14 Amazing Ways To Make Your Resume Stand Out From The Crowd

By Jason Clayton on November 17, 2016

It's a crowded job market and everyone is fiercely fighting for a piece of the pie. The average recruiter spends approximately six seconds reviewing every resume that crosses his desk. When you have a pile of resumes a foot high, you simply don't have more time to give each resume.

This means that the standard, boring resume created in Microsoft Word isn't going to cut it. In today's competitive market, you need more than a template.

If you're going to stand out amidst the obscene pile of resumes on a desk, you need to take serious steps. You need to get creative. To think different. To work outside the box. Maybe even to shatter the box altogether.

As it says over at CareerMine:

First impressions count, and the first impression that a potential employer will have of you, is going to depend on how you present your resume. This is going to be your one and only chance to capture a potential employer's attention, or for your resume to be tossed into the file of those they don't want to pursue.

It's not just about showing off your experience or education, although those things are certainly important. A great resume demonstrates the type of person you are. Your creativity. Your insight. Your willingness to think big and take bold action.

You may be thinking, I'm not going into a creative profession, so why do I need a creative resume? You need a creative resume because creativity is NOT the norm, especially in business positions. Thousands of people can follow accounting principles, but there aren't many creative accountants (who aren't in jail). Creativity sets you apart in the workplace.

With each resume, we've included a key takeaway that can be applied to any resume in any industry. You may not be an out-of-the-box thinker, but you can let these lessons push you as you create your own resume.

With that in mind, we've put together a list of 16 amazing examples of resumes. These are for your inspiration not your duplication. They should inspire you, not intimidate you. You don't need to copy these ideas or try to replicate them. Simply learn from them.

#1 The Hand-Drawn Infographic

This gorgeous, hand-drawn infographic from Roberta Cicerone shows off her art abilities both in print form and on the web. Combining both a whimsical sensibility with a subtle sense of self promotion, this would clearly make an impression upon even the most cold-hearted recruiter.

Key Takeaway: Don't be afraid to put your personality into your resume, whether that's whimsical, humorous or analytical. Even if you're applying for a more traditional job, such as accounting, include bits of your personality so potential employers can get a feel for you.

#2 The Envelope Foldout Portfolio

This foldout envelope portfolio from Stefania Capellupo is absolutely breathtaking, combining a series of envelopes, classy infographics and well-designed 5x8 cards. This resume/portfolio creates a sense of mystery and intrigue as each envelope is opened.

Key Takeaway: Do everything you can to make your resume legitimately interesting and intriguing. For example, if you're in computer programming, you could create a small program within the resume just for the recruiter.

#3 The Kid On A Mission

This personal branding piece by Matthew Lynch proves that he has both courage and creativity in equal proportion. Combining a series of eye-catching graphics, humorous phrases and appropriate personal information, there's no way a design studio could not be impressed by him.

Key Takeaway: If you only have 6 seconds to catch the attention of a recruiter, using color and graphics is a great place to start. You don't have to be a designer to use these in your resume. There are numerous templates available that include graphics.

#4 The Resume Book

This resume book shows some serious passion and serious dedication. Not only are the images gorgeous, but the fact that Paula Del Mas took the time to get a booklet printed shows that she is clearly willing to go the extra mile. This is exactly what companies are hoping to find in a resume. It's not just about the information, it's also about the person.

Key Takeaway: Remember, your resume isn't just communicating facts and information. It's communicating something about you as a person, including your work ethic.

#5 The GQ Cover

When Sumukh Mehta decided that he wanted to work for GQ men's magazine, he decided to take drastic action. For three weeks, the 21 year old worked diligently to produce a resume that looked exactly like an issue of the magazine. This incredibly hard work paid off, resulting in him getting a six-month paid internship at GQ.

Key Takeaway: Study the company at which you're applying. If possible, tailor your resume just for that company. Are you applying at a marketing firm that values analytics? Shape tailor your resume to highlight your analytics skills.

#6 The Card Samples

These cards on a ring are a perfect example of the fact that a resume doesn't need to fit the traditional size or look. By stringing together these colorful cards, Rebecca Fisk created a resume that is both pleasing to the eye and easy to read. This particular one would certainly stick out from a stack of papers simply by its shape and size.

Key Takeaway: Don't be afraid to break from tradition when it comes to the format or medium of your resume. For example, if applying for an accounting position, you could create a resume in the form of an annual report.

#7 The Pop-Up Folder

When applying for a job as a visual designer, what better way to get people's attention than by focusing on an image of an eye? By using unique imagery and an intriguing layout, Matthew Stucky demonstrated his ability to think differently than other visual designers. Plus, who doesn't like the excitement of opening one envelope after another? It's like Christmas!

Key Takeaway: Consider using imagery that is appropriate for the job you're hoping to get. Again, numerous templates are available for use in any industry.

#8 The Spy Resume

Stanley Cheah Yu Xuan hit it out of the ballpark with this one. By creating a resume in the style of a spy or CIA profile (even including his fingerprints!), Xuan created one of the most unique resumes out there. The fingerprints alone would be enough to get attention.

Key Takeaway: Look for ways to incorporate small, unique touches into your resume that will demonstrate who you are.

#9 The Minimalist Resume

By tastefully using a minimalist font and generous white space, Cristina Cardoso managed to create a resume that contains all the necessary information and is easy on the eyes. By having her first name only at the top of the resume in a unique font, it sets it apart from the rest of the sheet.

Key Takeaway: Consider your use of whitespace and margins. You want your resume to be easy to read. This is true no matter what job you're applying for. You don't want your resume to be difficult on the eyes.

#10 The Top Secret Report

Vidar Olufsen hit upon a brilliant idea when he created his resume in the form of a top secret report from the "Agency of Consideration and Establishment for Graphic Designers."

In his own words: A combined resume and open job application formed as a humorous "Top Secret" report, giving away information about a "newly educated and creative designer, who have settled in the city." This is a self-promotion project that was made to display a variety of skills as a graphic designer and get attention from local design agencies after I finished my studies.

Two words: mission accomplished.

Key Takeaway: When it's appropriate, consider stepping way outside the box. You'll want to do some research beforehand to know if it's appropriate given your potential employer, but it can be a great way to stand out.

#11 The Flowchart

To highlight what he could add to a potential employer, Craig Baute created this unique flowchart. It tactfully suggests potential problems the company may have, then shows how Craig will solve those problems. It positions him as a problem solver and leader and demonstrates his willingness to use his skills in a variety of ways.

Key Takeaway: Your resume should demonstrate both your skillset and how those skills will serve a potential employer. This shows that you've researched the employer and presented how you fit well within their organization.

#12 Up In Lights 

HR specialist Liz Hickok was trying to get an HR job but was having trouble getting the attention of employers. So what did she do? She used Christmas lights and the front of her house to spell out both. Not only did she get lots of well wishes on LinkedIn, she also landed 4 different interviews.

Key Takeaway: When it comes to applying for a job, consider reaching out in a variety of ways. Obviously, you don't want to be annoying about it, but you do want to broadcast yourself as much as possible.

#13 The Story

Pam Bailey, a communications expert, used her expertise as a storyteller to set herself apart from the competition. By including quotes, awards, and professional achievements, she demonstrates both her knowledge of marketing and her many accomplishments.

Key Takeaway: You resume must be centered around your expertise, demonstrating the incredible value you’ll add to a potential employer. Do you have stock investment expertise? Show that on your resume.


Resume by HaganBlount.com

#14 The Google Analytics Report

As an online marketer, Simon Fortunini wanted to show off his skills in a way that would resonate with other online marketers, so he created a resume website that looks like Google Analytics. Each section was clickable and included further information about Simon, making it both eye-catching and simple to navigate.

Key Takeaway: Create a resume in a format that will be immediately interesting and recognizable to those in your industry. For example, if you're in HR you could create a resume in the form of a personnel report.

Conclusion

Obviously, each of these key takeaways must be taken with a grain of salt. Most of these resumes were used to apply for work in creative industries. Nevertheless, the overall lessons can be applied across a variety of industries.

The point is simply this: your resume needs to stand out.

In whatever ways are appropriate for your industry, your resume still needs to stand out from the crowd. Recruiters, managers and HR reps are all deluged in resumes. It can be difficult to determine who really stands out from a group.

By learning from these resumes, you have a chance to get the attention you deserve.

Fill in that "Education" Section

A strong resume that stands out includes your educational experience. And our degree programs, from associate through doctorate, can elevate your resume to the next level and make an impression not only in appearance but in content as well. 

Category: Job Search