In a recent LinkedIn post that has gone viral, North Carolina-based Karly Pavlinac Blackburn shared how she chose to think outside of the box in hopes to secure her dream job at Nike.
According to the post, Blackburn's goal was to land a coveted position at Valiant Labs, a startup incubator for Nike ideas. Because working for a corporation like Nike is highly sought-after, Blackburn knew in order to be considered, she had to stand out. She couldn't just submit the typical resume. The catch was that Valiant Labs wasn't currently hiring for any positions.
Despite that, Blackburn's tenacious passion to make it happen, along with some pivotal advice, inspired a daring move. "Karly do better, this is a creative place, show up in a creative way!” was the advice her colleague Trent Gander shared.
Doing some research, she found out that Nike was having its Just Do It Day celebration. It wasn't an ordinary celebration either as featured guests included the likes of LeBron James and Colin Kaepernick, to name a few. That's when the clever idea hit her: send a cake with her resume printed on it to the party.
"How could I get an edible resume on top of a cake delivered to a party (I wasn’t invited to), to THE team I wanted it to go to, from North Carolina all the way to Beaverton, Oregon," Blackburn pondered.
Clearly there were several complications to consider. Nike Headquarters is a massive 300-acre campus with over 75 buildings. And also, how could she possibly find someone with the matching tenacity to ensure delivery? Furthermore, Blackburn not only wanted to deliver the cake to Nike HQ, but wanted it taken directly to Valiant Labs’ employer.
Like any goal one looks to accomplish, she decided to take it one step at a time. After identifying the nearest Albertsons grocery store through Instacart, the first step was to place an order for a cake with an edible picture image. That was the easy part. The next step, finding a determined delivery driver, came surprisingly easy. Good fortune was on her side.
The Instacart driver happened to be a single mother of three (with another child due in March), Denise Baldwin. Blackburn was able to get Baldwin on the phone to express her unique goal.
"I talked to Denise on the phone and she said to me, 'Karly I know this is important to you, and I will do whatever IT takes to get this cake to where it needs to be'," she shared in her LinkedIn post.
When interviewed by TODAY, Baldwin explained how she only had the name of the person the cake needed to be delivered to, but no clue as to the person's location. Although she was asked to leave it at the front desk, she was resolved to get it to the person in question, carrying the cake in one hand and her eight-month-old son in her other.
“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 explained. “I take every order into consideration and make sure I do my best with every order. So I do have almost five stars Gold Member, so I take pride in that, knowing that my customers are happy."
Knowing what it's like to be a woman with career ambitions, ensuring the cake was delivered with care and attention was important for Baldwin. After some effort she successfully located the employer Blackburn hoped to give her resume cake.
“I waited, and they called him down. It took a few minutes, and then he came down,” Baldwin explained, adding that she asked if he would take a picture with the cake for confirmation. “He said to me, ‘Oh, a cake, it’s too nice for me to cut it into.’"
Admiring Blackburn's clever resourcefulness, completing the mission lit a fire inside of Baldwin. The shared-experience kindled a friendship between the two, with Blackburn offering to help Baldwin pursue her career ambitions. Since then, Baldwin has created a LinkedIn, and thanks to the cake story, has already received interest from potential jobs.
As for Blackburn, her out-of-the-box approach has successfully landed her an interview with the Valiant Labs employer and others as well.
“I have a few meetings next week, so that’s exciting,” she explained. “Now that this has happened, there are a bunch of companies that are kind of involved in the process. So I’m just trying to figure out where I fit in, what’s the right fit culture-wise, and a company that has a good mission and is doing something great not just within their product, but for other people.”