Up Your Cool Factor with 21st Century Resume Tips

True or false? There is an abundance of resume advice available online.
True or false? There are many ways to receive feedback on your resume at no cost.
True or false? There are still too many job seekers who have terrible resumes.

True, true and, yes, true. How did you do?

There’s been some debate in recent years about the relevance of resumes and whether job seekers still need to have one. From my experience, it seems that resumes — in paper or electronic formats — are here to stay and have yet to be fully replaced. Here are some things that you can do to up your resume’s cool factor and catch the eyes of hiring managers.


Within good advertising, there’s a call to action. Call today. Register now. Get a quote. Buy this. Your resume is your marketing tool and needs a call to action. If you can increase the interactivity of your “flat” resume and encourage a recruiter to act, you will stand out from other job applicants.


Have you published any articles? Do write for a blog? Is your LinkedIn profile filled with great recommendations? Do you have a online portfolio? Have you designed a brilliant website? With so much content living online, you would be remiss not to link to it from your resume. It adds value without lengthening your resume and starts to create a more complete picture of who you are as a potential employee, and what you would bring to a position and company.


Recently, I reviewed the resume of a Millennial whom I had met; on her resume, she listed “social media” as a skill, but neglected to include links to her social media presence. If you use social media as a platform to extend your professional or personal brand, include it on your resume. If a potential employer is looking for a social media director, a PR manager, a social recruiter, a digital marketing specialist … chances are your Twitter handle could add value to your candidacy.


A friend of mine who’s a manager of a creative design team received a resume with a QR code on it, so of course, he scanned it. The QR code linked to the applicant’s resume. Hmm … a resume that links to a resume? Not ideal. However, I like the idea of QR codes that point to career-enhancing videos, online portfolios, published works, LinkedIn profiles and any other media that showcases your talent or builds credibility.


Now that you have upped your cool factor, don’t let avoidable mistakes set you back. Proofread your resume (it’s manager not manger) and focus on accomplishments, not just menial tasks. Also, you must ensure that you are clearly communicating why you are the best person for a specific job with a specific company. A QR code will not help you if you forget all that you learned during Resume 101 class.

How does your resume stand out?

In what other ways can you make your resume stand out? What are your thoughts about these resume tips? Don’t be shy, share your thoughts below.

Shannon Smedstad

Shannon Smedstad has nearly 20 years of recruitment, employer branding, and communications experience. Currently, she serves as the Principal Employer Brand Strategist at exaqueo. Previously, she held employer branding and recruiting leadership roles at CEB and GEICO. She’s a work at home mom raising two awesome girls who also enjoys reading, running, leading a Girl Scout troop, and her morning coffee. You can connect with Shannon on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Reader Interactions


    • Shannon says

      Thanks so much for sharing that link! I’m working on a story about a recent grad who has BIG ideas to stand out … can’t wait to share his strategy. 🙂 — Shannon

  1. Dillon says

    Right on the money! When you consider how tight competition is getting at every level of hiring within an organization, the need to stand out is only increasing. We at Innovate CV have been saying that for years with our visual CV, we’re glad to see this concept coming to the forefront!

    • Shannon says

      Agreed. There’s a lot of competition and finding ways to stand out (in good, appropriate ways) is becoming very important across many career fields. Thanks for reading and commenting! — Shannon

  2. AFA Julie says

    Great tips – I like that they aren’t ideas that will only work for creative types. Linking to your LinkedIn profile recommendations is an excellent idea.

  3. Meaghan says

    Thanks for sharing your tips. I think before including a QR code on your resume you should consider how your resume will be delivered. If emailing or making an application online then the recruiter will be likely viewing on a computer anyway and a link will be sufficient. A QR code will be unnecessary in most cases since usually a desktop or laptop will be used to view and review resumes. A QR code would be a great tool on a business card!



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