Karin’s Leadership Articles

5 Questions Your Resume Should Answer

5 Creative Ways To Make Your Resume Stand Out

by | Jul 30, 2014 | By Karin Hurt, Career & Learning |

Show Up Extraordinary With a Better Resume

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 create a 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 

Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt helps human-centered leaders resolve workplace ambiguity and chaos, so that they can drive innovation, productivity and revenue without burning out employees. She’s the founder and CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders, an international leadership development and training firm known for practical tools and leadership development programs that stick. She’s the award-winning author of four books including Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates and Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results-Without Losing Your Soul and a hosts the popular Asking For a Friend Vlog on LinkedIn. A former Verizon Wireless executive, Karin was named to Inc. Magazine’s list of great leadership speakers. Karin and her husband and business partner, David Dye, are committed to their philanthropic initiative, Winning Wells – building clean water wells for the people of Cambodia.


  1. Steve Borek

    The world has changed regarding CV’s. It’s all driven by keywords. Sort of what we do when creating our web pages.

    I like the idea of creating an about me page on the web. Blog like. Have a nice photo along with what you’ve done, your aspirations, etc.

    A blog page sets you apart from the field.

    • Karin Hurt

      Steve, I so agree. I remember the days when every resume had to look the same. A great track record is key, but then using the right words and presentation to stand out.

  2. Terri Klass

    Being creative about how we present ourselves is the name of the game today to stand out and find our best opportunities.

    Your suggestions are great as is Steve’s About Me page. I would add that it is also important to have a professional social media presence and cultivate the brand you want to be out there. Join tweetchats and retweet thought leaders. Get use to sharing your ideas and expertise.

    Thanks Karin!

    • Karin Hurt

      Terri Terrific add. There are so many places to show up well.

  3. Bill Benoist

    Great post, Karin

    I’m fortunate, I’ve not had to look for a job during the past 18 years; and as I transition to full-time entrepreneur, hopefully will not need to again. But if I did, I would probably make my first stop the classified section of the Sunday newspaper. (They still sell newspapers, right?)

    Your post is a good reminder for us Baby Boomers we need to understand how things have changed over the years, and what worked before may not work too well now.

    • Karin Hurt

      Bill, love it…. yeah, I think you might have more luck finding a job on Craig’s list than in the classifieds 😉

  4. Gilles Mamane

    Great advice. Just heard you on the radio (CJAD). Great advice.

    • Karin Hurt

      Gilles, Thanks so much. I had so much fun doing the radio show. I hope you will stop back in our community.

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