Job hunting can be a frustrating odyssey of nos and non-responses, and applying for gigs can feel like screaming into a void. (Are you alive? Are they alive? Is anyone out there?)
To combat that, many job seekers with coding and design experience go to extreme — and extremely creative — lengths to stand out and demonstrate their skills.
It’s a risk: Not every hiring manager is going to be on board with an unconventional approach. But as the creators of these masterpieces prove, a clever résumé can also yield big rewards.
From designing a personal Amazon page (complete with reviews) to making a candy bar wrapper to showcase job skills, here are some of the most creative résumés we’ve ever seen:
Vivian Giang contributed to an earlier version of this article.
Abudho is a Kenyan art director and photographer who is well-known for his photography, but he's also picked up quite a bit of attention for his résumé.
'Believe it or not, I got the idea while buying a pack of coffee,' he tells Business Insider. 'Java Coffee, one of Kenya's best, to be exact.'
He designed a résumé that potential employers could cut out and fold into a box, complete with creative 'nutrition' facts. The result was immediate. He got three good job offers from top agencies in Kenya. He's currently a creative partner at Scanad in Nairobi.
In makes sense, he tells Business Insider: his work involves online marketing and advertising campaigns, and Google Analytics is the basic tool of the industry.
Bar graphs represent skills and languages; a Google Analytics-style map shows his educational background, and his 'Experience' section allows potential employers to click on the various positions to get more information about each of his roles.
But while his original intent was to show off his technological expertise and online marketing savvy, he says the project brought another, less expected benefit. 'Trying to analyse my professional path like a 'web site performance' has been hard but helpful to get an objective point of view about current achievements and future goals.'
Weihs's résumé stands out in a sea of identical white papers thanks to its Western, vintage look.
'I wanted to have fun creating a résumé that was different from everyone else,' she says. 'I love historically inspired design. For me, it's just a lot of fun to look to the past for ideas.'
She applied to her current place of employment using this résumé, and immediately saw results. Her employer 'quite liked the résumé,' she says.
Mundon created this résumé for his friend, but received so much feedback from his design that he decided to launch a creative design company that does design work and creates creative résumés, business, and web sites for job hunters.
But he cautions that haphazard creativity won't do the trick -- even the most stand-out résumés still need to be job-specific. 'You're not out there to get any job,' he says. Practicality is important, too, he says: employers need to be able to find your past work experiences immediately.
'This particular résumé did get him the job (he wanted),' Mundon says. '(A résumé's) design is much more important than how 'pretty' it is; the overall goal is to get these people a job,' he stresses again. 'If the most beautiful résumé doesn't get our client an interview, then it's worthless.'
This résumé was designed with James' specific ambitions in mind. 'With Jefferey's résumé, I wanted the viewer to know he's in the music business, know that he works hard, showcase his image in a creative way, and most importantly, display his experience,' says Mundon.
'I really wanted to create a résumé that was different,' says Stapley when asked about his inspiration. 'Something that was memorable when it came across a desk, which was perhaps littered with résumés that all looked the same. A résumé can be so much more than a biographical 'humdrum' of skill-sets, education, and accomplishments.'
Stapley's résumé landed him a job as creative director at iFit Fitness Technology, one of the world's largest fitness companies. 'I love where I am, who I work with, and what I do,' he says.
Hasse didn't know whether his creative résumé would be well-received by potential employers, or rejected completely .
'I designed it back in college (a few) years ago to try and stand out from everyone else applying for graphic design jobs,' he says. 'It was kind of a risk because it was before the infographics got popular.'
But Hasse's worries were premature. 'I got a lot of immediate attention (from my résumé) and it continued to spread across the Internet. Overall I got a lot of job offers and interest from employers, and I would say it's even a great success.'
We would say so, too. Hass now works as a senior art director in Denver, Colorado.
Anderson's résumé was born out of an epiphany. 'It occurred to me one day that a résumé is just tagged temporal data, and that if I treated it as such, I could convey loads more information,' he says.
He took that idea and ran with it -- and it worked.
'I have had a few job offers, but I only really took one, as a graphic design chair at a small school in Pennsylvania, and shot portfolio photos for students from a few programs,' Anderson says.
Sabatini is an Italian graphic designer born and raised in Italy. He is currently based in Florence and focuses on digital art and typography.
Sabatini created his résumé in response to a question. 'Why (does) the curriculum (vitae) have to be displayed in an ugly and boring version?' he asked. 'Especially if your work is to make things nice and (viewers) curious.'
He designed several versions of this résumé in multiple colours while maintaining the same brand, and it gained him a lot of attention on the internet.
'More than I expected,' he says. 'And not just from the ones I've sent (to employers), but also from people (who have) seen it on my portfolio and found it interesting.'
Ramilo is currently a senior graphic designer and tells us that she wanted to show in her résumé that she's always loved to doodle, as long as she has a ballpen and paper, 'whether it's a ticket, a tissue paper, or any kind of paper as long as (she) can write on it.'
'I posted it my deviantart account to showcase my design, and I was surprised when I received lots of messages in my personal email and even in my Facebook account from people around the world telling me that they saw my creative résumé and how they liked it,' she says.
This sweet résumé, from a marketing professional named Nicholas, hit the first page of Reddit after a friend posted it. According to the original poster, the candy did the trick, and Nick got the job he was applying for.
Each bar cost about $US2 to custom produce. (It's a Nestlé Crunch bar, in case that would influence your decision.)
Leonardi, who has worked at AOL, Industry Next, and Fox News, built a side scrolling interactive résumé reminiscent of games like Mario.
A series of levels run through his skills, qualifications, and experience.
Dubost's page, which you can view here, went viral and racked up 1.5 million views over the course of his job search, and eventually got him 150 job offers and finally a job as a tech product manager at rapidly growing New York beauty subscription startup Birchbox.
The instantly recognisable format and the depth of detail (there's everything from product dimensions to reviews from past employers) helped make it a hit and get him exactly the kind of job he'd hoped for.
Gandhi is a young Georgia Tech graduate and fan of Google who modelled his résumé after the Google's iconic style and search results. It worked pretty well, getting him an interview with the famously selective company.
The specific position ended up being for a marketing rather than a design job, which wasn't a great fit, but the creative résumé still helped land interviews elsewhere. You can find his personal site here.
Nina Muflah modelled her résumé on an Airbnb host profile -- caught the attention of tech companies around the world.
Mufleh had been trying to grab the attention of Airbnb for months, but while she'd managed to get a meeting with the company, she hadn't managed to snagged a job offer.
Instead of giving up, she rethought her strategy. 'I actually thought, I haven't done everything I can,' Mufleh tells Business Insider's Lisa Eadicicco. 'I've done the same thing multiple times, but I haven't tried new approaches.'
And so she turned her résumé into a mock Airbnb host profile. Instead of focusing on her past experience -- though it includes that, too -- it showcases her knowledge of the travel industry, what she'd contribute to the company, and where she thinks they should turn their focus next.
It caught the eye of Airbnb's CEO and CMO almost immediately. Ultimately, she didn't get the gig, but the résumé did get the attention of companies around the world.
Mufleh interviewed with LinkedIn, Uber, and Dropbox (among others), before deciding to pursue an opportunity at Upwork.
Jeff Scardino's 'relevant résumé' focuses on failures, bad references, missed honours, and non-skills.
While helping out with his company's hiring process, Scardino lost patience with traditional résumés, full of bland triumphs and approving references. Instead, he wanted to see failures. He wanted to talk to people who didn't like the candidates, he tells Business Insider's Kathleen Elkins.
'That's more interesting to me,' he says, 'and it's even more interesting if the candidate is willing to give you that information. For someone to be that transparent and that much of an open book says a lot about them and their confidence.'
And so he took his own advice, creating the 'relevant résumé,' which features highlights like 'Have yet to finish a book I started writing years ago,' and 'Should have been more aggressive.'
The résumé worked, he says -- in his own informal experiment, he found the relevant résumé netted him significantly more interviews than the traditional version.
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