Desperately Seeking a Job: Should You Pull a Crazy Stunt to Get Hired?

job crazy stunt2,000 hours. That’s how long it took Alexander J. Velicky to create a video game résumé with the hope that it would score him at least an interview with his dream company, Bethesda Game Studios.

Velicky is but the latest job hunter who’s garnered national headlines for the lengths to which he’s gone just to land a job. He joins the likes of such other intrepid employment seekers as Liz Hickok, who decorated her house with her résumé spelled out in Christmas lights; Brandon Stuard, an Ohio deputy sheriff who rented a billboard emblazoned with a Please Hire My Wife message; and Paul Nawrocki, who famously donned a suit, tie and sandwich board in the middle of midtown Manhattan when his unemployment benefits were on the verge of running out.

Although the national unemployment rate is dropping—it's currently hovering around 7.3%—the job market is still highly competitive for those who are searching. And if you’ve been out of work for a stretch of time, you may be getting desperate enough to wonder: Should I try something truly wild to separate myself from the competition?

Experts say not necessarily.

“Like everything in life, it depends,” says Dr. Michael Woodward, an executive coach and author of "The YOU Plan: A 5-Step Guide to Taking Charge of Your Career in the New Economy." “If you act like a clown or do something ludicrous just to stand out, then it’s disingenuous and can put people off.”

Jean Baur, author of "The Essential Job Interview Handbook," agrees. “For the most part, I don't recommend stunts or crazy behavior as it's risky,” she says. “I had a client who was in pharmaceutical sales, and after searching for several months and getting really frustrated, he built small wooden boxes for his résumé. Inside each box he placed a hunting arrow on top of a copy of his résumé. Then he delivered these strange objects to companies, telling the receptionists, ‘I always hit the mark!’ Unfortunately, this didn’t lead to interviews or offers ... and some of those companies may have thought he was a bit out-there.”

So before you pay a skywriter to blast your C.V. into the air above the company you want to work for, try these five tips to stand out—without going overboard.

RELATED: 6 Big Resume Flaws—and How to Hide Them

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  • Liz Madsen

    Agreed, you don’t have to do a “crazy stunt” to get hired. But you do need to stand out. So many people blindly submit resumes without hearing anything back, and that doesn’t work these days. The competition is tough, so even with a star resume, you’re just one of hundreds of equally qualified applicants.

    My friends and I interviewed numerous people who used creative techniques — not necessarily “crazy” — to make sure they stood out and got noticed. My team then broke down these techniques in a way that’s easily replicable and can be tailored to apply for a job in any industry. You can read about it here: