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Building a résumé is time-consuming and difficult. At the end of it, you’re left with a boring piece of paper that doesn’t do justice to you as a person or as a potential employee. Sumry offers you an easy way to do something that stands out. But is it really better than a traditional résumé? Let’s take a look and find out.

What Is Sumry?

There are plenty of résumé-building services out there — we’ve shown you some that use your LinkedIn profile 2 Tools To Turn Your LinkedIn Profile Into A Neat-Looking Resume 2 Tools To Turn Your LinkedIn Profile Into A Neat-Looking Resume LinkedIn isn't only good for networking. Those who maintain detailed LinkedIn profiles can turn them into informative online resumes to jump start their job search. There are a few handy tools that will both allow... Read More , others that help you make a resume from scratch Build an Impressive Free Resume Online in 15 Minutes With JobSpice Build an Impressive Free Resume Online in 15 Minutes With JobSpice Read More , and even how to use PowerPoint for your résumé How to Make a Visual Resume with PowerPoint in 3 Steps How to Make a Visual Resume with PowerPoint in 3 Steps Read More . But they all do the same thing: list your skills and experiences in the traditional (read: boring) format that recruiters have seen thousands of times. Sumry aims to change what the résumé looks like — instead of listing your skills, Sumry wants to tell your story.

sumry-sections

The idea behind Sumry is that presenting a job applicant as a person, with experiences, skills, desires, and personality, instead of a list of skills, gives recruiters a better idea of what that person is actually like. This lets the job applicants’ qualities shine and — ideally — get them the job.

The Basics

A Sumry can be viewed in two ways — online and as a PDF. The online version is the more interesting one, so we’ll start there.

When you first see a Sumry page, you’ll notice that it’s quite different from a traditional résumé. There are big blocks of color, a photo, and not a bulleted list to be found. The header of the page drops down from the top, making it dynamic as well. This is all pretty cool, and definitely makes for a visually engaging page. (If you want to see the page in action, you can check out my Sumry.)

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sumry-header

Interestingly, there’s very little information that can be gathered from the initial view of the page. Everything of interest is below the fold, meaning that someone viewing your résumé has to scroll down to see it. One of the basics of Internet marketing is to keep as much useful information above the fold as possible, but if someone has come to this page to look at your résumé, it’s likely that they’ll be willing to scroll a bit to see it.

When you scroll down, you’ll see the really fun part of Sumry. Each point is presented on a timeline, and they appear one at a time as the reader scrolls through the page. It makes it feel very interactive and is significantly more engaging than a single page full of text.

sumry-bubbles

The different sections of the résumé, like experience, skills, references, links, and contact, are presented in alternating colors with contrasting text, which helps break up the page nicely. Each point is represented by a marker on the line. Some of these look like plain bullet points, but others contain symbols that are related to the point, a percentage to represent expertise, or a year to create a timeline.

Each point can also be linked, which is great for presenting your portfolio of web clips or contact information.

The Print Version

The online version of your Sumry is elegant and visually striking, but what about the PDF version? Most jobs still require a résumé to be sent in some form, and many times it’s not possible to send a link. You can easily download a PDF version of your Sumry by clicking the printer in the upper right-hand corner of the page in the edit screen.

sumry-pdf

The PDF looks exactly the same as the online page, though there’s no interactivity. What does this mean for the overall effect? It’s hard to say. The page breaks definitely detract from the feeling of flow that the online version has, and the fact that your résumé is now on four or five pages instead of one or two could be cause for concern. However, because recruiters and HR managers will almost certainly be viewing it online, the increased readability and visual interest might make it worth it.

Editing Your Sumry

The editing interface is very helpful, and comes with a number of examples to help you get started on your own Sumry. Each section has an “Add another point” box at the end of it where you can enter a title and some text, as well as choose the type of marker that you’d like to use and link the title to a URL. (Pro tip: type “icon-” into the Bubble field to see a full list of all the icons that are available, and add a letter to the end to see all of the icons that begin with that letter.)

sumry-edit

By changing the “Add another point” box to “Add another reference,” you can enter a name and an e-mail address, and Sumry will send them an e-mail asking for a reference that can be posted on the page. You can also choose manual editing to enter a name, title, e-mail address, phone number, and a quote if you already have references. You can even add a picture to make it more personal.

The Cost

There are two versions of Sumry: Free and Dream. The free version gets you up to 25 points, only one color option, no download capabilities, and Sumry branding on your résumé. The Dream version gives you unlimited points, a number of color options, the ability to upload a picture to serve as the header background, downloadable PDFs, and a within-app job applying functionality. Yes, with the Dream version you can apply for jobs and be notified in real-time the second your resume is viewed.

sumry-cost

What do you pay for the Dream version? Just $3 per month. Even if it doesn’t get you a job, that’s still less than a fancy coffee at a café.

The official video summarizes it all:

Is It Worth It?

While it does have some drawbacks — like no information above the fold and downloadable resumes that run to four-plus pages—Sumry seems like a good deal. The Dream subscription is cheap, and it lets you create a resume that looks different from almost everyone else’s. The online version is beautiful, the PDF version certainly stands out, and the format lets you get creative with how you present yourself. It’s certainly a great break from stock résumé templates 3 Useful Websites for Free Downloadable Resume Templates 3 Useful Websites for Free Downloadable Resume Templates Read More .

That said, whether or not you should use a non-traditional résumé might depend on your field. For example, a graphic designer or a content developer might benefit from an eye-catching résumé, while an executive might want something that looks a bit more formal. Because as cool as it is, a Sumry does look a bit casual. And doing something non-traditional always comes with some risk.

What do you think? Is this a tool you’d be willing to try? How do you make your résumé stand out from the crowd?

  1. Kendall S
    May 3, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    thanks really helpful.

    • Dann A
      May 5, 2014 at 4:17 pm

      Glad you liked it! I hope it proves useful in your job search.

  2. Scott M
    May 2, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    I think these kinds of things are great. We're finally learning that using the same formula for expression from 100 years ago isn't always the best solution, and any of these dynamic resume builders create a much more interesting result and, I think, will have a higher chance of leading to success.

    • Dann A
      May 3, 2014 at 9:53 am

      I totally agree—there are a lot of things that we keep doing just because we've been doing them for a long time, even though there's no evidence that they're good ways of doing things! I hope you're right about these types of resumes having a higher chance of success; it still feel a bit gimmicky to me at times (especially when using the printed version), but overall I think it's definitely a step in the right (more interesting) direction.

      Thanks for the comment!

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