10 Brilliantly Creative Ways People Have Gotten Jobs

iStock
iStock

If you’re having little luck landing an interview (let alone a job offer) with your standard resume and cover letter, it might be time to up the ante. We asked people on both sides of the hiring process about their most memorable applicant stunts. Here are the stories of 10 creative people who went the extra mile with their applications—and scored the job.

1. SWEETEN THE DEAL.

“A prospective hire submitted an application but hadn’t received an interview. So he sent a cake to our human resources department. In bright red frosting was this sentence: ‘Just give me an interview.’ So we did.” —Josh Haber, a lead customer success manager at All Set

2. SHOW THEM THE GOODS.

“I applied to a digital agency without any agency experience, and I knew I was a stretch candidate. After the phone interview, the company asked me for a writing sample. I knew my past writing projects were very technical and dry; they didn’t give my writing skill set justice. Instead, I took a few hours and researched one of the agency’s clients, and wrote a blog for them. I gave them full rights to the blog, and said they could make it public whether or not they hired me. I got the job.” —Christina Oswald, digital marketing analyst at a digital agency

3. DROP IN.

“I was offered three different jobs on the spot. I identified a few companies that seemed like a good fit; I dropped in and asked to see the owner; I showed them samples of my work. Years later, I hired an intern on the spot who dropped in looking for a position.” —Paul Entin, president of epr Marketing

4. MAKE A CONNECTION.

“When I finished graduate school, I really wanted to work for Office Depot, but I couldn’t get an interview with the corporate office. I tried for months through the standard channels, but did not have any luck. Then, I was out to dinner and saw someone wearing an Office Depot shirt at the next table. I approached him, and shared that I loved the company and wanted to work for them. He said he didn’t work in HR, but would direct me to someone who did. He gave her my number the following morning, and I had an interview scheduled shortly after.” —Amy Cooper Hakim, executive consultant and founder of The Cooper Strategic Group

5. GET A FOOT IN THE DOOR.

“I was unhappy with my job, and quit. I was down to my last $200, when I went to a black-tie event. There was an internship auctioned off for the role of a production assistant with a minimum bid of $75. I couldn’t afford it, so my boyfriend at the time bid on it for me and won it. I started an internship in the event marketing and sponsorship department, having spoken to the internal team and asked to be moved to the department I always wanted. My new role reported to the vice president of event marketing in North America: I landed my dream internship. I stayed with the company for four years in various capacities.” —Leyla Arsan, strategy director at Lotus Marketing Services

6. MAKE AN IMPRESSION.

“I was working as an actress doing commercials, and I really wanted a job doing a car commercial. I found out that a company was hiring, so I sent them a picture of me with my car, along with a note about how much I loved my car. I also went to an awards ceremony where the company was being honored and sat at their table. While I didn’t get the job at first, they hired me after using another actor who didn’t work out because I stood out from the crowd.” – Julie Austin, CEO of Creative Innovation Group

7. SAY IT IN SONG.

"The company had already been considering a few candidates, and I knew I had to do something quickly to stand out. So the day I found out about the opening, I went home on my lunch break and wrote a song about the company and uploaded it to YouTube to submit with my application. I shared it with a friend who already worked there, and she played it at the weekly company-wide meeting. I submitted my resume and cover letter that night, interviewed over the next few days, and got the job. I played the song live at the office after I was hired." —Arielle LaGuette, singer-songwriter and account executive at Favor

8. UPGRADE YOUR MATERIALS.

“I had no experience in the role that I wanted, so I went for an over-the-top CV. It was clean and minimalist in format, but I used a top-grade business casual photo on the header. Then I bought a custom cover with a wonderful weighty feeling to it, like a cover on a Moleskine notebook, and I custom embossed my name on the bottom with a slight silvery sheen. There was a cut-out on it so my pro-photograph on the resume was visible. I delivered this by hand wearing a suit. Two days later, I was called for an interview, and I got the job. I was told that the owner barely looked at the other CVs because mine stood out, and the owner figured that I was a man who lavished attention on everything I did.” —Luís Magalhães, coach and consultant at DistantJob Remote Recruitment Agency

9. STAMP OUT THE COMPETITION.

“An applicant for a writing position at our trucking website sent over her resume and cover letter while also sending over a very unusual yet interesting gift: postcards from local truck stops and diners. Over the course of the few weeks that I was making hiring decisions, her postcards arrived at my address from trucker stops with short messages such as, ‘Looking forward to hearing from you about a writing journey down the road.’ She made her present indelible and unique, and she immediately demonstrated interest and creativeness, making her an easy candidate for me to choose for the job.” —Jake Tully, head of the creative team at TruckDrivingJobs.com

10. START A PASSION PROJECT.

“When I was unemployed for 41 months, I helped launch a nonprofit that hired me as a volunteer, which allowed me to attract my current employer. The mission of the nonprofit was to help put downsized, college-educated professionals back into the workforce. It also allowed me to do the three things professionals must do to get back to work: build new relationships, protect current skills by using them, and learn new skills. I was the executive director and the chief content officer, managing media relations and social media, which is what I do today for clients.” —Kenneth Hitchner, public relations and social media director at Creative Marketing Alliance

10 Products for a Better Night's Sleep

Amazon/Comfort Spaces
Amazon/Comfort Spaces

Getting a full eight hours of sleep can be tough these days. If you’re having trouble catching enough Zzzs, consider giving these highly rated and recommended products a try.

1. Everlasting Comfort Pure Memory Foam Knee Pillow; $25

Everlasting Comfort Knee Pillow
Everlasting Comfort/Amazon

For side sleepers, keeping the spine, hips, and legs aligned is key to a good night’s rest—and a pain-free morning after. Everlasting Comfort’s memory foam knee pillow is ergonomically designed to fit between the knees or thighs to ensure proper alignment. One simple but game-changing feature is the removable strap, which you can fasten around one leg; this keeps the pillow in place even as you roll at night, meaning you don’t have to wake up to adjust it (or pick it up from your floor). Reviewers call the pillow “life-changing” and “the best knee pillow I’ve found.” Plus, it comes with two pairs of ear plugs.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Letsfit White Noise Machine; $21

Letsfit White Noise Machine
Letsfit/Amazon

White noise machines: They’re not just for babies! This Letsfit model—which is rated 4.7 out of five with nearly 3500 reviews—has 14 potential sleep soundtracks, including three white noise tracks, to better block out everything from sirens to birds that chirp enthusiastically at dawn (although there’s also a birds track, if that’s your thing). It also has a timer function and a night light.

Buy it: Amazon

3. ECLIPSE Blackout Curtains; $16

Eclipse Black Out Curtains
Eclipse/Amazon

According to the National Sleep Foundation, too much light in a room when you’re trying to snooze is a recipe for sleep disaster. These understated polyester curtains from ECLIPSE block 99 percent of light and reduce noise—plus, they’ll help you save on energy costs. "Our neighbor leaves their backyard light on all night with what I can only guess is the same kind of bulb they use on a train headlight. It shines across their yard, through ours, straight at our bedroom window," one Amazon reviewer who purchased the curtains in black wrote. "These drapes block the light completely."

Buy it: Amazon

4. JALL Wake Up Light Sunrise Alarm Clock; $38

JALL Wake Up Light Sunrise Alarm Clock
JALL/Amazon

Being jarred awake by a blaring alarm clock can set the wrong mood for the rest of your day. Wake up in a more pleasant way with this clock, which gradually lights up between 10 percent and 100 percent in the 30 minutes before your alarm. You can choose between seven different colors and several natural sounds as well as a regular alarm beep, but why would you ever use that? “Since getting this clock my sleep has been much better,” one reviewer reported. “I wake up not feeling tired but refreshed.”

Buy it: Amazon

5. Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light; $200

Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light
Philips/Amazon

If you’re looking for an alarm clock with even more features, Philips’s SmartSleep Wake-Up Light is smartphone-enabled and equipped with an AmbiTrack sensor, which tracks things like bedroom temperature, humidity, and light levels, then gives recommendations for how you can get a better night’s rest.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Slumber Cloud Stratus Sheet Set; $159

Stratus sheets from Slumber Cloud.
Slumber Cloud

Being too hot or too cold can kill a good night’s sleep. The Good Housekeeping Institute rated these sheets—which are made with Outlast fibers engineered by NASA—as 2020’s best temperature-regulating sheets.

Buy it: SlumberCloud

7. Comfort Space Coolmax Sheet Set; $29-$40

Comfort Spaces Coolmax Sheets
Comfort Spaces/Amazon

If $159 sheets are out of your price range, the GHI recommends these sheets from Comfort Spaces, which are made with moisture-wicking Coolmax microfiber. Depending on the size you need, they range in price from $29 to $40.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Coop Home Goods Eden Memory Foam Pillow; $80

Coop Eden Pillow
Coop Home Goods/Amazon

This pillow—which has a 4.5-star rating on Amazon—is filled with memory foam scraps and microfiber, and comes with an extra half-pound of fill so you can add, or subtract, the amount in the pillow for ultimate comfort. As a bonus, the pillows are hypoallergenic, mite-resistant, and washable.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Baloo Weighted Blanket; $149-$169

Baloo Weighted Blanket
Baloo/Amazon

Though the science is still out on weighted blankets, some people swear by them. Wirecutter named this Baloo blanket the best, not in small part because, unlike many weighted blankets, it’s machine-washable and -dryable. It’s currently available in 12-pound ($149) twin size and 20-pound ($169) queen size. It’s rated 4.7 out of five stars on Amazon, with one reviewer reporting that “when it's spread out over you it just feels like a comfy, snuggly hug for your whole body … I've found it super relaxing for falling asleep the last few nights, and it looks nice on the end of the bed, too.” 

Buy it: Amazon 

10. Philips Smartsleep Snoring Relief Band; $200

Philips SmartSleep Snoring Relief Band
Philips/Amazon

Few things can disturb your slumber—and that of the ones you love—like loudly sawing logs. Philips’s Smartsleep Snoring Relief Band is designed for people who snore when they’re sleeping on their backs, and according to the company, 86 percent of people who used the band reported reduced snoring after a month. The device wraps around the torso and is equipped with a sensor that delivers vibrations if it detects you moving to sleep on your back; those vibrations stop when you roll onto your side. The next day, you can see how many hours you spent in bed, how many of those hours you spent on your back, and your response rate to the vibrations. The sensor has an algorithm that notes your response rate and tweaks the intensity of vibrations based on that. “This device works exactly as advertised,” one Amazon reviewer wrote. “I’d say it’s perfect.”

Buy it: Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Why Does Altitude Affect Baking?

This woman is going to make a quick stop at Whole Foods' bakery section before book club.
This woman is going to make a quick stop at Whole Foods' bakery section before book club.
nicoletaionescu/iStock via Getty Images

Even if you’re highly skilled in the kitchen, you might find yourself with a deflated cake or bone-dry brownies if you happen to be baking in Aspen, Colorado, for the first time. But why exactly does an oven at high altitude so often wreak havoc on whatever baked good is in it?

According to HuffPost, it all comes down to air pressure. The higher you are above sea level, the lower the air pressure is. This is mostly because there’s less air pressing down on that air from above, and it’s also farther from the gravitational forces on Earth’s surface. With less air pressure keeping liquid molecules in their liquid form, it takes less heat in order to vaporize them—in other words, boiling points are lower at higher altitudes.

“For every 500-foot increase in altitude, the boiling point of water drops by 0.9°F,” Dr. Craig F. Morris, director of the USDA ARS Western Wheat Quality Laboratory at Washington State University, told HuffPost.

Since liquids evaporate at lower temperatures, all the moisture that makes your signature chocolate cake so dense and delicious could disappear long before you’d normally take it out of the oven. To avoid this, you should bake certain goods at lower temperatures.

With less air pressure, gases expand faster, too—so anything that’s supposed to rise in the oven might end up collapsing before the inside is finished baking. Cutting down on leavening agents like yeast, baking powder, and baking soda can help prevent this. This also applies to bread dough left to rise before baking (otherwise known as proofing); its rapid expansion could negatively affect its flavor and texture, so you might need to adjust how much yeast you’re using.

If all the ways a recipe could go wrong at high altitudes—and all the experimentation needed to make sure it goes right—seem like a lot to keep track of, Betty Crocker has a handy chart with various types of baked goods and suggested modifications for them.

[h/t HuffPost]