Job hunters and recruiters alike know the struggle of trying to make your application stand out. You could meet all of the required qualifications, and still hear nothing back. How do you get noticed? A great resume helps. Recruiters, successful job-hunters, and hiring managers weighed in on the best resume tips. You’ll want to write all of these strategies down.
1. Make your format unique
When a guy applied for a highly specialized gig, Redditor Tilas noticed his creative presentation. “Guy applied for a chainsaw operator position by writing his resume on a thinly cut piece of wood to show off his skill with the saw,” he reported. “Landed him the job.” The old adage “show, don’t tell” applies especially to practical or creative fields. Let your resume show off what you can do!
Next: This applicant found a creative way to explain a common skill.
2. When listing skills, think outside the box
Reddit user Cat-Pain-Black-Udder once hired a man with a background that made them sit up and take notice. “I once had a [resume] from a guy who won Fun House (UK TV show) when he was a kid,” they explained. “Put it down as evidence of teamwork but he was clearly just mentioning it to boast, as he had loads of actual good experience too.” Sometimes, mentioning a fun factoid like that can serve two purposes. It shows you have outside interests, and can provide proof of relevant skills, too.
Next: The following tip is risky, so proceed at your own peril.
3. Tailor your resume — really, really specifically
When hiring for a position, Islandsimian noticed one resume looked very familiar. “Turned out, someone had searched the keywords from the listing, found my resume, and copied and pasted parts of my experience into theirs and submitted it,” they said. We don’t recommend trying this one at home. Do not plagiarize your resume, but do tailor it to the job description.
Next: You may want to think this one through before giving it a shot.
4. Give the recruiter a reason to read your application
Reddit user Zkool once received valid gift cards printed on the job application. Will bribery get you the job? Maybe, but it’s a risky move. Instead, keep your resume interesting and make sure it shows off your unique attributes. Recruiters read a lot of applications, so yours needs to stand out.
Next: This technique might work if you’re applying for a pizza delivery gig.
5. Take a creative approach to delivery
We all know the way to some people’s hearts is through their stomachs. Redditor IKnowSoftware had a candidate take that very literally. They sent a pizza to the office, with a laminated resume underneath. And yes, they got hired. While that kind of trick probably only works once, including a unique cover letter or eye-catching attribute almost always works in your favor.
Next: Don’t make the recruiter bend over backwards to understand your awesomeness.
6. Make the recruiter’s job easier
Former recruiter HeavenInACup recommended making key information easy to find. “The coolest thing for me is when the job applicants make my job easier,” they said. “The best example I can think of was when I came across a [resume] that was clearly targeted for the position.” Consider underlining or highlighting key words throughout your resume. “I could just skim read it, saw that the person met the requirements, and could invite them for an interview. Brilliant.”
Next: Start off on the right foot to get noticed.
7. Put your key skills right at the top
Redditor Onedaybaby suggested kicking off your resume with a list of skills, especially in tech and programming fields. “It’s quite popular in software, like a list of programming languages/tools you have experience with, and perhaps the number of years you have been using them and last time you used them,” they advised. Putting your best foot forward never sounds like a bad idea.
Next: The following applicant proved an important point with this stunt.
8. Demonstrate you pay attention in your field
One redditor noted that Cristiano Ronaldo once threw a reporter’s microphone into a river. The stunt went viral on social media. A few days later, an applicant sent in a resume with a microphone attached, for a social media management position. Show you pay attention to the news and updates in your field, and recruiters will never wonder how you stay relevant.
Next: When all else fails, tricks like this can get you noticed.
9. Make your resume physically stand out
Reddit user Bloatedkat hired a candidate on the spot after they made their resume out of Lego bricks. While that might only work on fellow builders, you can make your resume look unique in other ways. Try a colorful header, unique layout, or (readable) header fonts. Just make sure your creativity does not obscure the necessary information.
Next: This offbeat title got the hiring manager’s attention.
10. Describe your experience in a unique way
When a candidate described their prior job as “Chief Bacon Officer,” it got Mquinnton’s attention. “When asked about that, he said his job there was to bring home the bacon, meaning, to sell, sell, sell, and people were allowed to make up their own official titles there because it was a smaller, student-run magazine,” he explained. While the hiring manager appreciated the creativity, it might not resonate with anyone. However, if you can combine quirky elements like that with more standard sections explaining it, you could have a hit.
Next: The following candidate made extracurricular experience work for them.
11. Don’t discount your relevant hobbies
Reddit user Corgi_butt used to run e-sports tournaments in their free time, and put it on their resume. “It has greatly helped me sell myself as a motivated and self-starting individual,” they explained. “Yesterday, an interviewer brought it up and I talked about my experience running events more than my previous work experience.” Listing unpaid or volunteer work like that shows your passion and sets you apart from other applicants.
Next: If you really care about your field, show it off this way.
12. Let your passion shine
One recruiter relayed that their manager “always looked for someone who had passion for the work, not just looking for a paycheck.” One way to demonstrate that is including side projects or hobbies on your resume. Do you write novels in the time off from your journalism job? Do you volunteer to teach kids to build robots after working as an engineer? Tell the world!
Next: Hobbies also add this important element.
13. If you list hobbies, make them work for you
Redditor Elmarto22 said that hobbies can appear on a great resume, with a point. “I think hobbies can certainly be added on a resume and can even be an added value (for example when you apply for a job as team lead and you were head of a scouting group).” While they cautioned against padding a weak resume with them, they can showcase important elements of your personality. If you have attributes that shine best outside of work, find a way to get them on your application, as well.
Next: This recruiter provided a wealth of great ideas.
14. Make yourself a STAR on your application
One Reddit user offered a whole slew of ideas, from making a resume to acing an interview. “Go into the job interview confident in your abilities, but not cocky; know everything you can about the industry, the company, and the people you’ll likely be working with; review the job posting meticulously, research the job, and determine the core and ancillary skills required,” they advised.
The recruiter also recommended building a “STAR” profile for every single skill, highlighting your specific experience. With these tips, you would have a hard time not nailing the job.
Next: When all else fails, just do what these two did.
15. Blow recruiters’ minds with this kind of resume
While they work best for creative or technology-focused work, interactive resumes that show off design skills can really shine. Several recruiters pointed to this great resume for a web developer that really shows off their skill. This resume, by a freelance copywriter, also gets recruiters’ attention in a unique way. Do it well, and your resume could get you in the door.
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