positive impression on the employer and, in some cases, were ultimately hired.  

Examples of what worked include: 

  • 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.  
  • 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.  
  • Candidate created a marketing brochure promoting herself as the best candidate and was hired.  
  • 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.  
  • Candidate applying for a food and beverage management position sent a resume in the form of a fine-dining menu and was hired.  
  • Candidate crafted his resume to look like Google search results for the “perfect candidate.” Candidate ultimately wasn’t hired, but was considered. 

However, while some tactics are memorable and unusual they are not the best approach.  

Examples shared by hiring managers include: 

  • Candidate called himself a genius and invited the hiring manager to interview him at his apartment. 
  • Candidate’s cover letter talked about her family being in the mob.  
  • Candidate applying for a management job listed “gator hunting” as a skill. 
  • Candidate’s resume included phishing as a hobby.  
  • Candidate specified that her resume was set up to be sung to the tune of “The Brady Bunch.” 
  • Candidate highlighted the fact 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 resume had a photo of the applicant reclining in a hammock under the headline "Hi, I'm _____ and I'm looking for a job." 
  • Candidate’s resume was decorated with pink rabbits. 
  • Candidate listed “to make dough” as the objective on the resume. 
  • Candidate applying for an accounting job said he was “deetail-oriented” and spelled the company’s name incorrectly. 
  • Candidate’s cover letter contained "LOL." 

When asked what would make them automatically dismiss a candidate from consideration, employers pointed to: 

  • Resumes with typos – 61%; 
  • Resumes that copied large amounts of wording from the job posting – 41%; 
  • Resumes with an inappropriate e-mail address – 35%; 
  • Resumes that do not include a list of skills – 30%; 
  • Resumes that are more than two pages long – 22%; 
  • Resumes printed on decorative paper – 20%; 
  • Resumes that detail more tasks than results for previous positions – 16%; 
  • Resumes that include a photo – 13%; and 
  • Resumes that have large blocks of text with little white space – 13%. 


The survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive on behalf of CareerBuilder among 2,298 U.S. hiring managers and human resource professionals (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government) ages 18 and over, between May 14 and June 4.