How to create a standout resume

application tips career pivot job hunting Jan 19, 2023
Person typing on a Macbook.

Now that most job applications are digital, resumes are the first thing an employer sees about you. 


It’s not your smile, your strong hand shake, or your outfits. It’s the 500-word write-up about your educational and professional experience that will tell an employer if they want to invite you for an interview.


You could go to a great school, have solid volunteer and work experience, and valuable skills that make you a perfect candidate for a job at your dream company. 


…But so could several other people. 

Source: LinkedIn Research and Data Scientist Post 

With thousands of people getting laid off and thousands more leaving their companies by choice, there will be many talented job hunters  to choose from.  


So how can you make your resume stand out?

Get creative with the design

Start by rethinking what a resume can be and what it can look like. A resume is more than a document on Microsoft Word or Apple Pages. 


You may have seen a few viral resumes making its way around LinkedIn. Need some inspiration? Knowing Google has an incredibly competitive applicant pool, why not design your resume that looks like the search engine, like Aditya Sharma?

Source: Aditya Sharma LinkedIn


Aditya knew Google was selective about its staff considering it is consistently ranked as one of the best companies to work at – so he got creative. 


Aditya used Figma to design his resume. If you want a designer that specifically works for resumes, HiCounselor is the way to go. Enter your experience into the template and out pops your company-themed resume to catch a recruiter’s eye. Their designs include Netflix, Spotify, Twitter, LinkedIn, Slack, and more!


If you don’t want to go all-out with the design, but you still want your resume to spark interest, consider integrating the company’s brand into your resume. Use the company colours down to the colour wheel codes. Mirror their language. Use the same font as them. By sharing the same presentation as the company, whoever’s eyes fall on it will be familiar with your resume, as if you are already part of the team. It also shows that you pay attention to detail and are eager to  integrate into the company culture. 

Use different mediums

What if your resume isn’t a digital file?


What would you think of trying to get the attention from recruiters at Nike by sending your resume on a cake, like Karly Pavlinac Blackburn did? 


At the time, Nike wasn’t even actively hiring, but Karly wanted to be on the company’s radar. She took a chance and made a statement seen by over 130,000 people.


There’s little to lose by thinking outside of the box. 

Source: Karly Pavlinac Blackburn LinkedIn 


But your resumes don’t have to be edible. 



If you are constantly gaining more experience, learning new skills, or adding more projects to your responsibilities, you should consider creating a resume on a personal website. This can double as a portfolio. The point is, with a simple URL, someone can go to a webpage to learn about what you have to offer. They can see photo or video examples of your work. They can click hyperlinks. 


Most importantly, it’s shareable. You can update your resume as you please and you can share it widely. The people you share it with can also pass it on. A website is an opportunity for a resume that is always up to date. You can make adjustments so your experience isn’t set in stone. 


But a resume is also an opportunity to show, not just tell. If you are in a creative industry or your technical work can be put on display, you should use a portfolio to accompany or double as your resume. Let your work speak for itself. Then use your resume to discuss how you work within a team environment to achieve it. Here are 10 free websites to help you do it:


Source: Dribble Home Page 



Video resumes are not common, but they are not unheard of either. They include the same information a regular resume does – education, professional skills, work experience – but have the added bonus of showing off your character too. 


With shorter attention spans and more hires to make, recruiters and managers need to find out if you are a good fit efficiently. Here’s how you do it:


Tell a short and engaging story. What made you interested in this company or industry? What great project have you led? What professional skills have you used to help your company achieve a goal? Start by saying hello and your name, then jump right in. 


Be specific in what you have accomplished. If you consistently hit your sales goals, share those figures. If you played a pivotal role in onboarding an impressive client, tell them how. If you have helped your team navigate a tough project, talk about your success. Use facts and figures to illustrate what it is like having you on someone’s team.


Share what you will bring to the new job. Right after you talk about what you’ve done, talk about what you plan to do. Use keywords in the job posting to talk about what you could achieve if you were to join a company. This can be based on your professional skills, soft skills, and volunteer and work experience. 


When choosing a video resume, you can be the star or you can choose to go with animation.


If you want to be in the video, make sure you have a clutter-free background and good natural lighting or a ring light to brighten up your face.


You can edit these videos on websites like:


If you want to go the animation route, here are a few websites that will help you make fast and free videos:


Source: Vyond Home Page


Try not to make it too scripted, but don’t just wing it either. You want to cover all your bases so a hiring manager knows everything they need to know about you and how you would fit into their company. A good video resume can be anywhere between 30 seconds and 2 minutes long. You want something that can be replayed often, but covers enough of your knowledge and experience. 


Using a video resume doesn’t mean you don’t need to have any supporting documents. You could include a traditional resume to glance at and even cover letters to accompany the video. But the video does give you a chance to stand out by offering your face, voice, and more details to make what you have accomplished in the past really stand out. 

Get AI to review it

Make sure your hard work has not gone to waste. When your resume is complete, take it to a resume reviewer or generator to make sure you’re not missing key pieces of information. Resume reviewers also ensure they are readable and pleasing to the eye.


Take Jobscan – they use AI to optimize your resume to the best it can be. When you upload your resume, the AI tracks your resume live and highlights where it can be improved.


They check on your keywords for:

  • Matching job descriptions
  • Hards skills
  • Soft skills
  • Job title
  • Skill definitions
  • Skill examples


They review the resume’s formatting for:

  • ATS compliance
  • Tables
  • Columns
  • Alignment
  • Font styles


They edit:

  • Text 
  • Formatting options
  • Live scoring
  • PDF or DOCX export

Other resume reviewing tools include Top Resume, Skillroads, Monster, ResumeGenius, and plenty more. 


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