It’s difficult to stand out among hundreds of qualified applicants in today’s competitive job market.
We know the importance of sending in a memorable résumé and cover letter, but it’s easier said than done.
How do you leave a lasting impression on a prospective employer?
He designed what he calls the relevant résumé — a résumé littered with your failures, bad references, and non-skills.
His personal one highlights several losing pitches during his time in the advertising industry, “missed honours,” his inability to remember names, and even romantic failures from his time at Ohio University:
We spoke to him a few months ago when he launched this innovative strategy, and he was confident in its potential, despite its extremities. He believed it would be a creative way to stand out and get your foot in the door.
Since our conversation, he put his theory to test.
Scardino applied for 10 positions, all of which he was qualified for and genuinely interested in. Not all the positions were in the realm of advertising, his expertise. “I kept it within my skill set,” he tells us of his application process. “But I did expand outside of advertising by applying for writing roles.”
He sent in two separate applications to each company, spacing them out over a week and using a different name and address on each one. He also wrote separate cover letters to pair with the different résumés.
The results were surprisingly lopsided.
The regular résumé received one response and zero meeting requests, while the relevant résumé received eight responses and five meeting requests.
One company replied:
First off, I applaud you. I have never received a résumé like yours. I see hundreds of résumés a year so it was refreshing to see someone take a different approach. I’ve been passing it around the office, and everyone is dying to meet you.
Another was equally intrigued:
I just received your relevant résumé. Very interesting. Unfortunately, the position has been filled. But I would love to learn more about your project. This is the kind of thinking we love here.
But the two most telling responses were from companies that were initially sceptical, but still replied.
“To me, those two proved my hypothesis more than the people who were really interested by it,” Scardino tells us. “Even though they thought it was a joke, they still responded to me, and I was able to open that conversation and explain myself. And they got it.”
While Scardino’s experiment only extended to 10 companies, with a focus in creatively-minded industries, it seems as if companies are open to — and refreshed by — this new approach. Comfort with being transparent, honest, and vulnerable is an attractive quality, and could score you a follow up phone call, informational meeting, or interview.
Scardino emphasised that this was not a one and done experiment, and plans to continue the push to make the relevant résumé more relevant.
For now, it’s a bold technique for getting face time with prospective employers. However, if everyone starts sending out résumés filled with failures, Scardino may have to go back to the drawing boards.
Check out his video summing up the results from his experiment:
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