Having worked with clients for more than eleven years, I often hear them state that they want a ‘wow’ factor in their resume. They want it to ‘pop’.
In questioning what they mean, candidates often say that they need their resume to stand out from the scores of others out there. They want their document to make it to the top of the pile.
What You Think You Need in a Resume versus What The Hiring Manager Wants to See
Some believe adjective heavy descriptions are a good thing. Others are certain that a certain format, page length or writing style is exactly what’s needed.
Your Goal is to Please the Hiring Manager, not Yourself
For a hiring manager, a resume that has a wow factor or pops simply means this:
1. The candidate has the exact skills needed for the position.
2. Accomplishments prove the candidate has and will achieve at the new company.
That’s what hiring managers want – core skills and evidence that these skills have been used in the past to enhance the company’s profits by either making it money or saving it money.
Fancy fonts won’t do that. A dazzling template might catch the eye, but if there’s little substance in the data, the hiring authority will move on. Grammatically correct language is a must. Prose that would make Dickens sigh is not.
Your Resume Should Paint You as the Ideal Candidate
A resume is a marketing tool with you as the product. It should prove you have the skills, knowledge, abilities to get the job done and to exceed beyond expectations.
It’s as simple as that.
Don’t waste your time worrying about which font to use. Keep it simple – Arial or Times New Roman. They’re universal and are easy on the eye. Template choice should only matter in that its appearance matches your industry (eg: conservative for banking; more of a flair for a creative), it has an appropriate use of white space and is organized for quick reading. As to page length: A modern resume is as long as it needs to be provided it contains only that information germane to the new job search. Anything that’s not relevant should be excluded.
Follow these guidelines and your background/skills/abilities will wow the hiring manager.