The purpose of a resume is to convince the hiring manager or the recruiter that you are the best (or one of the best) candidate for the job. It is not an easy task to come through convincingly if you are an entry-level applicant or a career changer; but with some effort you can stand-out in the competition.

Here are the 5 ‘C’s that can help you craft a unique resume, a resume that highlights the positives and makes your job application stand out.


customizeUse specific keywords, sending out generic resumes through one click applications online might not get you the results you want. Your resume must focus on satisfying the job requirements for each position applied for. It sure is an extra effort, but that’s exactly the definition of ‘standing-out’.

List skills that closely match the job requirements. Are you good at complex problem solving, online marketing or have strong analytical skills? Pick the skills that present your personal brand in the best possible way to win the attention of employers.




creativeInclude portfolio links, writing samples, presentations on slideshare links in a separate document which can be attached with your resume, when sending it out to the hiring manager or applying online. Go as creative as your expertise allows. To be creative and unique is essential in the touch competitive job market.

Here’s an example of an extremely creative interactive online portfolio or resume of Robby Leonardi. Not many of us can do what we see here, but an inspiration always helps!

If you have any other brilliant examples, do share in comments below.



credibleYou might not have years of experience behind you to stand-out in the ever growing stack of resume of more qualified candidates, but unless you can show that you have the knowledge, know-how and passion to do what is expected, there’s no way your resume will be considered despite the right keywords, formatting and creativity.  Entry-level candidates can highlight their educational successes, extra-curricular or volunteer activities and achievements.

According to a report, about 80% of hiring managers feel that volunteer work makes graduates more attractive job candidates.

If you have volunteered or done freelance work, it counts as work experience.



clarityA well-articulated, clear message in your resume about what you bring to the role is essential to get the job search process to the next level. A recruiter has seen hundreds and thousands of resumes before yours, it’s best to cut through the fluff and present a clear value proposition on why you could be the best hire for the position. Two steps to ensure clarity in your resume:

  • Your qualifications and experience must be relevant to the job description or requirements.
  • Keep it short and professional, the resume is not your autobiography.
  • Chronology is still accepted but if you are creative enough, you can be innovative in presenting any career gaps (for career changers) or presenting your extra curricular activities in relevance to the expected skills.



communityGain insight from your network community. When looking for inspiration on how to best present your resume for your dream job, look at the profiles who have been there done that. LinkedIn could be an ideal starting point when looking for jobs in tech or non-tech sectors also. Entry level applicants and career changers can benefit immensely by analyzing what the pros highlight on their profiles.

41% of job seekers say a referral from a professional or personal contact got them their current job. (jobvite survey)

Your network can not only help you land your first job but also be helpful in offering feedback on your resume. Sift through your professional network to find contact who work in similar field or industry and request for a resume review before you send it over to the hiring manager.




A bonus “C” – Check – Don’t forget to check and recheck your resume for formatting, spelling errors and for correctness. Neatness and honesty are never old-school.

Once done and satisfied with your resume, it’s often a good idea to give it a critical final analysis. Look at your resume from a hiring manager’s eyes, would you hire yourself for this job?


How have these 5 Cs helped you in your #jobsearch?

Quick Quiz: How many extra Cs did you spot in the article that are also relevant to your resume and job search?