Creative ways to help your resume stand out from the crowd

By Kathleena O’Connell, Marketing Specialist, ACA Talent

Competition for jobs is high, and you need to be on your A-game when it comes to creating an eye-catching resume that can help open doors. This involves a lot of creativity and originality beyond ensuring your resume has the right keywords.

First, make sure you’re covering the basics. You can have the most creative resume in the world, but if it’s a mess, very few people will look at it or take it seriously. Start with some design essentials.

Pick a legible font.

Recruiters and HR pros read A LOT of resumes. A font that’s easy to read (like Times or Arial) can help them quickly scan your resume for important information and understand your qualifications.

Be consistent.

You want to be creative but you don’t want to be an eye-sore. Make sure you’re using the same fonts, font sizes, bullet point styles, margins, and headings across the

Use industry and position keywords.

Get these as close to the top of the resume as possible—it’s the first place a recruiter will look to see if you’re a potential fit. Don’t go crazy with too many fancy fonts and colors. If you’re not sure what keywords to include, start with the job description, and tailor each resume summary to the position you’re applying for.

Print it on good quality paper.

Don’t have a printer? Your local print shop or office supply store can help you print your resume in a jiffy for a minimal fee.

Now that you’ve got the basics out of the way, it’s time to stand out from your competition. Here are a few inventive ways to wow potential employers.

Drop it off in person.

Taking the initiative to show up at the office and ask for the correct person or department shows the employer that you are serious, confident, and determined to get that interview. Interestingly enough, one candidate was handing out resumes in front of the CareerBuilder office last month, and one of the sales representatives ended up sharing the resume on social media because she thought it was a unique tactic. Talk about old-fashioned creative advertising for exposure!

Send it via snail mail.

With everything being electronic now these days, people appreciate traditional mail because it’s so rare. After submitting your resume online, send out a hard copy and follow up. In this case, it goes directly to the hiring manager’s desk instead of through the company’s applicant tracking system or email box where the resume will get buried with other applicants and mail. One candidate took the snail mail trick further and created a custom candy bar decorated with his resume, which went viral and helped win the job.

Ditch the ordinary black and white.

Nothing is black and white anymore. Develop a unique design that leads the eye and highlights key areas to invoke an emotional response. Find or craft a template that appeals to your personality and background, and spruce it up with color-blocking and fonts, but keep it elegant and legible. Of course, some resume templates and fancy ideas aren’t appropriate for every industry or company, so do your research and find a happy medium. For more resume design ideas and inspiration, follow us on Pinterest.

Create a proposal.

Companies always want to know what you can do for them and if you can bring something new to the table, show them how. Create a mini-presentation all about the company’s needs to showcase your research and insights. This show of initiative will really impress an employer and may garner an interview.

Get in front of the camera.

Putting yourself on camera can highlight your skills and abilities and help employers get to know you as an individual. You can include links to relevant videos on your resume or in a cover letter.

There are an endless number of ways to design a creative, eye-catching resume. As Thomas Jefferson said, “If you want something you have never had before, you must be willing to do something you have never done.” So be creative, be original, and grab attention!