In today’s fiercely competitive job market, where resumes flood recruiters’ inboxes daily, the art of crafting a truly unique resume has become an indispensable skill for job seekers. As you navigate the challenging landscape of job applications, a good resume should rise above the noise and captivate the attention of hiring managers from the very first glance. By making a few small tweaks to more tired templates and formats, you can build a unique resume that stays on the minds of potential employers long after they’ve read through the rest of the pile.
A Unique Resume Requires a Strong Opening
When putting together a unique resume that stands out from the pile and catches the eye of hiring managers, it pays to make a strong first impression right at the top of the page. Underneath your name and contact information, many readily available resume templates include an outdated objective statement that outlines the goal of the job seeker. This is often as simple as, “To obtain a role with [Company] as a [Job Title].” Using this structure as the opening line of your resume fails to distinguish you from every other candidate applying for the same role.
Instead of this formulaic opening, use the top portion of your resume to briefly summarize the unique value you would bring to the role, as well as any relevant certifications or experiences that directly relate to the posting. This “career snapshot” shouldn’t be too long, since you’ll be able to expand on the details elsewhere on your resume, but it should serve as a thesis statement that succinctly and effectively conveys your aptitude for the job. That way, even a quick glance at the top of your resume is enough to make a memorable impression on a potential employer.
Quantify Your Success
When outlining prior work experience, many job seekers refer to their success in vague, repetitive language that doesn’t differentiate them from any other candidate who has held a similar role. Quantifying your successes with hard metrics not only helps your resume stand out with information that is unique and specific to you, but it also enhances your credibility as a qualified candidate.
Consider the following examples from an application for a sales-related position:
“Contributed to the acquisition of new clients and helped to upsell services to existing clients.”
“Was one of the top-performing salespeople at [Company] for several years.”
While these might be technically true, they’re something that almost any person working in sales could conceivably put on their resume, and they’d have to wait for a potential interview to be able to expand on these apparent achievements. Compare them to the following examples:
“Secured 5 new wholesale contracts within the first 6 months at [Company].”
“Consistently ranked in the top 10% of salespeople between 2017 – 2023.”
These metrics serve as data points that you can use to demonstrate a pattern of success and achievement, and they’re also specific to your unique resume, differentiating your experience from that of other candidates. In addition, this allows you to showcase your individuality as a candidate from the moment a hiring manager sees your resume, even before securing an interview.
The Importance of Visual Appeal
With all the work that goes into putting together the information required for a compelling, unique resume, it can be tempting to offload the work of formatting that information onto a template service. The problem with a template, however, is that it’s just that: a template. It’s easily recreated by thousands of other job seekers trying to streamline their own resume writing process, and all these resumes end up looking the same at first glance.
While the look of your unique resume shouldn’t theoretically hurt your application so long as its substance is good, the reality is that a sea of similar resumes make it more difficult for hiring managers to recall which applications have the best content. Our memories work best when there’s a visual associated with that memory, so spicing up a run-of-the-mill resume with an engaging format or a splash of color helps cement it, and you, in the minds of potential employers.
It’s important when pursuing that visual appeal to prioritize readability and clarity. Compelling visuals are meant to highlight the substance of a resume, not detract from it, so always use a clear, easy-to-read font and organize your information in a way that flows naturally down the page.
Making a Unique Resume with Targeted Information
By using all of the above techniques together and catering them to each individual job posting, you can create a unique resume that stands out because of the way it’s tailored to the specific employer who sees it. This is called a targeted resume, and it’s the best way to make a memorable impression on hiring managers.
The opening of such a resume should serve almost like a mini-application in itself, summarizing the unique qualifications that make you specifically suited to the role. As you expand on these details in later sections, the quantifiable metrics you provide should address specific material in the job description, and how your prior achievements demonstrate your ability to meet those requirements.
Even the visuals of your resume can be adapted for different applications. An agency specializing in creative design, for example, may find a striking design with a colorful accent more compelling, while the legal department at a technology company may find the same design offputting. This is why thorough research on the organization you’re applying to is so important for determining exactly how to create a unique resume that’s appealing to the people you need to appeal to.
At Zoetic Resume and Writing Services, I can help you organize the most compelling elements of your work history in an engaging format that separates you from competing applicants through a truly memorable, unique resume. Connect with me here to start building the most foundational tool in your job-search toolkit!