Yesterday, in addition to the client emails, promotions, and social media requests, I got an email from a guy named David. As a lot of people do, David asked me to take a quick look over his resume. He assured me it was perfect, but he still wasn’t getting job interviews.
When I looked at his resume, it was immediately obvious what the problem was. His resume looked like everyone else’s! Unless you have a ton of great experiences or come pre-recommend, you have to make sure that your resume stands out from the dozens of other resumes that recruiters and hiring managers see each and every day.
The ways you can make your resume stand out are limited only by your creativity — and basic common sense regarding what’s appropriate in business contexts. Let’s look at seven examples I recommend of ways to make your resume stand out.
1. The Story Resume
A story resume takes your experiences and qualifications and weaves them together into a coherent and clear narrative. You want to aim for less than a page in length and include all relevant information about yourself, your education, your experiences, and where you ultimately see yourself at the company to which you are applying.
2. The Sales-Page Resume
Phillip Dubost created the most famous sales-page resume when he created an Amazon-style profile as his resume a few years back. I have helped clients develop a wide variety of sales-page resumes both in print and online. A sales-page resume is one of the easiest and most effective ways to stand out.
3. The Delicious Resume
This is the riskiest of the creative resume ideas I’m sharing today, but a small personalized gift of food could be a great way to make your resume stand out.
A former client of mine, Charlene, sent a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies to the P.R. agency she was applying to — and she was called in for an interview the very next day.
4. The Video Resume
A video resume is an easy way to display your personality. I recommend that your video resume be less than three minutes long. Use a program like Camtasia to combine video of yourself with video of your computer screen, where you can display a PowerPoint presentation that covers your accomplishments and resume.
5. The Colorful Resume
Another easy way to stand out, especially when turning in a paper resume, is to print your resume on paper that isn’t white.
For example, quite a few of my job seekers have gotten jobs using resumes with black type printed on red paper.
6. The Over- or Undersized Resume
A great tip for going to networking events is to create a business-card-sized resume you can hand out. I recommend placing a picture of yourself and your contact info on the front of the card and printing your resume info on the back.
You can also go the opposite direction and blow up your resume, printing it on larger paper and using larger fonts.
7. The Example Resume
The last creative resume I want to share with you is what I call the “example resume.”
With the example resume, you turn in not just your resume, but also an example of the work you would be doing for the company.
My student Mark was applying for a job managing a real estate company’s website. He noticed that the company did not have a blog, so he created one on his own and emailed a link to the company, a long with his resume.
He was hired without even needing to attend an interview!
Hopefully this article has sparked your creativity when it comes to making your resume stand out! Don’t just limit yourself to the resumes presented here – really stretch yourself to come up with the perfect resume for the job you want!
And, of course, take into account the type of organization you are applying to. While many companies will be receptive to nontraditional resumes, other organizations — especially large, established companies — will reject such resumes outright. Take some time to get to know a company before you send a creative resume!