I Handed Out “Dating Resumes” & Went Viral On TikTok

What started as a fun idea became a real meet-cute strategy.

Lindsay Hattrick/Elite Daily; Shutterstock; @crazyauntemily/Tiktok

Emily Zgoda, known as @crazyauntemily on TikTok, is on the hunt for love. Since settling down in San Diego, California, she’s taken her search off the apps and into the wild, documenting her unique strategy online. For almost a year now, the 27-year-old has been handing out “dating resumes” to men she runs into at Costco, Home Depot, or the Apple Store, among other places. Similar to an online dating profile, the physical cards include her name, photo, contact information, and some fun prompts about her hobbies and interests, like that one of her “special skills” is singing every line to “Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride.”

The first TikTok of her handing out a card at Costco, uploaded in August 2022, garnered more than 600,000 views — and the second one brought in more than 2.4 million. She’s since posted more than 15 videos of herself shooting her shot with dating resumes. In this as-told-to, Zgoda shares how she came up with the idea, her strategy for overcoming nerves, and whether her courageous approach has led to love.

I’ve been on and off dating apps for years. I’m not anti apps, but I’ve never liked how they feel like a fake profile. You’re just creating this image of yourself. That’s why I stepped back from them in the past year and came up with this idea, without really meaning to.

On my 27th birthday, my roommate printed out hundreds of goofy photos of me in my natural element. When the day was over, she took them all down, and I was just staring at them. I thought, “Well, I don’t really want to make a shrine of myself. I should use them to try to find love.” So I decided to make these dating resumes and hand them out at bars or grocery stores, wherever I go.

I didn’t even know I was even being recorded the first time I handed out a dating resume. My roommate’s little sister, Cece, shot the video really quickly. She and I pulled off at a Costco to get gas on the way to a concert, and I had some dating resumes with me to hand out at the show. Right away, I saw a cute surfer guy and went up to him. I was nervous, but I thought, “It’s funny. Who cares?” He loved it and thought it was so cool. He was smiling from ear to ear.

When Cece posted that first video on what would later become my TikTok account (it was Cece’s account at first), it went viral. A week later, the guy texted it to me cracking up. He thought it was hysterical, but he never took me on a date. A lot of times, the guys see the videos afterward and think the whole thing was a joke, but it’s not all fun and games. It is fun, but I’m also very ready to find my husband. My goal is to find love.

On the bright side, the online engagement has made me a lot more excited to date. People seem to admire the courage it takes to approach someone in person. My followers love the idea, and I’ve even seen other TikTokers making their own dating resumes. I’ve been tagged in a few posts of people going to baseball games and handing them out, and that’s been really cool. I don’t know if it’s worked for them, but I hope it has.

I’ve since handed out 15 to 20 cards. I’ve always gotten a text from the guy, but I haven’t actually met up with anyone or gone on any dates, so I’m planning on changing my strategy a bit. Before, I’d just go up to them and say, “Hey, you’re cute. Here’s my dating resume.” But then I’d get nervous and walk away. I want to make it more conversational — give them the card and ask what they do or invite them to something my friends are doing later.

I’ve been taking a break from dating, but now that work has calmed down a bit, I’m going to get back out there soon. I’m locked and loaded. I have a new batch of resumes ready to go. And handing them out has gotten a lot easier. I remind myself that it’s either going to be a “heck yes” or “no.” And the noes are good because they lead me to Mr. Right. I figure if it’s not going to matter in five years, don’t worry about it for even five minutes. Shoot your shot.

Of course, I still get nervous, but I try to remember that nervousness and excitement are similar emotions. I tell myself, “I’m just excited to do this.” In general, my main takeaway from this experiment has been to not be afraid of rejection. Everyone gets rejected at some point, and it’s not personal. It’s usually about what the other person’s going through or their life experiences. So I keep the concept light and fun, and stay strapped with the cards for whenever I see a really cute guy.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.