(NEW YORK) — Getting a foot in the door at a company is a huge step for any job seeker. And one woman’s clever concept involving a cross-country pastry ploy quickly went viral on LinkedIn, but it was an unexpected friendship with the Instacart delivery woman who was integral to the plan that was the real icing on the cake.
Like so many Americans searching for their next move in a sea of creative, well-qualified applicants, 27-year-old Karly Pavlinac Blackburn was hoping to land a conversation at her dream company but got stuck trying to figure out how to break through.
“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 recalled, speaking with ABC News’ Good Morning America.
Although Pavlinac knew there were no open positions with Valiant Labs, Nike’s new business incubator, she took up her colleague’s suggestion in the hopes that it might help her find some favor within their team.
“I was like, I’m actually going to do that,” she said, noting that she hoped the cake would ensure she was “on their mind if roles did come up in the future.”
As for the execution, Pavlinac, who previously founded and sold a celebrity fitness monetization app, admitted “it was kind of difficult” because she lives in Wilmington, North Carolina, and Nike World Headquarters are based in Beaverton, Oregon — meaning she couldn’t just swing by a bakery, pick up a specialty order and deliver it to them herself.
“I’m on the other side of the country trying to get a cake delivered to Nike, [which is] in Oregon,” she said.
Instead, Pavlinac searched online and found an Albertson’s store 4.4 miles from Nike World Headquarters that offered screenprint-frosted photos on sheet cakes with delivery options through Instacart.
“The only difficult thing is when an Instacart delivery is made, you don’t know who’s gonna deliver it,” she said. “The cake has to be made ahead of time, so I had to call Albertsons and I was like, ‘Hey, there’s gonna be a delivery on this day, I know, you don’t know about it yet, but I’m gonna have to have this cake ready. You’re gonna need the image, and it’s gonna have to be ready before they get there [to pick it up]."”
On Sept. 8, an hour ahead of the delivery window at 8 a.m. local time, Pavlinac called the Albertsons store to confirm the order — a half-sheet vanilla cake with her resume printed on top — would be completed.
Everything was on schedule — now all Pavlinac needed was to ensure the cake would make it to its location.
“Lucky for me Denise was the person from Instacart that day to pick up the cake, because she’s just so amazing,” Pavlinac said, referring to highly ranked platinum Instacart courier Denise Baldwin.
Baldwin had her own to-do list once she arrived at the store to pick up the cake delivery.
“[Pavlinac] wanted me to take a look at it and make sure it looked OK,” Baldwin told GMA of the initial instructions that came with the Instacart order. “Me and the baker were both talking about it, because we couldn’t believe that somebody had gone out of the box and did a resume on a cake … I messaged Karly and said, ‘It looks great. I’m on my way to the campus, and I’ll let you know how things go."”
The two stayed in constant communication after Baldwin left the store and navigated the massive Nike campus in search of Mac Myers from Business Operations at Nike Valiant Labs.
“She gets there and someone from security was like, ‘OK leave the cake here.’ And [Denise] said, ‘No, I have to give it to Mac, I have to see it go in his hands,"” Pavlinac recalled. “At the time I didn’t know this, but she had her 8-month-old son on one hip the whole time — she didn’t even tell me, she was just like, ‘I’m gonna get it done."”
The working mom of three — with another on the way — told Pavlinac, “‘Don’t worry, I’m here on the campus. I’ll do whatever it takes."”
Myers eventually came down after a call from security letting him know about the delivery. According to Baldwin, Myers was “kind of blown away” and even asked to take a picture of himself with the cake for confirmation.
The pair later shared their story in a now-viral LinkedIn post, which has been liked more than 100,000 times and garnered thousands of comments.
Pavlinac has been busy ever since with back-to-back calls from recruiters and potential employers. She’s also been checking in regularly with her new mentee, Baldwin, who is looking for her dream job as well.
“My day is jam-packed from 8 [a.m.] to 5 [p.m.] with conversations, interviews — I have so many amazing messages from people on LinkedIn that I’m still trying to go through,” Pavlinac said, adding that she has her sights set on a future in product marketing.
“The cool thing afterwards was, [Denise] texted me, ‘You’ve inspired me to go chase after something better,"” Pavlinac said. “I told her whatever I can do to help find a job … be it sharing documents on ‘how to do a job should search’ or talk[ing] about what jobs might fit.”
Baldwin, a self-described “go-getter,” said she’s looking for a position in an assistant or human resources role that capitalizes on her communications and multitasking skills.
“I’m just trying to get my foot in the door where I can have good benefits for my kids and have some security and stability,” she said.
Perhaps more important is the newfound friendship the two women have developed as a result of their cake delivery scheme — and what that friendship has taught them both.
“Denise inspires me to be a better person,” Pavlinac said.
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