Resumes aren’t just a place to drop information about your past work experiences. They’re also a place to express yourself and give your future employer some idea of your talents and capabilities.
There are a number of unique resumes out there. Let’s take a look at the principles behind those unique resumes, and how you can craft your own visually appealing resume without losing your professionalism. You should also check out our 5 tips to update your resume and our guide to crafting a stand-out cover letter to help bolster your “campaign” before getting into the visual aspects of it all.
Creative Ways to Format and Design Your Resume
A traditional resume will list education, skills, and experience. It may have an introductory paragraph or statement of intent at the top. If you’re less than 5-years out of your education, you usually list education at the top because it is probably one of the more impressive things that you’ve done so far. If you’re more than 5-years out of your education, skills and experience generally go at the top above your education.
At least, that was the wisdom in resume writing for a long time. Nowadays, “where” is not proper resume format. The good resume format is the one that gets you the job. It’s the format that works. Resume design these days is more like art design than vocabulary and writing. That may be a bit of an obvious overstatement, but it makes the point. Study design principles when you’re building your resume to know how to format the text like a piece of art.
When getting inspiration for your formatting and design, remember the type of job that you’re applying for. If the job involves a high amount of autonomy and creativity, it will be a good idea to design a unique resume that showcases those abilities. If the job requires detail orientation and efficiency, a flashy resume may not be the right angle. Build a resume that emphasizes those organizational and administrative skills by making it crisp, snappy, and easy to read. Unique resumes are effective when they display the right vibes and characteristics of the job in both format and content.
Creative Things to Put on Your Resume
Resume creativity and creation isn’t just about the format and design. The modern resume has also expanded and changed the kind of things that end up plastered on your resume in the first place. While it was once just education and a limited summary of your work experience, employment has shifted and companies now care about your lifestyle and the extracurriculars that you might bring to the table. Hobbies and lifestyle metrics have become pretty good predictors of a person’s health, efficiency, and psychiatric conditioning. All of those things are super valuable for a company’s long term success. Employers are hunting those things more than ever.
Unique Hobbies for Resume
Hobbies make people happier, and happy employees are better people and better workers. While sure, hobbies may not qualify you for an advanced technological position that you don’t have the hard skills for, they may in fact edge you ahead of other competition who have similar skills and abilities.
Get creative with your hobbies. Generally speaking, you’ll want to list things that seem social and creative, and avoid things that seem antisocial and needlessly dangerous. For instance, you may want to leave off “chainsaw juggling” on the grounds that you pose a health risk for the company, and you may also want to avoid mentioning “stamp collecting” if applying for a client-facing role because it may make you seem eccentric. Know yourself. Know how your resume will come across to potential employers. Here are some hobbies you might want to include on your resume:
- Artistic pursuits
- Any sports leagues that you play in
- Specialty wine, coffee, beer, or tea affinity
- Tennis or golf (especially for corporate settings)
- Surfing or beach related activities
Remember that your social media accounts and recruiting platforms are also spaces to show off your hobbies, lifestyle, and personality, especially if you are competing with young talent.
Gig Economy Skills
Looking for a job in the modern economy relies on gig economy skills. Many people have worked gig economy jobs, and more and more hiring managers in the future will have experience themselves in the gig economy. We’ve hit a bit of a tipping point. People know that the gig economy requires a work ethic, people skills, and specialized knowledge. It shows initiative and creativity. It depends on the type of job you’re applying for, but putting gig economy experience may give you a big boost on your resume. Consider these types of gigs and skills:
- Music production
- Graphic design
How to Answer the Tough Resume Question “What Makes You Unique”
Everyone who answers this question has some interesting hobby that they’re really into or unique way that they see the world. Remember that the infamous resume question “what makes you unique” won’t be the reason you’re hired. Your skills, education, and experience will determine that. The unique factor can only edge you out ahead of competition that you were otherwise equal with.
Don’t try to beat the question by giving a short one sentence answer that seems profound, deep, and witty. The answer that seems profound, deep, and witty to you sitting at your kitchen table or in a hip coffee shop might seem arrogant, out of touch, and awkward to the hiring committee sitting in a corporate setting. Avoid the opposite mistake of being too long winded. They want a short answer, no more than two paragraphs, and probably stick to one paragraph. Answer length and well-written sentences are probably more important than the content of the answer in the first place.
Use this question to give a summary of your energy. If you put your energy into a unique hobby, really like an author, or have studied comedy, now is the time to mention that. Unless the question allows space for only one thing, you should try to insert a cluster of things and a sentence about the words that people would use to describe you.
Unique Resume Objectives
Why do employers care about objectives? Because the easiest employee to motivate is the employee that is already motivated. Objectives should contain a certain level of honesty, but also give the employer a chance to see what drives you and what you desire in life.
Don’t be afraid to bring a bit of honesty to the table. Mentioning that you want money isn’t greedy, it’s just honest. Also think broader, think about your objectives in life and think about how work might connect to them. If you just think about work and what you want to accomplish with work, your objectives will sound shallow and short-sighted. Think about what you want to accomplish in life and connect your work to that. If you can list objectives that show a clear connection of life to work, it shows a high level of self-reflection and intelligence for your prospective employers.
Objectives should be specially written for each of the different jobs that you’re applying for, with an eye to how the job connects to your life. Here are some objectives to consider, and some examples of more resume objectives:
- Grow professionally in certain areas to prepare for a career.
- Earn a steady, solid income in an enjoyable work atmosphere to provide for my family.
- Find great employment in such and such city and advance in the company over time.
- Have new experiences and learn new things.
Make sure you are creating content and a visual resume that accurately reflects you, both in your skillset, beliefs, and abilities. Having a stand-out resume can help open the door to more opportunities than you would think!
If you’re an employer, sifting through the creative resumes can be a tough job. You may need help from an employment agency to cut through the clutter and find the right talent.