Writing An Effective, Rule-Breaking Resume

There are many sources, both offline and online, that have offered countless tips on how to concoct a resume that will help you land a job. Or at the very least, make your interviewers REALLY consider you. Some tips may work for you while some may not. But one thing you should not forget is this: a resume needs to say who you are in a nutshell.

A number of potential employers do take time to read what you have written on your resume and the information you have detailed in there will probably help you land a job, if not a finger pointing to the exit. Therefore, it is imperative to assume that every job interviewer will look properly at your resume. Your resume should project you as the last person their company will ever need.

But how, exactly? Here’s the ultimate tip: disregard the rules of formally writing a resume.

While this piece of advice may seem risky, it does have its merits. For one, interviewers have grown accustomed to basically all standard resume structures and formats. To them, looking at the same structure in every job interview they conduct can be quite boring and repetitive. If your resume is same as the others, then you can be sure that your resume will only get a quick glance before it joins the pile of other boring and FORGOTTEN resumes.

The trick is to be different without going too crazy and potentially crossing the line into annoying. Integrating a unique header should do the trick. The usual header includes your name your address, phone number, and other important details. But since you are breaking resume conventions, add some twists to your heading. You can start by using attractive and interesting fonts (that does NOT mean curlz MT!) or including your most photogenic close-up shot. Include some tasteful colors. Use high quality paper. Subtle touches such as these can make all the difference.

Remember: the goal here is to grab your interviewer’s attention.

Attention is the operative keyword here. If you have their attention, then you have found a foothold. The next thing to do once you have their notice is to get them interested. Displaying information that will entice their interest is critical.  At this point, research is king. Knowing what the company you are applying to will help you a great deal in what you need to put in your resume. Also, it important that you gather information about the position you want to fill.

Knowing what the interests and goals of the company are will enable you to screen the information you put in your resume. You do not need to put every important highlight of your life, but those the company will possibly relate to, which means RELEVANT to the position you are applying for.

Another tip: a padded resume never ever looks good.  Too many details about different job experiences will make you look like someone who is not in it for the long haul.

After grabbing your interviewer’s attention and getting them interested, the next thing your resume must do is sell you. You do this by putting a section that describes your future goals, objectives, and career plans. This is where you establish yourself as a professional person.

Remember though that this part is where you SELL yourself. Oversell and you will look cocky and arrogant. Undersell and you will end up seeming like someone who has no initiative or direction.

These resume-writing tactics do not guarantee you getting a job. But what they do is give you an edge over your competition by helping your resume get more than the casual quick glance and some serious consideration. Good luck with the job search!


  1. Heather says:

    My resume is rather boring but I try to keep it straight and to the point- I think a picture will be a good addition though. Thanks!

  2. Robert Rathmann says:

    I don’t know that you would be breaking any rules doing this stuff because the old school way of doing things is the one that they are so familiar with that it’s no longer relevant. In this economy you need to stand out from the crowd.

  3. Cythia says:

    I love this idea, as a hiring manager I’m so sick of reading resumes. 99% of the time they are dead boring.

  4. Lillie says:

    I think this is a great idea, over the years everything has changed but the way resumes are supposed to be written has stayed the same for eons. We have a new and energetic group coming out of the schools now, they should play by a new set of rules!

  5. Lee Wells says:

    As an addition to the points you’ve made, a sharply focused resume is extremely important these days. Given that employers screen resumes for as few as 6 seconds, a resume should show the employer at a glance what you want to do and what you’re good at. Studies have shown that employers wanted resumes to show a clear match between the applicant and a particular job’s requirements. A “general” resume that is not focused on a specific job’s requirements is seen as not competitive.

  6. Jasmine says:

    Our generation that is coming up needs something that will make them stand out above the rest that is true. Companies are getting so used to seeing one thing it is probably hard to find those key people that stick out for originality and flare unless they do something special. I’ve thought of a few other things I could try doing to differenciate myself depending on the company also from this, thanks ;)

  7. Dawn Sutherland says:

    There are some great ideas for getting noticed over other resumes in here. I can imagine that many of the tips could actually be quite effective. Thanks for sharing.

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