Job/internship application season is upon all of you in school right now – and you’re probably being told left and right a specific way your resume should look. You know, this:

Here’s what I see: All the right content, but a giant block of overwhelming text with no personality and no visually appealing organization.

What if I told you to spice up your résumé to look something like this:

Okay, you’re probably thinking, “Camille, you’re crazy! Everyone always tells me to have a plain black and white, one-page resume. Why should I do it this way?” I had the same thoughts when one of my mentors suggested I present my resume like this, but in the end, there are a lot of benefits to this:

  • Your résumé is a brief look into who you are as a person before anyone even has the chance to talk to you. You want to show your personality up front, and traditional formats don’t always allow the freedom to do that.
  • CREATIVITY!! This sets you apart from other candidates that adhere to the strict traditional format. This can show that you are an out-of-the-box thinker who is willing to take risks and not be afraid of who you are.
    • Get creative with how you organize your information. Play around with the layout to fit your specific needs.
    • Get creative, but smart, with your colors. Don’t choose red because red is associated with negative feelings (red = bad or stop). Don’t choose an overly obnoxious color like neon pink – keep it professional, go with softer colors, but pick a color that you like.
  • Strategic pops of color draw your reader’s eye to the right places. This, coupled with spreading your content out and not squeezing it in 8-point font with tiny margins makes it easier for the reader to focus on your résumé.
  • Organized blocks with clean lines make it even easier for a hiring manager to read your résumé. And they will quickly learn how your résumé is laid out for easy reference in the future, rather than having to squint over your entire, unorganized, single block of text résumé.

Here are some tips for what content to include:

  • Name and contact information
    • Phone and email at a minimum, but can also include LinkedIn or social media platforms that are relevant. I only include my @TheGalacticGal platforms because it’s relevant to work I do within the company and it’s relevant to my technical communication skills.
    • You do NOT need your mailing address. The hiring manager will ask where you’re currently located if necessary to the job (relocation, etc) and you will provide your full address in other portions of your application/in the hiring stages. No need to publicly give away where you live on your résumé especially if you’re posting it to LinkedIn at the same time.
  • Right under your name, list 3-5 adjectives that describe yourself that are applicable to the job description.
    • This is your selling point to the hiring manager. Right away, they will see how you characterize yourself and that is essentially their first impression. Don’t be afraid to be proud of who you are. Sell yourself!
  • Professional profile – another opportunity to sell yourself!
    • This should be a short, concise paragraph about who you are, what your strengths are, and what you will bring to the table in this role.
  • Education/Honors & Awards
    • List your undergraduate and any graduate degrees. Include your GPA if you’re seeking an internship or your first full time job. If you’re more established in your career, only include it if it’s relevant.
    • Honors & Awards should also include scholarships. This shows hiring mangers a little glimpse into your talent in more ways than just how you market yourself.
  • Work Experience
    • All relevant work experience including prior internships and full-time positions. If you worked at McDonald’s 5 years ago and you’ve had prior internship experience and are currently seeking a full time job, don’t include that.
    • Include company name, job title, location (shows where you are willing to move, if at all), and date ranges.
    • Include a full bullets on what you did using the SMART format: Specific, Measurable, Achievements, Relevant, Timeframe.
  • Skills
    • ALWAYS include soft skills as well. If you’re a great technical writer in an engineering field, that’s important!
    • Of course, this includes technical and software skills too.
  • Activities/Extra Curriculars
    • All the extra things: volunteering, relevant side businesses, club involvement, etc.
  • Leadership
    • You should always include one leadership position, even if it is small. In today’s world, companies want to see leadership potential and it’s important to highlight that and advocate for yourself on your résumé.

Of course, I realize this format will not be for everyone. But if you’re a creative person who wants to stand out and show that you are an out-of-the-box thinker, try it out!

You can get templates like mine on Etsy for extremely cheap. The one I used can be found here and you can play around with the colors, icons, and formatting to fit your needs!