A laid-off North Carolina woman who printed her résumé on a cake and sent it to Nike says that 'getting rejection after rejection is hard' but job seekers have to trust themselves


Karly Pavlinac Blackburn had been laid off from her corporate job when she had the idea to print her résumé on a cake and send it to Nike.

"I was fully prepared to buy this cake and just have it sit some random place somewhere," Blackburn, 27, told Insider. But with the help of a friend, a bakery, and a dedicated Instacart driver, her résumé cake would land in the hands of the operations specialist she'd connected with at Nike's Valiant Labs.

Blackburn, who lives in Wilmington, North Carolina, and has been looking for a job in product marketing, said Valiant Labs, a startup incubator within Nike, "resonates" with her background.

Blackburn said she learned more about Valiant Labs after speaking with an operations specialist named Mac Myers, and though she discovered the company was not hiring, she still wanted to put her name on its radar.

Blackburn had gotten the idea for a cake résumé from a former colleague who told her she had to think outside the box if she was going to get the company's attention.

After some research, she said, she discovered that a Nike publicity event was taking place in early September in Beaverton, Oregon, where Nike is headquartered. "I was like, what better time to send a cake than to a party, right?" Blackburn said.

She ordered the cake and planned to have an Instacart driver pick it up to deliver to Nike's headquarters.

The driver, Denise Baldwin, told Insider she was "extremely shocked" when she saw the cake.

"I wasn't really expecting such a nice layout, detailed résumé on a cake," Baldwin said. "I've never seen that before."

Karly Pavlinac Blackburn resume cake
Blackburn's résumé cake. 
Courtesy of Karly Pavlinac Blackburn

Blackburn explained to Baldwin through the Instacart app that she had been laid off and was passionate about a job with Valiant Labs. She said Baldwin promised she'd get the cake into Myers' hands.

Baldwin was tasked with navigating the 286-acre Nike campus, finding her way through a party, and finding Myers — all with a cake and her 8-month-old son in tow.

"Not only was it amazing for me to be on the campus, but to find out I was there that day when all that stuff was going on was even more like, 'Wow, I can't believe this is happening,'" Baldwin said.

She communicated with security while corresponding with Blackburn to make sure the cake made it to Myers. Baldwin said she was given a map and a ride around campus to locate Myers before she was told he was in the LeBron James building. Baldwin said security personnel told her she could leave the cake at the front desk, where they would put Myers' name on it.

She declined. Wanting to make sure Blackburn's résumé made it to Myers personally, she waited by the front desk with her son until Myers was called down.

Baldwin recalled that when Myers arrived, he called the cake "neat" and said he didn't even want to cut into it.

She sent a picture to Blackburn to confirm that the mission had been accomplished.

"I sent it to Karly for a confirmation so that she knew that it got exactly to the person she needed it to be to and she could have peace of mind knowing that her effort was received," Baldwin said.

Mac Myers holding up Karly Blackburn's cake
Mac Myers holding up Blackburn's cake. 
Courtesy of Denise Baldwin

"She waited for him to come up, and she gave it to Mac and got the cake in the right place, and all while holding her son in one arm and cake in the other," Blackburn said. "I don't know how she did that. She was amazing. It's crazy."

Baldwin told Insider she treats every delivery with the same dedication and service because that's how she was raised.

"I was just doing what I normally do and making sure that it got there," Baldwin said. "But I think I put a little bit more because I knew it was a résumé and she really wanted this job. And I knew that if it was me and I wanted to go for Nike I'd want somebody to take the time and put in the effort."

While Baldwin and Blackburn have not met in person, they've become long-distance friends. Baldwin, a pregnant mother of three, said Blackburn offered to mentor her.

"We talk every day, send messages," Baldwin said. "She found out I don't have a computer and I do everything on my phone, and so she's sending me a computer."

Denise Baldwin
Denise Baldwin. 
Courtesy of Denise Baldwin

Blackburn said that she's still searching for a job that resonates with her and that she's talked with several companies since posting about her cake on LinkedIn. She said that remaining confident in her job search had kept her resilient.

"I've had other people reach out saying messages of how this has inspired them," Blackburn said, adding that "a really cool thing about LinkedIn" is that other people could hear her story and know "that they can go out and do whatever it is that they want to do."

She added: "Getting rejection after rejection is hard to see. But the thing is you just have to trust yourself and know that you're amazing and that you have great skills and qualities to offer to whatever company or job that you're applying for. And then the right fit will happen."

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post