Standing out from the competition is always a challenge in a job search. And, although it is said that “there is nothing new under the sun,” there are those individuals who come up with novel ideas for breaking through in terms of getting noticed by a hiring manager. Follow me over the jump for some truly innovative strategies for getting noticed in the sea of resumes. A man from the Midwest got hired for a job for which he had applied previously without success. In order to get himself noticed, he sent a copy of his resume in a box with his cover letter. Along with his resume, he enclosed a paper Starbucks cup and a note requesting that the hiring manager meet him for coffee. He followed up with a phone call. Although he had been completely ignored the initial time he submitted, he certainly was not ignored the second time. This strategy has now been trademarked as the “Coffee Cup Caper™.” (Of course, it goes without saying that your resume be perfectly written, formatted and concise and on excellent paper stock.) Taking the “caper” a step further, another job seeker had coffee mugs printed with the header graphics from his own website and the words, “Let’s Have Coffee.” He then sent his resumes out in a box with one of his mugs and, within three and a half hours of the first one he sent, he received a call back for a phone meeting. Another innovator sent a chocolate-covered apple with a hand-written thank-you note for an interview she had been granted. She had a friend who was not working that day hand-carry it to the employer. It was such a big hit, the employer called and arranged her much desired second interview, this time with the executive vice president! After the interview, she went home and prepared a 30-60-90 day plan using information she had garnered in the interview to create suggestions for what she would do in the first 30-60-90 days if she were hired. She sent that out Fed-Ex with yet another thank you note. And, guess what? She got a job offer! In a very extravagant manner, presented here just to show you the novelty of some people’s approach to creative job searching, a Connecticut woman rented a billboard along Interstate 95: It read: “Hire me! Unemployed and seeking employment.” Next to that was a picture of her in pearls and a blue button-down shirt. While not everyone can afford a billboard, the coffee cup in the box strategy seems like a creative, affordable and memorable way to differentiate yourself. Anyone have any creative ways to be noticed they’d care to share?