Express yourself: How to make your creative job application stand out from the crowd

It’s the time of year when thousands of students across the UK are busy applying for graduate programmes and positions following the end of their exams next month. Each job will be hotly contested by plucky applicants, all trying to set themselves apart from one another in a saturated market.But the days of the simple CV and cover letter combo are long gone – online portfolios, your presence on social media as well as a creative flair have become essential. So, as today’s grads battle it out to get their foot in the door, here’s my pick of some of the most creative ways people have succeeded…

Remember that in job-hunting, you’re advertising yourself: One of the most memorable stunts from the recent past, which ended up inspiring many others, was this £500 self-marketing campaign from Adam Pacitti, an unemployed film producer. Adam used a billboard to promote…. himself, directing people to a website that hosted his CV and linked to his social media profiles. One of the first of its kind, it went viral immediately and secured Adam dozens of job offers within days.

Image: The Drum

A lesson in self-marketing: Graduate Alfred Ajani made headlines by standing in busy London Waterloo station holding a up a sign which listed his qualifications and availability. He received an incredible number of responses and great media publicity, mainly due to the sheer volume of people he encountered and his confidence in throwing himself in at the deep end. Alfred is now working in a recruitment role.

Image: Metro

Find new ways to ensure your CV gets noticed: I love this stunt from 22 year old Kate. To win over the editors of Cosmopolitan magazine, she sent QR code iced cupcakes made at a specialist bakery in support of her job application. The QR code linked through to her website/CV when scanned and provided a tasty treat for the powers that be. Kate now works full-time as an independent blogger.

Image: Scarphelia

Understand your target: They say imitation is the highest form of flattery. In an application for an Amazon vacancy, Philippe Dubost created an entire CV website in the style of an Amazon product listing, complete with “reviews” from past employers. 1.5 million page views and a storm on social media later, he of course got the job.

Image: Philippe Dubost

Balance style and substance: Finally, a slightly less dramatic but nevertheless important part of any application is the CV or portfolio you submit. An elegant yet eye-catching layout can make all the difference to a recruiter who will have to sift through dozens if not hundreds of similar pages. This one from Chris Rowe is a perfect example of how to balance style and substance.

Image: Chris Rowe

What’s the most inventive way you’ve set yourself apart from the competition in a job application? Share your thoughts on these examples and your own experiences in the comments section below.