As a recruiter, I’ve seen a fair share of resumes, and there are few that really stand out in my mind as being outstanding. I never forget the details of the best ones I’ve seen, so I thought I’d share my favorites with you. Don’t take these ideas directly from these resumes, though – they worked so well because they were customized to the candidate who created them. If you want to get noticed by hiring managers and recruiters, use these examples to inspire your own unique resume...but don’t copy them exactly!
Resume One - Impressing with Ease
Although his cover letter was somewhat lacking, it didn’t seem to matter because of what he had included in his resume: a picture of himself holding up a sign saying HIRE ME. We couldn’t believe it and had to call him in for an interview just to see if it was real. Funny, isn’t it? but it got the candidate an interview spot.
Resume Two - Choice of font
The candidate stood out in my mind because of his choice of font. The main body font used was an easy-to-read serif font, which makes it extremely easy to scan and read quickly. It took up a nice amount of space on each page, providing room for bullet points and headings. The header fonts were flashy but did not draw attention away from their relevant areas – they didn’t take up too much space either.
Resume Three - Not Based on Education
While it's obvious that a degree or specialized training can make a resume stand out, resumes don't have to be limited to those with a 3-year degree. We once saw an accountant without formal education prepare an incredible resume for her career change into nursing. She wrote about all of her experience volunteering and working as an assistant nurse – even during her undergraduate years in college. This same candidate showed up at our office in full scrubs! (Scrubs are comfortable wear for nursing staff and some doctors)
Resume Four – Not Based on Experience
You don’t need to include your work experience in every single job application. A resume can be a powerful tool in helping potential employers understand what you can bring to their company, but it doesn’t always have to list every single job you’ve ever had.
Resume Five - Based on Experience
This candidate was a former accountant for more than 25 years. He meticulously included his tax-filing experience in his resume, noting which income and business expenses were eligible for deductions. He also threw in a list of software he uses to crunch numbers (Excel, QuickBooks Pro) and numerous certifications that are not common for accountants to have, like ITIL Foundations and Six Sigma Green Belt. The candidate saved money on these classes by taking them online while traveling during business trips.
This style is recommended to candidates who want to focus on a topic they already have experience in. In addition to being creative, this requires an understanding of what's been done and why.
Resume Six - The colorful one
By far, one of my favorite resumes is that of a well-known marketing executive. It was full of color, used several infographics, and had well-formatted headers, titles and sub headers. The format alone made it stand out among others that were a bit more dry and lacking in personality. While it certainly wasn’t your traditional resume, it didn’t go overkill either – which many do (we all know how boring those can be). This one was perfect!
Resume Seven - The unusual resume
It was an unusual resume, and not because it was unusually high-level. We recruit for some of the biggest companies – and thus have a lot of resumes to look at. But his stood out from among those of the business school graduates who often applied for our marketing jobs. The content was great, but we wanted to know why it looked so different than others we had seen.
Resume Eight - The Orderly Candidate
A year ago, we had a candidate who sent us an email with his resume attached in a Word doc, with each job listed below its previous one in chronological order. If you’re looking for someone to help make sure things run smoothly (and if you can get past that old-fashioned method of delivery), he was worth checking out.
Resume Nine – The one-page Style
This candidate had a one-page resume and did not list any work experience but a professional summary. In a business context, a professional summary is typically found on your LinkedIn profile or CV. It should be clear and concise. If possible, it should tell people what you do and why they need you on their team.
These days, it’s rare to find a resume that isn’t at least two pages. That length may be good for making a memorable first impression, but there are some drawbacks. Longer resumes take longer to read and scan—not a great trait in an applicant who claims their time is valuable. In addition, longer resumes often look less professional and more cluttered.
The best resumes I’ve ever seen. Clearly, a lot of time and effort went into creating them – and it shows. With an eye-catching cover page, lots of personality flair, (not to mention an impeccable organizational structure), there is simply nothing that could be done better.
Well, an overly-impressive resume is often a red flag for recruiters – it indicates that someone may be applying with unrealistic expectations, or even worse, misrepresenting their true capabilities. You don’t need to have graduated from the best Universities and have 10 years of experience in your field to land a job. In fact, sometimes you don’t need any previous experience at all!
The most interesting thing about resumes is that they’re completely subjective. There’s no good or bad resume – simply ones that work and ones that don’t. The trick to writing a killer resume, therefore, is to craft one that speaks to your hiring manager on an emotional level and convinces them of your value as an employee.