For my internship last summer, I was in a pool of 5,000 applicants for less than 300 spots. While I was lucky enough to make it through to an interview, prove myself there and get the internship, many don’t get that chance in a pool that big. No matter your skills and abilities, with an ordinary “safe” resume and cover letter you have a pretty high chance of simply being lost in the shuffle. There will always be applicants with good grades or prestigious alma maters or impressive activities, so we can’t rely on those things alone to make us stand out. And simply talking about our skills and personal qualities likely won’t help us separate from the pack either.
Trying to land a Home Depot internship that usually gets 20,000+ applicants for just a few hundred spots, Cole “Home Depot Kid” Warner didn’t want to risk getting overlooked. So he found a way to make sure his application stood out above them all. He constructed this physical resume in the form of a Home Depot toolbox, with 3D tool-related puns showcasing all of his personal qualities. It was so creative and well done that a senior talent manager at Home Depot posted it online, where it blew up and was viewed by over two million people in just a couple days.
The social media response was so great that the manager, Philip Newman, wrote a whole article talking about resumes and creativity and comparing Cole to Da Vinci. Cole got the gig, and probably has a leg up in all his future endeavors by virtue of his viral fame and being able to introduce himself as “That Home Depot Kid.”
It all started with a show-them-don’t-tell-them attitude, an absolute determination to get himself noticed for the internship he really wanted, and a toolbox of creativity.
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