What makes a book memorable? The story, writing style, remarkable or instant human connection, a powerful message, just a serene simplicity, overall beneficial message or something unusual that keeps it a page turner and a book to remember for long.

Can you use such skills when writing your resume? In the ever-rising pile of resumes on the HR desk or folders – what can you do to make it easy for someone to say, “Hey, this one caught my attention!”

A lot of creative ideas might be flowing around now but without these essential tips you can fall short on anything extraordinary.


What makes a resume memorable?

Unemployment is high and there seems to be about 100 or more  applicants for every job.  In order to support getting hired, a memorable resume is crucial.  Hiring managers and potential employers require that you present your resume in a concise and professional manner. Those resumes that follow certain procedures are the most memorable.  Structure, strategy and a touch of creativity are necessary for a memorable resume and the final goal of getting hired.

Here are some principles which can help you achieve this objective:


  • “Four basic premises of writing: clarity, brevity, simplicity, and humanity.” – William Zinsser

    A clear format in a readable style is very important.  You can use resume templates if you are unsure of how to go about it on your own.   Color can help you stand out from other resumes, but make sure the colors are tasteful. Many professional resume writers use two colors to add character.  Do not overdo it, however.

  • Choose success before you achieve it – a memorable book title may be the first step.

    Use a resume title – here’s a perfect chance to be creative and memorable.  With the short attention span we all have, this is what can make an instant difference. A summary of your achievements is good, but title this summary with a quick heading such as human retargets director, budgeting manager, vice president, or whatever title you held at your previous job. While writing the summary of your achievements, bear in mind that a one sentence summary is all that is needed.  Interviewers do not need long and lengthy explanations about skills. You will cover your achievements and skills in a face to face interview.

  • Humans relate well to chronological writing.

    Begin listing your previous employment with the most current being the first.  If you have holes in your work history or gaps in your career it is still important to list all employment and dates.  Gaps in your history can be filled in with a single line explanation.  Perhaps you went to school, job training, or even sickness.  Let the interviewer know on your history so there is no hiding your past.

  • “Education is not a preparation for life; education is life itself.” – John Dewey

    List all certifications and higher education that apply to your career and job path.  Point out degrees even if you did not finish, and make sure that any certifications you have earned are also itemized.  Political views or religious affiliations should be avoided and if you have a certificate from a religious or political membership downplay or leave these certificates off your resume. Interviewers, unless you are applying for a religious or political position, do not care what your insights are.

  • “The principle mark of genius is not perfection but originality, the opening of new frontiers.” – Arthur Koestler

    You may be hesitant to list your extracurricular activities.  These activities may not apply to the position you are applying for, however listing these activities can help you stand out from other applicants.  Hobbies, committees, and outside activities actually point to your personality and may help the hiring manager determine whether or not you are a good fit for the company.  Keep these simple and straightforward.  Recently a hiring manager received a resume that actually listed more extracurricular activities than work history.  This resume, of course, was immediately tossed out.

  • Focus on how you can bring benefit to others and then tell them so!

    As you write your resume, consider it from a manager’s perspective.  Be aware of what skills and accomplishments will most benefit the new company.  These are the skills that should have the most emphasis on your resume.  Research and find the position you most want to pursue and then write to that position.  Using different versions of your resume for different positions can be of benefit.  Think like your potential employer and format your resume accordingly.

Here’s an infographic via Colorado Technical University