Five strange but effective job applications

Plus a top recruiter's advice on how to stand out

A chocolate cake. A tea set. A Lego mosaic. These are just a few of the stand-out job applications that have landed on the desks of recruiters at Vancouver-based social media company HootSuite.

Applying for a new job is daunting. Throw in a dour economy and a lacklustre job market and it’s enough to make any recent grad want to throw in the towel. To get the attention of some of the most popular companies out there, it takes creativity, says Ambrosia Humphrey, HootSuite’s director of human resources. The cake, the tea set and the Lego mosaic “showed that the candidates were thinking outside of the box,” she says, “and all of those positions called for something like that.”

Not every company will appreciate a Lego mosaic, but that’s where Humphrey’s other advice comes into play. “Not tailoring your application is the biggest mistake we come across,” she says, adding, “when someone has just changed the title of the position and company, we can tell.”

Humphrey says it’s important to do your homework. Find out what the employer is looking for and make sure your application addresses that. For example, a video producer might create a video resume. “We get a lot of these,” she says. They can perfectly show off a video producer’s skills. Starting a social media campaign to apply for a social media role makes sense too.

But be careful. Make sure creative additions are backed up with research and experience. Otherwise, it can come across as gimmicky, says Humphrey. “Tell me what problem you’re going to solve for my company or tell me how you’re going to add value to the position you’re applying for.”

Here are five creative applications that impressed Humphrey with her comments on each:

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