SUBSTANCE OVER STYLE: Survey Shows Off-the-Wall Job-Hunting Tactics Can Be Risky

    TORONTO, Feb. 21 /CNW/ - Creative professionals may be tempted to use
innovative approaches when reaching out to hiring managers. But a new survey
from The Creative Group suggests this strategy can be a gamble. More than half
(52 per cent) of marketing executives and one-quarter (26 per cent) of
advertising executives said they view unusual job-hunting tactics, such as
sending a potential employer a shoe "to get a foot in the door," as
unprofessional. Advertising executives were more likely to approve of unusual
approaches than their corporate marketing counterparts: 46 per cent of
respondents in this category considered gimmicky resumes OK, provided the
style doesn't detract from the information, versus 34 per cent of marketing
executives who felt the same.
    The study was developed by The Creative Group, a specialized staffing
service providing marketing, advertising, creative and web professionals on a
project basis, and conducted by an independent research firm. It is based on
250 telephone interviews - 125 with advertising executives with advertising
agencies and 125 with senior marketing executives with companies.

    Advertising and marketing executives were asked, "Which of the following
statements most closely resembles your attitude toward unusual or gimmicky
resumes (e.g., a resume that comes in a shoe 'to get a foot in the door')?"
Their responses:

                                                     Marketing   Advertising
                                                     ---------   -----------
                                                    Executives    Executives
                                                    ----------    ----------
    They may increase a candidate's chances
     of being hired................................         2%            8%
    They can be beneficial, but most miss
     the mark......................................        10%           17%
    They are OK, as long as the style doesn't
     detract from the information..................        34%           46%
    Gimmicks are unprofessional; it's best to
     use a straight-forward resume.................        52%           26%
    Don't know.....................................         2%            3%
                                                          ----          ----
                                                          100%          100%

    Survey respondents also were asked to describe the most unusual or
creative tactics they have heard of job seekers using to land marketing or
advertising positions. Following are some of the verbatim responses:

    -  "The job seeker sent a bowling pin and said, 'I'll bowl you over.'"

    -  "One candidate took a picture of himself with every one of the
       client's products and sent three photos a week for an entire month."

    -  "The applicant sent six postcards, and each was a piece of a puzzle.
       When you put the puzzle together, it was his resume."

    -  "One person sent an egg carton with faux eggs and a message saying
       she 'delivered fresh ideas daily.'"

    -  "The applicant sent his resume on a big hamburger roll, saying his
       'brains were on a roll.'"

    -  "Someone made wrapping paper out of aluminum can ends and put her
       resume inside."

    -  "A candidate sent a baseball mitt to be part of the team."

    -  "The applicant had her name printed on golf balls that got into the
       hands of executives who were hiring."

    -  "A candidate sent a piggy bank with his art samples inside. I called
       just to find out how he got his artwork into the bank."

    -  "One applicant used an office building across the street to place a
       sign with his qualifications posted."

    -  "One person put up posters of himself in the garage where the
       executive parked."

    -  "An applicant made an interactive, computerized presentation, showing
       she knew our clients and the work we do."

    Because the views on unusual job-hunting strategies are mixed, The
Creative Group recommends thinking carefully before straying from conventional
tactics. They offer the following tips to those who are considering offbeat
ways of reaching out to employers:

    -  Get in the know. Learn as much as possible about the firm and the
       hiring manager to gain a sense of how much the organization values
       originality versus tradition.

    -  Avoid clichés. Hackneyed gimmicks, rather than an emphasis on
       creativity, indicate a lack of originality.

    -  Create a cohesive campaign. A novel approach works best if it
       underscores a creative professional's unique skill set and is
       consistent with the individual's portfolio and other self-promotional

    The Creative Group has offices in major markets across the United States
and in Canada, and offers online job search services at

For further information:

For further information: Jason Chapman, (416) 365-2010 extension 62070,

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