Send Your Resume With a Gift To Add Excitement And Get Noticed

by Rich DeMatteo on December 1, 2011 · 34 comments

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Before Corn on the Job’s birth, I spent many great days as a Corporate Recruiter.  There were a number of joys that go along with a job like that.  Here are a couple…

  •  Each time I located talent and turned that candidate into a new employee for the company, it felt like I was giving someone a new life.  It’s a very cool feeling.
  • Helping a troubled or overworked hiring manager make sense of an interview process was also very cool
While the above examples were surely joyous occasions, I’m not sure anything compares to the happiness that being a Corporate Recruiter on the holidays brings.  Let me explain…

As a Corporate Recruiter, you can expect to receive almost constant calls from hopeful agency recruiters looking to score new openings that they can help recruit for.   Any Corporate Recruiter can confirm that it’s rather annoying at times, but normally necessary.  However, during the holidays, the phone calls morph into gifts, and all is right in the world…

So, what do I mean by gifts?  Well, I’ve received 3 pound tins of fancy popcorn in different flavors.  Boxes of amazing chocolate were always a nice surprise.  Oh, and one company even sent me a gift for each of the 12 Days of Christmas.  I forget exactly what each gift was, but it’s the thought that counts, right?

Was each gift giving agency rewarded with a shiny new job to work on?  Not all, but some did.  The agency recruiters that were skilled, successful, and had current or previous experience working with my company were almost always bound to get more work.

By now, you probably see where I’m going with this, so I’ll just come clean…

Send Your Resume With a Gift

Along with sending your resume electronically, attach your resume to a big box of chocolates and address it to HR, the company recruiter, or the hiring manager.  You want to be noticed, right?  This is one way to do it.

And no, it doesn’t need to be a box of chocolates.  Maybe you send a tin of popcorn, with a card that says, “Excited to start popping new ideas at your company”.  Corny, but that’s what I do!  Make the gift somehow relate to the company or position for maximum effect.

Keep in mind that money, gift cards, and the like should really be avoided.  As a rule, keep your gift between $5-$20.

Does Sending a Gift Guarantee a Job?

Absolutely not, but I promise you’ll be remembered!  Up above I mentioned that not every agency recruiter that sent a gift was rewarded with a job to work on for us.  While that’s true, I was much more likely to return their phone calls in the future and I always remembered their nice holiday gesture.

If you send a gift with your resume, you’re absolutely going to be remembered, and more importantly, you’ll be noticed.  After this point, it’s up to your resume to show you’re the person they should hire.  But even if you’re resume isn’t what they want to read, you just might get a call, even if all they have to say is, “thanks”.

Final Thoughts From COTJ

Think back to your childhood.  I know that when I had my choice of opening up a gigantic wrapped box or an envelope, I always chose the big box with a bow!  Always.Well, while people grow up, some things never change.  Whenever I was delivered a box with my name on it, I’d drop the stack of resumes, pick up a pair of scissors, and run dangerously towards my delivery!

Simply put, start bringing excitement to your resume.  When people start running with scissors towards your resume, then you know you’re on the right track.
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31 comments
Glenn Bowers
Glenn Bowers

It is so funny, I came across this. Yesterday I submitted online to a position I was really excited about. I then went on Linkedin to find the recruiters. In reading about the companies growth I got very anxious about being lost. I took two resumes went to Payprus and had them gift wrapped bought two cards filled out personal notes and shipped them off to the two recruiters I located. I immediately felt less anxious so I realized I did it to be noticed but to also make myself feel better that I had attempted everything I could to get their attention. It may not work but in my head I could move on to working another lead.

Ryan Stephens
Ryan Stephens

While I'm a proponent of going above and beyond to get noticed (see: finding a problem within the organization and offering a solution to said problem with resume and cover letter) I think I have to disagree with the idea of a gift. Depending on the line of work, I could see there being some ethical implications as well. Like you said (and I think your sentiment is sound here), you will stand out and you will be noticed and it MIGHT get you an extra glance, but I for one couldn't hire someone (not that you said they would necessarily get hired) who tried to leverage a gift. Good food for thought, nonetheless. Thanks Rich!

hiringmrg
hiringmrg

Please rethink this advice! I just received a resume with a gift, and I immediately disregarded the resume. I have over 250 applicants for this particular position, and am completely focused on qualifications and skills. This gesture to get noticed, while well intended, did not convince me that the applicant is a viable professional for the position - it did convince me that, despite their qualifications, they are not a good fit for my office. To be honest, I am a little creeped out by the whole thing.

Jobdiagnosis
Jobdiagnosis

This is pretty interesting. Sending the resume along with a holiday gift is an excellent idea to make recruiters or hiring managers remember your name for future, when a job position becomes available. Thanks for sharing this wonderful tip!

Kyle Hillman
Kyle Hillman

As someone who hires often, I think this is a brilliant idea. Just for the record I could use a 50 inch LED smart TV, an Ipad 2 (don't even think to send me a version 1), a U.S. Savings bond in any denomination, or gold.. I mean who can't resell gold? Wait I hope this doesn't sound unethical...

Not a sales person
Not a sales person

If you are a recruiter who likes gimmicks like this, then you will get gimmicky candidates, who are just waiting for the next opportunity to gimmick themsleves into a different position or company, at your expense. I think you get what you put out there, and if that is what you want, go for it. Most of us don't. I also think there is a big difference between hiring managers and recruiters; the latter is not interested in sales tactics, she is interested in the best candidate. Recruiters who concentrate on sales tactics as you seem to have emphasised are the reasons good hiring managers don't see eye to eye with you; exemplified by the dialogue between you and Alison. Good luck with those sales.

Alison Green / Ask a Manager
Alison Green / Ask a Manager

"Desperate isn’t a bad thing. Why do people feel like it’s a bad thing? If someone isn’t desperate to work for the job, then why would I hire them? If they don’t desperately want this job and believe it’s their dream, then why hire them?" I think you're talking about passion here, not desperation. Passion for a particular something is great. But desperation isn't; it comes across as not having options. And the best candidates do have options. It's a turn-off -- like a guy who sends an extravagant gift to a blind date he hasn't even met yet. "If I’m a job seeker, and I have a professional resume and a great cover letter, but I’ve received zero responses (and they exist), then the problem is I’m not being noticed." But that person isn't being noticed for a reason. Sometimes it's the the simple math of a job market where there are far more qualified candidates than there are openings. But sometimes it's that the person is applying for the wrong jobs, or doesn't have a strong enough resume (a professional resume isn't enough; it needs to be really strong), or a compelling cover letter. I've heard from tons of readers who say that when they started doing these things (changed up their cover letter, etc.), they started getting interviews when they hadn't before. Anyway, I'm fine with agreeing to disagree, but you called for more back-and-forth over on Twitter, so I wanted to engage a bit more. Didn't mean to harass you though :)

Laetitia Morrisson
Laetitia Morrisson

As a job seeker myself I struggle with this when applying to jobs. Trying to make my resume stand out from all the rest and I agree with Alison that its gimmicky and can be seen as a desperate move and frankly might turn some people off. However I also see the appeal of from Rich's point. With thousands of people sometimes competing for the same job who are all qualified candidates, It can be a great way to capture a recruiter's attention and make yourself noticed! As for me I think that a candidate's resume should speak for itself and you have to approach your job search strategically...thats how you get your resume noticed, so do the work! But as far as the gift idea, I would say if you're going to try it, be smart and what better time then the holidays to try it out! :)

Melissa Moore
Melissa Moore

It would certainly catch my attention, but not in a good way. Most recruiters use pre-employment behavior as an indicator of future behaviors that one can expect in a workplace. Even if the resume was fabulous, it would make me question the candidate's idea of appropriate workplace behavior. After all, I certainly wouldn't think it appropriate for a new-hire to send the CEO a box of chocolates.

Alison Green / Ask a Manager
Alison Green / Ask a Manager

No, I'm not forgetting that :) I get 300+ resumes for every job I hire for. I look at every resume. I don't want to miss the right candidate. I truly believe that hiring managers who do that are managers who don't understand how crucial it is to have the right people on their team. Now, recruiters are different. But I come from the hiring manager side of things. I don't think sales tactics like the ones you described belong in the hiring process. Maybe that's just based on what is and isn't convention, but the reality is that because they're NOT the convention in hiring, they come across as inappropriate, desperate, and unappealing. It's a good way for a candidate to raise a lot of red flags.

Alison Green / Ask a Manager
Alison Green / Ask a Manager

Are you kidding?? Send your resume with a gift? It reeks of a gimmick and of desperation. No hiring manager worth her job would think more highly of a candidate who did this -- and in fact, it would make the bar for the candidate higher, because now there's a big scarlet D for "desperation" stamped on that resume. Really bad advice.

@BarryTheLawyer
@BarryTheLawyer

If in or connected to the UK, keep one eye on the Bribery Act 2010 when sending or receiving gifts which may be seen to have an impact on the decision making process though.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Sorry that I'm just seeing this now, Ryan! I get your points here, but in a world where amazing Resumes and Cover Letters like the one you pointed out are not being read, those candidates sometimes need to do extra. If a company found a gift that was attached to a cover letter like the one you've discussed, then that person might get hired. But 9 out o 10 times, they might not even be noticed. That's the unfortunate world we live in.

MeliMoore
MeliMoore

I couldn't agree more about the creepiness factor. The gifting could likely get the candidate flagged as a potential sexual harrassment liability. (side note: excessive and inappropriate gifting in the workplace can rise to the level of sexual harrassment.) I understand your intentions to make the candidate stand out Rich, but I am going to stick with the opinion that this advice is not suited for 99% of candidates. Exceptions possibly being made for candidates that are applying for some challenging sales positions.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hi Kyle, thanks for the comment! Well, I did laugh, and I do enjoy some sarcasm...especially on a Friday. By "gift", I really mean something like... a 3 Muskateers bar.....or... a box of nerds for an IT position, to make a joke out of their role. Simply something memorable, to help make sure they aren't lost in the mix, which unfortunately happens far too often, even for top talent. If I meet any job seekers willing to sling some gold, I'll know who they should apply to. Have a good weekend!

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

And also, sir or madam, I've had great relationships with hiring managers. I'm not a salesman either, so I'm not sure why you're wishing me good luck with sales. But thanks... whoever you may be.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Haha, well, you can at least say your name. Kind of silly, don't you think? I don't "like" gimmicky candidates... this whole "gimmicky" thing is silly to me. It's called being different and thinking outside of the box. I've never hired a gimmicky candidate, simply because it hasn't been done. And I'm not hiring a "gimmicky" candidate. I'm hiring a candidate that has great experience that matches with the company. How I become aware of them has nothing to do with why I hire them. I need people to start seeing that side of it.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Well, we can agree to disagree while still talking of course. I'm not asking for it to end! I've seen job seekers who have passion, but are also desperate for the job. It's a thin line, but it does happen. People are so caught up on the word "desperate". Sure, if someone isn't passionate for a job, then why would I want them? I probably don't. But if someone doesn't show a little bit of desperation, then I probably can assume they don't want the job as well. And I agree with your points at the bottom. Absolutely. But many people are spot on for the job in both resume and cover letter and still may not get as many call backs. What I'm offering is an idea. Not everyone is going to think it's a bad idea like you. Even if 60% feel it's bad, and 40% think it's good, then there's still a large chance it will go through, and I think it's closer to 50/50. Gimmick or not, if a job seeker pulled it off, the company felt they were innovative and did what they needed to do to be noticed and get the job. If I'm hiring someone in sales or strategy, I at least want to hear them out and hear other ideas for my company. Now, maybe I'll hire someone else who had better ideas. But, I'd still interview them if their experience is on track. That's me. And I know other people would too.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Laetitia, thanks for the comment! Both Melissa and Alison make great points and you need to take their advice here, but also listen to mine. If you have 10 open positions, and you send your resume in a box to all of them. You're making sure that all 10 people receive your resume. If your resume is great and you have solid experience and a wonderful cover letter, then I'm guessing that your phone screens will increase and you'll get a job. Maybe 8 of them turn you down. Maybe 5 turn you down. Maybe 5 of them interview you. Everyone is different, and sometimes, YOU need to be different. Hope this helped.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Melissa, thanks for the comment. I think it all depends on the job they are applying to and that company culture. Some CEO's may love that... in fact, I know some CEO's who would love that. Appropriate? Maybe not. But useful, could be. Yes, we certainly all love to look at behaviors for measuring future performance. If this is a sales candidate who is applying, then maybe it's someone worth considering. Marketing? Maybe. Accounting? Maybe not. The specific job might also apply here, because each job does requirement different behaviors. We're talking about a little gift of chocolate. I mean, let's really break it down. What if a candidate sent a resume that was inside of a big empty box? No gift. Just a box. Just a way of getting noticed. If it's the gift that's the problem, then maybe just send it in a big empty box as a way to gain attention. I for one know that If I ever start applying for jobs again and leave this life of entrepreneurship, that I will certainly be doing things like this, because there is no proof that my resume will be found, and once I'm found, they'll want to hire me. Period.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

You're truly a 1 in a 100 hiring manager. And I think that's awesome. But, most people aren't like you. They just aren't. Most hiring managers are over worked with their job, and will only look at the qualified resumes that are sent their way. Now, if the applicant tracking system or recruiter don't do a good job of screening 1,000 resumes, then some great candidates are missed. But again, I think we'll need to agree to disagree. I don't think it comes across as inappropriate or unappealing, but maybe desperate. But let's be honest. Desperate isn't a bad thing. Why do people feel like it's a bad thing? If someone isn't desperate to work for the job, then why would I hire them? If they don't desperately want this job and believe it's their dream, then why hire them? Come on. If I'm a job seeker, and I have a professional resume and a great cover letter, but I've received zero responses (and they exist), then the problem is I'm not being noticed. Maybe I'm not networking hard enough. Maybe I don't have any referring me in. However, if that person does something out of the ordinary to have their resume noticed, then why not? I'm just stunned by this reaction, but I respect your opinion so I won't say any more.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

We'll have to agree to disagree! It's the SAME thing that sales folks do to win over business. And guess what, it certainly works! Are they desperate? Absolutely, but it just brings notice. The trick is doing it in a tasteful way. It definitely add excitement. It's not something to do every single time a candidate sends a resume, but it's an option and worth trying once. Most people don't want to put in the time or effort to network the right way. What does this leave them with? The only option they have is submitting their resume through the standard online process, which as you probably know, means their resume is basically lost in a black hole. I'm not saying this works, but there are many recruiters or hiring managers who would at least think it's a nice gesture, even if it does seem desperate. And honestly, if someone doesn't desperately want a job, then why am I going to hire them? I want the person who wants the job most, not someone who is just casually interested.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

I disagree, respectfully. But there's no winning you over, so I'll just stick to that. Thanks!

Alison Green / Ask a Manager
Alison Green / Ask a Manager

No, no big box with a resume in it! Because the managers worth working for are going to think, "This person doesn't understand what we'd actually value in a candidate."

Alison Green / Ask a Manager
Alison Green / Ask a Manager

Sorry for the strident tone in my original reply! I just get so frustrated reading advice that tells job seekers to use gimmicks. The way you stand out is by writing a great cover letter, having an awesome resume that demonstrates a clear track record of success in the things the employer is seeking, and interviewing well. Good hiring managers don't respond to anything else. And a hiring manager who does respond to gimmicks is someone you don't want to work for, because they're going to be a manager who doesn't reward based on merit.

MeliMoore
MeliMoore

You do a great job getting candidates to think outside of the box. I disagree with you on this issue but I will surely sport my 'Corn on the Job' tee with pride. :)

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

I don't think you can generalize every hiring manager who thinks someone who would do this is a great fit or not a great fit. If all the company values is submitting a standard resume that is qualified, then why can't they do something to get noticed beyond having a perfect resume and cover letter. That part doesn't make sense to me. I don't see this as trickery. I don't even see it as negative desperation. I just see it as outside of the box thinking by someone who doesn't want to be part of the pile.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Well, we'll have to agree to disagree. Good resumes aren't always found. Too many great candidates slip through the cracks. And honestly, I've known some amazing hiring managers who never read cover letters. You can't sit here and generalize every hiring manager who doesn't cover letters. That's somewhat obnoxious to claim that. Are you forgetting that some jobs have 300 resumes that are sent in? There's no way every resume is found. No way. Most recruiters will admit they miss some good resumes. I don't see this as a gimmick. It's a sales tactic. Why do you think so many agency recruiters take corporate recruiters out to sports events, or give them tickets to a show? It's sales. And so is this tactic. Call it a gimmick if you want, but it's just sales and it will lead to being noticed. If the candidate is a fit, then they'll get a call. A job is what they want.

Alison Green / Ask a Manager
Alison Green / Ask a Manager

Good hiring managers read cover letters. And candidates have no way of knowing if they're dealing with someone who does or doesn't, so they should always include a great one. Good hiring managers read the resumes they receive too -- at least a quick glance. If an employer is good, qualified resumes shouldn't be falling through the cracks. Back to the gift idea -- if it's just to get noticed, it's still a bad idea. It comes across as gimmicky, and that's unattractive.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Alison, in my post I clearly stated that this won't get you hired. Did you read the part where I said, "...you’re absolutely going to be remembered, and more importantly, you’ll be noticed. After this point, it’s up to your resume to show you’re the person they should hire." I've made that clear. I hope you read the whole thing, and didn't just skim or comment because of the title. And honestly, cover letters are hardly read anymore. Most recruiters don't read them or pass them onto a hiring manager. I won't BS with the percentage but it's my guess that 60-80% of recruiters don't read cover letters and go straight to the resume. Also, most resumes are simply missed. There are too many of them. The best candidates sometimes slip through the cracks and that's a shame. ALL this does is get the resume in their hands. If they like the resume, then they'll get a call. If not, then they won't.

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