How to Create a Unique Resume and Impress Hiring Managers

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published July 24, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A professional resume that displays a person's best qualities as a candidate is important in the job search process. When a hiring manager compares you to similar candidates, it can also help if your resume is unique and impressive. Learning more about how to create a resume that's unique can help improve your chances of getting hired. In this article, we explain why you make a resume that stands out and review some steps on how to make a unique resume.

Why make a unique resume?

A unique resume can help make a qualified candidate more memorable to a hiring manager. The person responsible for selecting a new employee may see many resumes during the selection process, yet only have the time to review a resume for a few minutes or less. A manager might be able to better remember a resume that's unique and of high quality. They're also less likely to discard a resume that they found interesting.

How to make a unique resume

Here's a list of steps you can take to create a unique resume and impress the hiring manager:

1. Understand the hiring manager's expectations

Whenever you create a resume, it's important to consider your audience. Often, either a hiring manager or a hiring team reviews resumes submitted to a company. By learning who's likely to review your application documents, you can choose the type of formatting and elements to include.

Job postings can also include important information to consider. For instance, they may note a company wants a one-paragraph bio in candidates' resumes. Be sure to follow any directions listed in the job description to demonstrate your attention to detail and ability to follow directions. Regardless of the elements you include, it's beneficial to stay within the standard font ranges of about size 11 to size 14, as this is a readable and professional size. Similarly, it's a good idea to use a professional font, such as Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman.

Related: What Is the Standard Canadian Resume Format? (With 7 Tips)

2. Experiment with alternative layouts

You can structure your resume more cohesively and efficiently based on the layout you select. You can use various tools, such as bullet points, columns, and section breaks to help make the information on your resume easier to read and to help emphasize the most important details. Alternative layouts can also affect the aesthetics of a resume, and may make it more visually appealing. It's often a good idea to try multiple different layouts for your resume, and then select the one you think best fits the needs of your application.

3. Research other successful resumes for similar positions

Researching successful resumes in your field or in similar fields can help generate good ideas to make your own resume more unique. A good resume aesthetic, even in non-artistic fields, can greatly increase a candidate's chances of being noticed by hiring managers. Pay attention to the way other professionals display information and how they make their document visually appealing. You can learn from the choices other people have made, expanding your knowledge of what can create a strong resume.

4. Choose a tone appropriate to the position

You want the overall tone of your resume to be appropriate for the role and industry to which you are applying. For example, graphic design artist may utilize their graphic design skills when designing their resume, as they can assume that the company wants a candidate with those skills. Interesting artistic choices on a resume can reflect the tone companies seeking art and design specialists prefer in candidate applications.

Comparatively, a resume for a role at a security company might benefit from a much more subdued artistic approach. Companies generally expect security professionals to be calm and professional. While resumes for this role can still benefit from good formatting and aesthetic appeal, a more standard resume is typically more suitable.

Related: A Comprehensive Guide to Writing Samples for a Job

5. Emphasize the most relevant information

The words, sections, ordering, and format used for your resume can help it be more memorable and unique . If your resume seems to have too much information, consider omitting some details to keep everything as relevant to the position as possible. A clear, focused resume that highlights your strengths is often better than an expansive resume with less focus. The resume becomes easier to read and the relevant details become easier to remember.

Consider the aspects of your education and experience that are the most unique and impressive. For instance, if you have graduated from an elite school, or earned an award, be sure to highlight that information. You may also want to briefly explain the nature of an award if it's not well-known, especially if it's a particularly impressive achievement in context. If you achieved an impressive GPA, you can also note that information to further highlight your academic abilities.

6. Add infographics

Infographics are a relatively easy way to present information in a format that gains a person's attention and is visually appealing. Even a simple pie or bar graph with one or two colours can help a resume feel different to those of similar candidates. One common way professionals present information in an aesthetically appealing way is via a star rating or similar system. They may rate different proficiencies they have from one to five stars, with more stars indicating more expertise or years of experience in the skill.

Related: What Is an Infographic? (With How-To, Benefits, and Types)

7. Choose a colour palette

Many resumes a hiring manager reviews have a standard black-and-white colour palette. While this palette isn't necessarily a bad choice, choosing to use more colour can differentiate your resume from more standard submissions. The best colours to choose can depend on many factors. Pastel colours can make for a good balance of adding a unique aesthetic to a resume while still making it feel professional and subdued.

Related: A Guide to Colour Theory (With Examples of Colour Meanings)

8. Display your skills

A simple way to display your skills to employers is by applying them when creating your resume. If you work in illustration and graphic design, you can draw unique visuals to show hiring managers you're a great fit for the role. Different professionals can use this technique to bring attention to their experiences. For example, an engineer, mathematician, or statistician can generate graphs and diagrams to show their ability to apply visualization to data.

Continually learning new skills from courses or training can help employers see your ability to add value to their team. For example, when applying for a sales- or design-oriented position, you can list the design and creativity courses you have taken. Such skills can reveal to potential employers how you can make interactions between customers and the company's product more fun and imaginative. By identifying what skills are most relevant to the position you're applying for, you can then focus on ways to show you have those skills on your resume.

9. Add a volunteer section

Volunteer work on a resume can show your commitment to helping others, engaging in the community, and collaborating with others in public. The activities you volunteer for can also help the hiring managers better understand your personality and the ideas you find most important. For example, if you volunteer for art-related projects, the hiring manager may infer that you enjoy art. These activities can provide additional information on your skills and abilities.

Related: 4 Ideas on Where to Put Volunteer Experience on Your Resume

10. Make the resume error-free

When you believe your resume is complete, review it for errors. Check its formatting, spelling, and grammar, as well as your word choice and the overall clarity of the information you present. This is an important part of creating a unique resume, as it helps you show your attention to detail and ability to self-edit. Making unique creative choices is often most effective when a candidate is still able to show their knowledge of fundamentals, like grammar and spelling. It helps emphasize that your deviations from traditional choices are all intentional, rather than due to any lack of knowledge.

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