There are many explanations about what a resume should include and exclude. This article is a text document, and has a limited ability to truly showcase how visually exciting a resume can and should be. However, that is good because a WOW resume is not limited to its visual design. It is about strategy.
The hiring manager needs to know what type of professional you at a glance. If you write, “Dynamic professional seeking a position that will benefit from extensive experience and education,” you just missed an opportunity to tell the reader who you really are. Dynamic? Does this really describe the type of person you are? What about starting the profile with self-directed or solutions-focused?
Be careful not to throw words around just because it sounds exciting. It really needs to match your personality. If you use language such as dynamic, I’m going to guess you have been reading old resume books and resume samples. Since that is not what you would write, you might think that is what you should do. The truth is, that language worked years ago. Now it is overused and outdated. You need to keep pace with today’s resume writing trends. That is why hiring a professional resume writer is a wise investment. They know what works.
You need to create a branding statement that immediately communicates the type of candidate you are, going across the top line in boldface caps, such as, “Senior-level Sales and Marketing Strategist – Digital Media”. This tells the reader that you are at the senior level, are in sales and marketing, and what area you are specialized in. It is much more powerful than a wishy-washy objective statement or cliche profile.
Speaking of profiles, do not limit a profile to attributes that fail to describe your career path and only list your soft skills. Even then, you want to be sure the keywords you choose are appropriate. For example, you do not want to list team leader when you only supervise three people. You do not want to write that you have project management experience if the largest project you managed was updating the department’s filing system. You do not want to list that you manage vendor relations when you use a requisition form to order supplies.
It is important to be honest and to keep the information realistic. There are better keywords to describe what you do in the examples cited about. For instance, filing system management, staff supervision, special project coordination, and order processing.
A profile is the “brief” or the “skinny” on who you are as a professional. Instead of writing something “out of the book” such as “Dynamic, results-oriented professional with extensive experience in sales and marketing.” You are better off writing something like, “Madison Avenue caliber sales and marketing strategist with 15+ years of experience driving the visibility of leading consumer brands by leveraging TV, print and radio, and recently social marketing vehicles.”
Be specific about the type of experience you have had in your career with an emphasis on what is most relevant, the industries you have been in and are in currently, and what you specialize in.
Then, you need to entice the reader to show them your value. The best approach is to include selected accomplishments at the top, immediately after your profile. It is okay to list Core Competencies, followed by a set of keywords. However, that is not as impactful as listing Career Highlights to explain what you achieved.
If you were in an interview and the hiring manager asked you to tell them about three of the most notable achievements you have made at your last employer, those are the accomplishments that you should highlight. Think about what you have achieved at each employer. List them at the top in a brief manner and expand on them under each position so it serves as a teaser and adds value to your resume’s overall strategy and presentation.
Everything outlined in this article has focused on “above the fold” meaning the section above Professional Experience. You want to grab the reader’s attention and make them want to read the rest. It is very important that whatever you highlight at the top is supported under Professional Experience. If not, they will lose interest and go on to the next resume.
If you are not sure what to highlight, read job descriptions to get a sense for what target companies are looking for and build your information around those requirements.
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