5 Creative Ways To Make Your Resume Stand Out

You’re no ordinary candidate, so why settle for a yawner of a resume? Long gone are the days of fancy creamy vanilla paper as the go-to standard. Most resumes are emailed and viewed online. So ditch the old-school approach and leverage the latest technology to make your resume pop.

5 Ways to Make Your Resume Pop

1. Name Your Brand

Begin with few word branding statement that describes your unique brand. Define what makes you stand out as the go-to candidate. Sally Hogshead has a great TED Talk on how to be “fascinating” in a few words or less. If you want a more in-depth view, her book “How the World Sees You” is also a great resource.

2. Create an Infographic

There are few hot new FREE sites (some still in beta) that enable you to import your LinkedIn profile to create info-graphics and visual maps of your experiences and timelines. Visualize.me is super easy (I created my profile in about 20 minutes). I had to laugh, you can even get your “resume” printed on a tee-shirt (heck, you never know when that may be just the right gimic). To get uber-fancy you can use ResumeUp for a really robust infographic. To do it well takes a bit more of a time investment, but if I were in the job market I would go this route. Their online stuff is all free, but if you want to print it, you pay a nominal fee. If you want to use traditional infographic tools, this post gives some great advice on what to include.

3. Make Your LinkedIn Profile Sizzle

LinkedIn is still the first place most recruiters go. The good news is the sites come a long way in the last year. You can now upload video, podcasts, images and other examples of your work. I’ve taken advantage of a lot of this (all with their free service), if it helps as an example, click here.

4. Use Power Words

If all this sounds too sexy, and you want to stay old-school, at least use some power words to strengthen the pull. Jennifer Miller introduced me to this GREAT infographic from ZipRecruiter. They analyzed 3 million resumes and correlated them with managers ratings of “5 star.” Power words include: “experience”, “management,” “project.” Weak words such as “me” “myself” “need” “hard” and “learn” should be avoided.

5. Focus on RESULTS not actions

Whatever you do, don’t just have a list of jobs you’ve done. You wouldn’t believe how many resumes I see that still suffer from this number one no no. For more see 5 Questions Your Resume Must Answer and 15 Things You Should Never Put In a Cover Letter Cover Letter 

Resume Remedy: 5 Questions Your Resume Must Answer

That guy with the job posting already has an “obvious choice.” He’s been grooming several mentees. Others have invested in informational interviews. HR told him he had to post the job, so he’s got a stack of candidates. You’ve got a slim chance. How will your resume stand out?

Your resume must scream, “you would be a knucklehead if you didn’t talk to me. ” I’ve read such resumes. I’ve hired the not-so-obvious choice. It started with a resume that could answer my questions.

5 Questions Your Resume Must Answer

Even if you’re not looking for a job now, pull out your resume. Are you listing responsibilities, or telling a powerful story?

1. Do you drive sustained results?

Most resumes talk responsibilities, scope and scale. Instead, talk % improvement, growth, or $ saved. Resumes must talk numbers. Include your story of sustained change. Resumes without data are fluff.

2. How do you lead?

Provide evidence of leadership. Briefly talk approach. If you led people, don’t describe your accomplishments in terms of “I.” No fluffy words. Specifics invite conversation.

3. Can you adapt and grow?

Show me risks. Linear career path? Talk volunteer gig. Explain how you lead in risky times.

4. Do you care about quality?

Every job search book says, “use spell check.” 80% of resumes I receive include typos. Or bad formatting or misdirected audience. Fix it, or don’t send it.

5. Can you drive innovation?

Talk about how you drove change. Describe how you are an irresistible change agent. (This could be a key differentiator between you and the obvious choice)