Survey Reveals Tactics Job Seekers Have Used to Get Prospective Employers’ Attention

MENLO PARK, CA -- In a competitive job market, every candidate wants to get noticed -- and some will go to great lengths. In a recent survey, OfficeTeam asked executives to recount the most unusual thing they have seen or heard an applicant do to stand out from the crowd. Following are some of their responses:

  • “I remember a job candidate bringing in milk and cookies.”
  • “Singing. It’s something you don’t forget.”
  • “I have seen magnets on people’s cars directing others to websites for their resumes.”
  • “I remember someone had his resume delivered in a pizza box.”
  • “Someone stood outside our building from 9 to 5 every day for a month until he was hired. It worked.”
  • “A job applicant spritzed her resume with perfume.”
  • “Someone wrote a press release announcing she had been hired and used it as her cover letter.”

The survey was developed by OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in the placement of highly skilled administrative professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with 250 randomly selected senior executives at the 1,000 largest companies in the United States and the largest corporations in Canada.

“It’s understandable for candidates who aren’t having luck with traditional job search methods to try more creative ways to get noticed,” said Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. “Although these tactics might grab an employer’s attention, they also carry an element of risk.”

The following approaches, for example, may be seen as a “sign” of initiative by some employers while others might view them as a mark of desperation:  

  • “A person who was job hunting advertised his skills on a sandwich board.”
  • “Job applicants have been known to stand outside of major corporations with signs.”
  • “I’ve seen job candidates pay for billboards to get an employer’s attention.”

Sometimes the package or format can leave more of an impression than the actual resume content:

  • “I received a resume rolled up inside a toy semi truck.”
  • “Someone sent us a baby shoe with a resume wrapped around it. He said he wanted to ‘get his foot in the door.’ He did not get the job, but it got my attention, and I read his resume twice.”
  • “A woman dropped off a balloon with her resume.”
  • “Once we received a resume rolled in a bottle.”
  • “We received a resume made into a paper airplane.”
  • “Someone applying for a job in women’s fashion designed her resume in a feminine shape.”
  • “I received a laminated resume.”
  • “Someone came in with a 10-page binder detailing his work history.”
  • “A job seeker came in with an oversized schematic that he rolled out on the table and used to ‘pitch’ himself to me.”

“While unconventional methods can be hit or miss, one surefire way to stand out is by going the extra mile to showcase your skill set, professionalism and enthusiasm for the position,” said Hosking.

For example, survey respondents cited the following “standout” tactics: 

  • “People who take the time to research the company, do their homework and follow up on their ideas.”
  • “Receiving handwritten thank-you notes as opposed to e-mail.”
  • “People are dressing up more than they did in the past.”
  • “Someone came to the office without an appointment to see me personally and drop off his resume. Nobody has ever done that in the past.”
  • “Using a good reference -- I swear by references, so that’s very important.”
  • “The job seeker turned the table and wanted to know all about me. The tactic worked.” 

About OfficeTeam
OfficeTeam provides businesses with the temporary administrative professionals they need to maximize productivity, achieve cost efficiency and support existing staff. The company has more than 325 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at

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