Cookie Resumes: How to sweet talk your way into a job

Bakery owner Kelly Delaney wants you to sugar coat your resume and business cards. (Photo Source: Boston Herald)

THE WORKING STIFF — By Darren Garnick
The Boston Herald
March 3, 2010
If you were looking for a job 20 years ago, your choices for resume paper and matching envelopes would have been dizzying. You’d be confronted with a full rainbow spectrum of light blues, greys, browns, beiges and pinks — and more shades of white than you’d find at the paint shop. Today, consider yourself lucky if your office supply store stocks anything at all.

At a time when most job applications are submitted electronically, pastry chef Kelly Delaney is hoping the printed resume makes one last stand. She uses food coloring ink on edible sugar paper and embeds your career highlights into an 8.5″ x 11″ iced sugar dough cookie.

“We want you to land a job, but even if you don’t, you’ll make an impact and people will remember your name,” says Delaney, owner of the Cakes for Occasions bakery in Danvers.

“Even in the driest of all industries, you can break the mold, be creative and give the HR department something to nibble on,” she adds.

Cakes for Occasions sells each resume cookie for $18, but for $30 will shrinkwrap it with your real resume, pack it in bubble wrap and mail it to your prospective employer (Delaney’s personal cookie credentials arrived at the Working Stiff’s address uncracked). At those prices, she acknowledges, it doesn’t make sense to blanket the job market with giant cookies — just target the few jobs where you really want to make an impression.

As a bonus, all resume cookies are nut-free, so there is no chance of accidentally harming a hiring manager with food allergies. Delaney, who fields an average of 11,000 customized cake orders a year, also will make chocolate or gingerbread-based resumes.

Although edible resumes seem like a slam dunk for an event planning, restaurant or marketing position, would an accountant boost his or her chances with an IRS 1040 tax form cookie?

There are absolutely no rules when it comes to marketing yourself, says career coach Jay Block, author of “101 Best Ways to Land a Job in Troubled Times.”

“If we know our audience and the types of people who will be reading our resume, we need to stand out professionally and communicate our value better than our competition,” he says. “Assembly-line, lookalike resumes – or what I call ‘chronological obituaries’ – are useless in today’s high unemployment job market.”

“So long as (a resume cookie) communicates value, will be accepted by the hiring manager and doesn’t melt or get smashed in the process, why not give it a try?” Block adds.

Not surprisingly, one place where it would be safe to submit a yummy resume is the Cakes for Occasions bakery, which currently employs a crew of 25. Delaney says if she had any job openings now, a creative application “would speak volumes” to her.

“You can teach someone how your business works,” she says. “But you can’t teach someone how to have a personality. I love anything that shows you are not afraid to take a risk.”

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