Why write a resume? For most people, it’s because most businesses require you to submit one as a part of applying to work for them. If they didn’t, we wouldn’t create one.

But since they do, there is no law stating that you have to make your resume look exactly like everyone else’s. It’s time we started treating our resumes as a marketing tool instead of just any old piece of paper with our name on it.

Whether or not you have a job now, here’s what you should do.

  1. Delete, tear up, or burn your current resume.
  2. Open up a new file from scratch (Word works but if you have some design background or feel like learning, using a program like Adobe InDesign might work better)
  3. Ask yourself these questions: What story am I trying to tell with this document? What is the end goal when somebody reads this for the first time?

The answers to those questions should guide your new resume. There is no one size fits all template. There is no single layout that you must follow. You are unique, and your resume should reflect that.

Imagine a stack of resumes on a desk somewhere. Right in the middle of it is yours. You are just as qualified, though maybe in a different way, as most of the other people whose resumes sit in that stack with yours. You can one piece of paper to make an impression.

Do you want them to view you as a team leader? As a hard working team member? As an expert in one field or another? As a game changer?

Be bold. Use strong language. Back up your past performance with stats and numbers that help to explain what made you so valuable to your last employer. Explain your passions, your goals, your skills and your hobbies in a way that shows a complete stranger how amazing you are.

The goal of the resume is to get you a meeting, or interview. And you can’t do that if you don’t stand out from the crowd. At a time when finding a job can be harder than finding a winning lottery ticket, your resume might be the most precious thing we own.