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Joy

Woman gets job after printing resume on cake: ‘Don't be afraid to do something out of the box’

She has some great advice for pursuing your dreams.

karly blackburn, denise baldwin, nike

The cake that Karly Blackburn sent to Nike.

Even though the United States is going through a labor shortage, high-profile jobs are still tough as ever to get. In a world where hundreds of applicants send in their resumes for the same job, it can be hard to stand out.

Karly Pavlinac Blackburn of Wilmington, North Carolina, was lamenting that the jobs she wanted were too competitive when a colleague suggested the 27-year-old do something dramatic to get her name out there.

"I was actually talking to my former colleague about getting in front of employers—and he was like, 'Well, Karly you need to do better ... show up in a creative way ... what about a resume on a cake?'" she told Good Morning America.

So Blackburn did just that.


Blackburn dreamed of getting a job at Nike’s new business incubator, Valiant Labs in Beaverton, Oregon. So she decided she’d get a cake with her resume printed on top and send it to the person who makes hiring decisions. She picked the perfect day to send the cake, September 8, 2022, or as they call it in Beaverton, Just Do It Day.

But it wasn’t going to be that easy. She couldn’t just drive over to a bakery, pick up a cake and deliver it to Nike 3,000 miles away.

She ordered the cake ahead of time at an Albertson’s grocery store near the Nike campus and contacted Instacart to make the delivery. Luckily for Blackburn, the delivery driver was Denise Baldwin, a single mother of three, who goes the extra mile for her customers.

"That’s just how I do my Instacart. Like every order I take, I take it as if I was putting groceries in my home or taking stuff to my spot or a family member that needs help," Baldwin told Today. "I take every order into consideration and make sure I do my best with every order."

With the delicate sheet cake in one hand and her 8-month-old son in the other, Baldwin traversed the 300-acre Nike campus and wouldn’t stop until she found her person. "I knew navigating Nike’s large campus was a feat, but combining a giant party with tons of people on top of that adds another layer of complexity to this delivery," Blackburn wrote on LinkedIn.

Even though security asked Baldwin to leave the cake at the front desk, she was firm that she had to hand deliver it to the correct person. With the help of security, she was able to do just that.

Baldwin was inspired by Blackburn’s dedication to furthering herself.

"You have inspired me," Baldwin told Blackburn. "This was meant to be. I am a mom and I am tired of doing Instacart. I know I have more abilities and qualifications to get something better. I'm so glad this worked for the both of us."

Blackburn posted about the cake delivery on LinkedIn where it went viral, receiving over 132,000 likes. Even though she didn’t get a job at Nike, her resume got her a lot of attention from potential employers.

On Monday, January 30, Blackburn will start a new job at CureMint.

"I will be the director of growth marketing at a software startup called CureMint—we make software that helps dental companies automate their business," she told Good Morning America. "To be on the other side of the job hunt feels good. It has definitely been a roller coaster with the virality of the LinkedIn post."

Blackburn hopes that her unique way of approaching her job search inspires others to find imaginative ways to get themselves noticed.

"Don't be afraid to do something out of the box and never give up on what you really want,” she told Good Morning America. “Because it will happen, you just have to keep going."

True

Do you ever feel like you could be doing more when it comes to making a positive impact on your community? The messaging around giving back is louder than ever this time of year, and for good reason; It is the season of giving, after all.

If you’ve ever wondered who is responsible for bringing many of the giving-back initiatives to life, it’s probably not who you’d expect. The masterminds behind these types of campaigns are project managers.

Using their talents and skills, often proven by earning certifications from the Project Management Institute (PMI), project managers are driving real change and increasing the success rate on projects that truly improve our world.

To celebrate the work that project managers are doing behind the scenes to make a difference, we spoke with two people doing more than their part to make an impact.

In his current role as a Project Management Professional (PMP)-certified project manager and environmental engineer for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Joshua Williard oversees the cleanup of some of America’s most contaminated and hazardous waste sites.

Courtesy of Joshua Williard

“Recently, I was part of a four-person diving team sent to collect contaminated sediment samples from the bottom of a river in Southeastern Virginia. We wanted to ensure a containment wall was successfully blocking the release of waste into an adjacent river,” Williard says.

Through his work, Josh drives restoration efforts to completion so contaminated land can again be used beneficially, and so future generations will not be at risk of exposure to harmful chemicals.

“I’ve been inspired by the natural world from a young age and always loved being outside. As I gained an understanding about Earth's trajectory, I realized that I wanted to be part of trying to save it and keep it for future generations.

“I learned the importance of using different management styles to address various project challenges. I saw the value in building meaningful relationships with key community members. I came to see that effective project management can make a real difference in getting things done and having on-the-ground impact,” Williard says.

In addition, Monica Chan’s career in project management has enabled her to work at the forefront of conservation efforts with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF-US). She most recently has been managing a climate change project, working with a diverse team including scientists, policy experts, data analysts, biologists, communicators, and more. The goal is to leverage grants to protect and restore mangroves, forests, and ecosystems, and drive demand in seaweed farming – all to harness nature's power to address the climate crisis.

Courtesy of Monica Chan

“As the project management lead for WWF-US, I am collaborating across the organization to build a project management framework that adapts to our diverse projects. Given that WWF's overarching objectives center on conserving nature and addressing imminent threats to the diversity of life on Earth, the stakes are exceptionally high in how we approach projects,” says Chan.

“Throughout my journey, I've discovered a deep passion for project management's ability to unite people for shared goals, contributing meaningfully to environmental conservation,” she says.

With skills learned from on-the-job experience and resources from PMI, project managers are the central point of connection for social impact campaigns, driving them forward and solving problems along the way. They are integral to bringing these projects to life, and they find support from their peers in PMI’s community.

PMI has a global network of more than 300 chapters and serves as a community for project managers – at every stage of their career. Members can share knowledge, celebrate impact, and learn together through resources, events, and other programs such as PMI’s Hours for Impact program, which encourages PMI members to volunteer their time to projects directly supporting the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

“By tapping into PMI's extensive network and resources, I've expanded my project management knowledge and skills, gaining insights from seasoned professionals in diverse industries, including environmental management. Exposure to different perspectives has kept me informed about industry trends, best practices, and allowed me to tailor my approach to the unique challenges of the non-profit sector,” Chan says.

“Obtaining my PMP certification has been a game-changer, propelling not only my career growth, but also reshaping my approach to daily projects, both personally and professionally,” Chan says. Research from PMI shows that a career in project management means being part of an industry on the rise, as the global economy will need 25 million new project professionals by 2030 and the median salary for project practitioners in the U.S. is $120K.

PMI’s mission is to help professionals build project management skills through online courses, networking, and other learning opportunities, help them prove their proficiency in project management through certifications, and champion the work that project professionals, like Joshua and Monica, do around the world.

For those interested in pursuing a career in project management to help make a difference, PMI’s Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification could be the starting point to help get your foot in the door.

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