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10 Brilliantly Creative Ways People Have Gotten Jobs

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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

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This AI Tool Will Help You Write a Winning Resume
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For job seekers, crafting that perfect resume can be an exercise in frustration. Should you try to be a little conversational? Is your list of past jobs too long? Are there keywords that employers embrace—or resist? Like most human-based tasks, it could probably benefit from a little AI consultation.

Fast Company reports that a new start-up called Leap is prepared to offer exactly that. The project—started by two former Google engineers—promises to provide both potential minions and their bosses better ways to communicate and match job needs to skills. Upload a resume and Leap will begin to make suggestions (via highlighted boxes) on where to snip text, where to emphasize specific skills, and roughly 100 other ways to create a resume that stands out from the pile.

If Leap stopped there, it would be a valuable addition to a professional's toolbox. But the company is taking it a step further, offering to distribute the resume to employers who are looking for the skills and traits specific to that individual. They'll even elaborate on why that person is a good fit for the position being solicited. If the company hires their endorsee, they'll take a recruiter's cut of their first year's wages. (It's free to job seekers.)

Although the service is new, Leap says it's had a 70 percent success rate landing its users an interview. The rest is up to you.

[h/t Fast Company]

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8 Tricks to Help Your Cat and Dog to Get Along
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When people aren’t debating whether cats or dogs are more intelligent, they’re equating them as mortal foes. That’s a stereotype that both cat expert Jackson Galaxy, host of the Animal Planet show My Cat From Hell, and certified dog trainer Zoe Sandor want to break.

Typically, cats are aloof and easily startled, while dogs are gregarious and territorial. This doesn't mean, however, that they can't share the same space—they're just going to need your help. “If cats and dogs are brought up together in a positive, loving, encouraging environment, they’re going to be friends,” Galaxy tells Mental Floss. “Or at the very least, they’ll tolerate each other.”

The duo has teamed up to host a new Animal Planet series, Cat vs. Dog, which airs on Saturdays at 10 p.m. The show chronicles their efforts to help pet owners establish long-lasting peace—if not perfect harmony—among cats and dogs. (Yes, it’s possible.) Gleaned from both TV and off-camera experiences, here are eight tips Galaxy and Sandor say will help improve household relations between Fido and Fluffy.

1. TAKE PERSONALITY—NOT BREED—INTO ACCOUNT.

Contrary to popular belief, certain breeds of cats and dogs don't typically get along better than others. According to Galaxy and Sandor, it’s more important to take their personalities and energy levels into account. If a dog is aggressive and territorial, it won’t be a good fit in a household with a skittish cat. In contrast, an aging dog would hate sharing his space with a rambunctious kitten.

If two animals don’t end up being a personality match, have a backup plan, or consider setting up a household arrangement that keeps them separated for the long term. And if you’re adopting a pet, do your homework and ask its previous owners or shelter if it’s lived with other animals before, or gets along with them.

2. TRAIN YOUR DOG.

To set your dog up for success with cats, teach it to control its impulses, Sandor says. Does it leap across the kitchen when someone drops a cookie, or go on high alert when it sees a squeaky toy? If so, it probably won’t be great with cats right off the bat, since it will likely jump up whenever it spots a feline.

Hold off Fido's face time with Fluffy until the former is trained to stay put. And even then, keep a leash handy during the first several cat-dog meetings.

3. GIVE A CAT ITS OWN TERRITORY BEFORE IT MEETS A DOG.

Cats need a protected space—a “base camp” of sorts—that’s just theirs, Galaxy says. Make this refuge off-limits to the dog, but create safe spaces around the house, too. This way, the cat can confidently navigate shared territory without trouble from its canine sibling.

Since cats are natural climbers, Galaxy recommends taking advantage of your home’s vertical space. Buy tall cat trees, install shelves, or place a cat bed atop a bookcase. This allows your cat to observe the dog from a safe distance, or cross a room without touching the floor.

And while you’re at it, keep dogs away from the litter box. Cats should feel safe while doing their business, plus dogs sometimes (ew) like to snack on cat feces, a bad habit that can cause your pooch to contract intestinal parasites. These worms can cause a slew of health problems, including vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and anemia.

Baby gates work in a pinch, but since some dogs are escape artists, prepare for worst-case scenarios by keeping the litter box uncovered and in an open space. That way, the cat won’t be cornered and trapped mid-squat.

4. EXERCISE YOUR DOG'S BODY AND MIND.

“People exercise their dogs probably 20 percent of what they should really be doing,” Sandor says. “It’s really important that their energy is released somewhere else so that they have the ability to slow down their brains and really control themselves when they’re around kitties.”

Dogs also need lots of stimulation. Receiving it in a controlled manner makes them less likely to satisfy it by, say, chasing a cat. For this, Sandor recommends toys, herding-type activities, lure coursing, and high-intensity trick training.

“Instead of just taking a walk, stop and do a sit five times on every block,” she says. “And do direction changes three times on every block, or speed changes two times. It’s about unleashing their herding instincts and prey drive in an appropriate way.”

If you don’t have time for any of these activities, Zoe recommends hiring a dog walker, or enrolling in doggy daycare.

5. LET CATS AND DOGS FOLLOW THEIR NOSES.

In Galaxy's new book, Total Cat Mojo, he says it’s a smart idea to let cats and dogs sniff each other’s bedding and toys before a face-to-face introduction. This way, they can satisfy their curiosity and avoid potential turf battles.

6. PLAN THE FIRST CAT/DOG MEETING CAREFULLY.

Just like humans, cats and dogs have just one good chance to make a great first impression. Luckily, they both love food, which might ultimately help them love each other.

Schedule the first cat-dog meeting during mealtime, but keep the dog on a leash and both animals on opposite sides of a closed door. They won’t see each other, but they will smell each other while chowing down on their respective foods. They’ll begin to associate this smell with food, thus “making it a good thing,” Galaxy says.

Do this every mealtime for several weeks, before slowly introducing visual simulation. Continue feeding the cat and dog separately, but on either side of a dog gate or screen, before finally removing it all together. By this point, “they’re eating side-by-side, pretty much ignoring each other,” Galaxy says. For safety’s sake, continue keeping the dog on a leash until you’re confident it’s safe to take it off (and even then, exercise caution).

7. KEEP THEIR FOOD AND TOYS SEPARATE.

After you've successfully ingratiated the cat and dog using feeding exercises, keep their food bowls separate. “A cat will walk up to the dog bowl—either while the dog’s eating, or in the vicinity—and try to eat out of it,” Galaxy says. “The dog just goes to town on them. You can’t assume that your dog isn’t food-protective or resource-protective.”

To prevent these disastrous mealtime encounters, schedule regular mealtimes for your pets (no free feeding!) and place the bowls in separate areas of the house, or the cat’s dish up on a table or another high spot.

Also, keep a close eye on the cat’s toys—competition over toys can also prompt fighting. “Dogs tend to get really into catnip,” Galaxy says. “My dog loves catnip a whole lot more than my cats do.”

8. CONSIDER RAISING A DOG AND CAT TOGETHER (IF YOU CAN).

Socializing these animals at a young age can be easier than introducing them as adults—pups are easily trainable “sponges” that soak up new information and situations, Sandor says. Plus, dogs are less confident and smaller at this stage in life, allowing the cat to “assume its rightful position at the top of the hierarchy,” she adds.

Remain watchful, though, to ensure everything goes smoothly—especially when the dog hits its rambunctious “teenage” stage before becoming a full-grown dog.

Cat vs. Dog Airs on Saturdays at 10 p.m. on Animal Planet

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