width=282How much value does sending your résumé to a hiring manager on the bottom of a shoebox, or in a lipstick tube add? Creativity might be the way to land that desired interview. Especially in today's tight economic market with jobs becoming scarce, applicants are using creative measures to get in front of hiring managers. I found an article on CNN some time ago about extreme approaches to landing the interview. Some of them, while clever, can be construed as unprofessional.

While the practice of sending your résumé in a cardboard cake is not as uncommon within highly creative environments, it is definitely more unconventional when applying for a position within a professional services firm or within the IT industry, for example. Initially this approach might yield some results; but this is only the first step. Once in the interview, you still have to demonstrate you can add value, understand the needs of the company, and the position. Getting noticed is only the first step in what can be a long process - especially now.

While some of these 'gimmicks' might land the initial interview, the real work begins when you have to present your qualifications in a personal meeting - or more likely, many personal meetings. I recommend using a network of contacts and professional memberships along with using LinkedIn, Facebook, and even Twitter to promote you; this will increase your network base. Follow-up with a handwritten thank-you note after a meeting. This demonstrates interest and sincerity. It is easy to quickly send off an e-mail thank-you note. A card shows that you are willing to go the extra mile.

Ultimately, it is nearly impossible to find a place for the shoebox résumé! Where can you store such a thing?! Certainly, you cannot put that in a personnel file! Keep it professional. Highlight your accomplishments and remain focused on your search to yield the results you desire.

Debra Wheatman has more than 20 years' experience developing career roadmaps to achieve professional success. Having coached thousands of clients, and written more than 10,000 résumés, Debra understands the importance of proper career planning. She has successfully helped clients negotiate improved compensation and positions in leading organizations.