Thinking outside the box can lead to job offers

Gianluca Cuestas
Kylee Vest stands outside the Museum of Art, where she got a job after including a description of a previous position digging ditches on her resume. (Gianluca Cuestas)

Students on the job hunt should use a dose of creativity and persistence while showcasing their experiences, University Career Services directors say.

A Lithuanian man recently received a job in San Francisco after hiding his resume in boxes of donuts and making in-person deliveries to executives.

Colton Griffiths, BYU associate director of career advancement, said although displaying personality is important, students shouldn’t think they have to make a show when it comes to applying to jobs.

“There are more productive ways for college students to get hired than to do a gimmick,” Griffiths said.

It is necessary to stand out to potential employers, according to Griffiths, and the most important factor when applying to a job is being prepared. He suggested students do research about the companies where they are applying to prove knowledgeable to the employer.

Griffiths also said experience stands out to employers.

“Let your experience speak for itself,” Griffiths said. “And make sure you’ve had enough experiences to really show what you’ve done.”

As far as creativity goes, Griffith said a resume is the perfect place to show off what sets a student apart from others. It’s important to have a little personality in resumes, he said, and it’s possible to have some fun while staying professional.

“Creativity is really useful, but persistence is just as important,” Griffiths added.

Quinn Johnson, who works in web developing and marketing in University Career Services, said he has seen good results from adding personal interests, including bowling and PokemonGo, to his resume.

“I’ve had people want to talk to me just because of what was on my resume,” Johnson said.

He said students can phrase their interests in unique ways to show off their personalities and make themselves stand out to an employer.

Kylee Vest, a freshman studying psychology, saw positive results following this idea. Vest said she was concerned about her limited work experience when applying to on-campus jobs. She decided to put “digging ditches” on her resume, referring to working for a canal company earlier that year.

The unusual trait caught her employer’s eye, and Vest said he specifically brought it up in the interview.

“He said it had really impressed him because it showed I was willing to do manual labor,” Vest said.

Later Vest found out she had gotten the job. She now works as a security guard at the Museum of Art.

Griffiths said whatever approach a student chooses to take, it is important to keep the company in mind and its overall message and atmosphere.

Leslie Bates, associate director of career advancement, said she believes dedicated effort is a key part in applying to any job. Working hard to develop resumes, quantifying what students are able to do and improving confidence all play important roles.

Bates said University Career Services has several resources available to students. She said the center brings employers to campus and tries to connect them to students.

“The earlier students come to talk to the career center, the better,” Bates said.

Griffiths said he agreed, adding that the career fairs lead to job placement as well. He said about 60 percent of students found jobs through the last STEM career fair.

BYU Bridge is another free tool available to students. Those seeking jobs or internships can upload their resumes to BYU Bridge to have a good chance of being seen by potential employers.

“It’s low effort and high success,” Johnson said. “It’s really effective.”

Other resources include “Take a Cougar to Lunch” and LinkedIn. Griffiths said BYU has a great alumni network more interested in students’ success than he has ever seen in other schools.

Although it is important to stand out to potential employers, BYU career professionals ultimately believe there are better ways than hiding a resume in a box of donuts.

Hard work and creativity in the appropriate places have led to great success for students in the past and have a good chance of future success.

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