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 Items Under $25 That Will Keep You Warm This Winter

KEAZA/Yeti/Amazon
KEAZA/Yeti/Amazon

If you're someone who finds the freezing temperatures of winter unbearable, even the shortest stints outside can seem like pure torture. But you don't need to spend the next few months dreading every moment you're in your drafty office or outdoors. We looked through Amazon and found plenty of products, ranging from heated scarves to insulated coffee mugs, that will keep you warm without breaking the bank. Check out some of our favorite finds for under $25.

1. Refillable Zippo Hand Warmers; $20

A refillable zippo hand warmer
Zippo/Amazon

There is a long list of unpleasantries that comes along with winter, and being unable to keep your hands warm is definitely near the top of that list. But thankfully, there are these refillable, flameless Zippo hand warmers, which can last for up to 12 hours. All you need to do is remove the burner, add the lighter fluid (which is available on Amazon for $10), place the burner back on, apply a flame, and enjoy the comfort of having warm hands again.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Heated Scarf; $18

A heated scarf
PerfectPrime/Amazon

We have heated gloves, hand warmers, and even heated socks. But what about when your neck gets cold? Enter PerfectPrime’s electric scarf, which comes with two heaters that allow you to swap between low or high heat. All you need to do is hook one of the heaters up to the included USB cord; place both in the inset of the scarf; attach the cord to the power pack, which sits in a small pouch; and enjoy the added warmth. (The power pack isn't included but you can pick one up on Amazon for $27). And when it comes time, the heaters can be removed and the scarf can be thrown in the washer for an easy clean.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Mug Warmer; $23

Mug warmer
Vobaga/Amazon

It's hard to stay warm in your home or office when that perfect cup of coffee you just poured yourself goes cold after just a few minutes on your desk. This mug warmer can help prevent that by keeping your drink nice and hot, even if you're away from it for over an hour. Simply hit the “tempering” button to choose your ideal temperature of 104℉, 131℉, or 149℉, and rest your mug on top. And if your distractions take you away for too long, there’s no need to worry as the warmer will shut off after four hours.

Buy it: Amazon

4. USB Hand warmers; $20

hand warmers
Eaterhom/Amazon

If you work in a cold office, forcing yourself to type with freezing hands can seem nearly impossible. But now, you can ensure your hands stay nice and toasty with these super adorable toast hand warmers. Fingerless and with adjustable wrist straps, these plush gloves are one size fits all and perfectly whimsical. All you need to do is slip them on, hook them up to the USB drive on your computer, and enjoy the extra dexterity.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Viking Horns and Beard Beanie; $19

A viking hat
Kafeimali/Amazon

If you're going to be out in the cold, this hand-knit Acrylic beanie, complete with Viking horns and beard, is perfect for bringing a little levity to the bitterness outside. Not only will this winter accessory be a great conversation starter, but the beard and cap will ensure your face and head stay plenty warm. If you aren’t quite feeling the beard—though we really have no idea why you wouldn’t—it’s removable. You can find this beanie in brown, black, and two shades of gray.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Heated mouse; $23

A heated mouse from ValueRays at Amazon.
ValueRays/Amazon

If you don't want to completely cover your hands while working in a chilly office, this heated mouse may be your best bet. It plugs right into your computer through a USB cord and will heat up to 99°F-120°F, allowing you to choose the right level of warmth while avoiding the inevitable sweaty palms that come with wearing gloves indoors. Just remember, this is a mouse designed for work or school—basically anything more casual. If you’re looking to keep warm while doing more precise work (like design work or gaming), check out this heated mouse pad for $33.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Yeti Insulated Mug; $25

An insulated coffee mug from Yeti.
Yeti/Amazon

Pouring yourself a warm drink is the easy part—it’s keeping it warm that gets tricky. And no one wants to rush through their hot coffee or tea just so it doesn’t cool down too fast (think about your poor tongue!). With this insulated mug from Yeti, you can keep your drink warmer for longer, allowing you to sip at your own speed. Yeti is a company known for durability, so this 14-ounce mug is perfect whether you're taking it to the office or on a long hike or camping trip. 

Buy it: Amazon

8. Hogwarts Scarf; $20

A Hogwarts Harry Potter scarf from Cinereplicas.
Cinereplicas/Amazon

This officially licensed Harry Potter Hogwarts scarf from Cinereplicas is about as authentic to J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world as you’ll get without an owl delivering you an acceptance letter. The scarf is so faithful to the color scheme from the films that it even uses the same Pantone shades as seen on the screen. The comfy knit feel will keep you warm in the winter, and the movie-accurate design will help it double as part of a costume come Halloween time. For a few dollars more, you can buy scarves based on Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin.

Buy it: Amazon

9. These Incredibly Warm Socks; $13

Vintage socks from KEAZA sold on Amazon.
KEAZA/Amazon

If you’re working from home—or just taking part in some world-class hygge—you need these incredibly cozy, incredibly versatile socks. You can wear them to sleep on a cold night, keep them on all day like slippers, or wear them with shoes during those early-morning commutes as the thermometers plummet. Best of all, while they’re warm, they’re not suffocating. They’re soft, with enough breathability to prevent your feet from overheating.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Touchscreen gloves; $7-$12

Touchscreen gloves from Amazon.
Achiou/Amazon

Not even the bitter cold should keep you from your Instagram scrolling, and with these touchscreen gloves, you can keep your digits warm without having to sacrifice your social media time. These gloves were made specifically with phones and other gadgets in mind, so while they’re ready to keep you comfortable in winter weather, the material allows you to use your device without worrying that your fingers won’t register on the screen. Plus, the silicone on the gloves will help prevent your phone from slipping from your grip.

Buy it: Amazon

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

Scam Alert: A FedEx Tracking Notification Text Wants to Steal Your Credit Card Number

interstid/iStock via Getty Images
interstid/iStock via Getty Images

Thanks to moment-by-moment tracking software offered by delivery services like FedEx, UPS, and the post office, consumers can keep tabs on their packages before they're even delivered. We’ve grown so accustomed to getting notification texts that it might be easy to let a bogus one slip by.

According to How-To Geek, that could prove to be an expensive mistake. The site is reporting that a scam currently making the rounds involves a fraudulent text notification of an impending FedEx package. The message is prompting recipients to “set delivery preferences” for the delivery. When smartphone users click on the link in the message, they’re directed to what looks like an Amazon satisfaction survey. After completing the survey, users are offered a free gift and then asked to remit their credit card information to pay $6.99 for shipping. This also triggers a monthly subscription charge of $98.95.

Due to the deluge of solicitations for customer surveys prompted by businesses, this is a clever bit of misdirection. Needless to say, it’s also not a legitimate offer. Amazon is unlikely to ever route you to a new URL for a “free gift.” If you’re unsure whether you have a package on the way, it’s a good idea to navigate directly to the FedEx or shipper website to check. It’s also best to block the incoming number to opt out of any future texts offering to separate you from your money.

[h/t How-To Geek]

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