Are edible CVs and other gimmicks the best way to land a new job?

Official figures suggest we’re facing the worst labour market in decades. Photo: Getty
Official figures suggest we’re facing the worst labour market in decades. Photo: Getty

It’s a difficult time for job seekers at the moment, with many businesses making cuts rather than hiring, and the job market flooded as a result of mass redundancies.

With those looking for employment facing a lot of competition, some are finding novel ways to make themselves more visible to employers. From edible CVs to T-shirt resumes and chocolate cover letters, people are getting creative with their applications. One job seeker even plastered his image and giant CV on the back of a huge lorry, after he was made redundant in July from his job as a technical project manager at a theme park.

Government figures suggest we’re facing the worst labour market in decades, so it’s easy to see why people are finding new ways to catch employers’ attention. “Looking for a job amid Covid-19 is uniquely difficult, due to layoffs companies have been forced to make and disruptions to traditional hiring processes that have forced most, if not all, hiring to occur virtually,” says Modern Hire's CEO Karin Borchert.

“And with thousands of unemployed people in the UK and new restrictions and lockdowns being enforced, more could lose their jobs in the near future, shifting the labor market from one of candidate scarcity to one of candidate abundance.”

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As workers continue applying for the limited number of open positions, many have become frustrated with the lack of response they have received from hiring managers and recruiters. “As a result, to stand out from the crowd, some candidates have turned to creative, unique and outside-of-the-box ways of getting employers’ attention,” Borchert adds.

For a lucky few, this innovative approach may work. It can be a good thing that candidates are getting creative to gain hiring managers’ interest. A unique CV allows candidates to showcase their personality within the application process, Borchert explains, enabling them to stand out from the crowd and better determine mutual fit-for-hire along the way.

However, how the application is received completely depends on the employer. Some may welcome a more creative approach, but others may find it inappropriate or off putting. It can also feel demoralising to have to resort to gimmicky CVs and applications when you have years of experience, qualifications and skills, particularly if you have no luck after putting in the extra effort.

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Revealing candidates’ personalities can also introduce increased bias into the hiring process, Borchert says. “To remove that bias –– but still ensure hiring managers are evaluating and acknowledging each candidate –– organisations must apply proven, ethical AI transparently to information knowingly shared by candidates,” she says.

“By leveraging AI transparently, hiring teams can focus on what matters most: the characteristics of a candidate that are relevant to job success. By using only job-relevant data as the foundation, companies can more successfully remove bias, while ensuring that each candidate is evaluated fairly without requiring candidates to jump through hoops to be noticed by hiring teams.”

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So what can you do to boost your chances of landing a job interview when there are so many applicants at the moment?

“The best thing a candidate can do to stand out to employers and boost the chance of landing a job interview is to prepare well for the hiring and interviewing processes,” says Borchert.

Make sure your resume is up-to-date and tailor it to the role you’re applying for, making sure the information is relevant. It’s important to do the same if you need to send a cover letter too.

“Research the company and position to ensure that any information you provide –– from your CV to responses to a pre-hire assessment –– is relevant to the role,” Borchert adds. “Look up the company to see if you have any connections in your network that work at the organisation that you could leverage.”