En Route: A Career Blog

When you want ‘wow’ in your resume

AUTHOR: Darlene Zambruski
CATEGORY: ,
POSTED: February 21, 2012 at 11:04 am

The ‘wow’ factor. We’ve all heard about it. It’s the quality that makes us sit up and take notice of a politician, performer, colleague, boss, what-have-you.

When it comes to resumes, every candidate wants that ‘wow’ factor to shine. But do you really know what it is? You may be surprised that you don’t.

What the ‘wow’ factor is not:

1. Fancy fonts to capture a hiring manager’s or recruiter’s attention. Designer fonts or those with script or fancy lettering will certain capture the eye, but they’re also extremely difficult to read. What’s more, they’re not universal on all PCs or Macs. That means, that if the recruiter or hiring manager doesn’t have the font on his/her computer, another font will be substituted which will compromise formatting.

2. Use of color, photos and graphics. Unless you’re a ‘creative’, which would be a graphic designer, artist, performer or the like, then keep these bells and whistles off your resume. You can use a headshot (professional with you in a business suit or business attire) if you’re applying for a sales position with lots of public contact. Other than that, don’t clutter your resume with junk that won’t be taken seriously.

3. Lots and lots of $20 words. Rather than referring to yourself as a teacher, you prefer pedagogue, believing it has a nice, intelligent ring. Trouble is some might not know what you mean. Others will wonder why you’re not writing in plain old English. You know, something that’s easily understood. Don’t jazz up your resume with verbiage never used by the majority of the populace.

4. Putting every single project you’ve ever done into your resume no matter how small in order to show the depth of your experience. Trust me, doing this will work against you. No one will read a ten page resume. The average person will stop at the middle of the first page if you don’t have what s/he is looking for.

What the ‘wow’ factor is:

1. A solid opening summary that paints you as the perfect candidate for the position. Dovetail everything you have done to everything the employer requires.

2. Quantified accomplishments. It’s not an achievement if it didn’t improve your company in some way. Did you save the company money? Did you make the company money? Did you create an innovative procedure or product? That’s what makes a hiring manager say, “Wow.”

3. A Professional Experience section that states only the most important tasks. Don’t list duty after duty. It gets tiring to read. What’s more, most employers won’t read it.

Remember, hiring managers and recruiters are looking for individuals who’ll be a good fit for their company. That’s the ‘wow’ factor they seek. Nothing else. Make yourself appear to be the ideal candidate and you’ll be well on your way to an interview.