5 Ways To Give Your Resume the Wow Factor

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In this tight job market, making your resume stand out is crucial. We all know that our resumes are our chief marketing tool, but still, there are many people who send out resumes that don't have what it takes to impress employers in the digital age. Years ago, a well-written, neatly typed resume could be photocopied and mailed out to companies with great success. The document was the same for each potential employer and it served as a written work history. Those days are gone.

In today's digital job market, a resume has to be internet-friendly. We have to understand and accept the fact that the document we email to employers will be subject to Google web searches and even scanned by an applicant tracking system. Although the change has made work easier for human resource departments, it makes things more difficult for a job seeker.

If you are struggling to find a job, here are 5 ways that you can add some "wow" to your digital resume:

Research companies and keywords: When starting your job search, look at job boards and print out all of the job listings for companies you are interested in. Compare the ads and look for the most frequently used keywords. These words will be related to the most desirable skills and experience for the position. Once you've identified the important keywords, make sure that your resume contains those same words. Since most companies use some sort of applicant tracking system that scans resumes for specific keywords, the more hits your resume has, the better.

Always customize your resume for the job: The days of cookie-cutter resumes are long over, which is why it's important to edit your resume to match the keywords for each job. Every time you send out a resume, you should customize it to target the specific company. It's a little more effort, but if the prize is a job that will pay you a good salary, it's worth the extra 30 minutes. After all, this is the first deliverable to your new company - make it count.

Address your cover letter to someone: If you aren't sure who is in charge of hiring or don't know the name of the person, do some research and find out. These days, almost everyone has an online presence. With a quick web search or by using a professional networking site like LinkedIn, you should be able to discover the name of the person in charge of hiring. If your internet sleuthing doesn't give you a name, you could try cold calling the company and asking. Addressing a cover letter to "Dear Hiring Manager" should be avoided at all costs.

Use your network to get a personal referral: Having someone you know recommend you for the position is the best way to make sure that your resume is actually read by a real person. Once you submit your resume, make a list of people you know. If you don't personally know someone who works for the company, ask the people on your list if they know anyone. If, after checking with everyone, you still don't have a contact on the inside, use networking sites to find someone. Start a conversation and ask for help. You'll be surprised at how many people, even the ones you only know through distant friends, would be more than happy to help.

Follow up with the hiring manager: After sending in your resume and cover letter, it's a good idea to call the hiring manager personally to confirm that they have received your application. This doesn't mean that you should call and say, "Did you get my resume?" Instead, use the call as an opportunity to give your pitch and stand out. For example, you could call and say, "Hi, this is Ms. Smith. I've been working in sales for 10 years and I have a proven track record of success. I'm very interested in working with your company. I just sent you a copy of my resume. I wanted to take a moment to touch base with you and make sure that you've received it." This gives you a moment to state your name and say why you are someone they don't want to miss out on. It shows that you are determined and sincere about your interest in the position and illustrates how you get things done.

Giving your resume the "wow" factor involves doing more work at first, but it can make you stand out and help you land the job you really want. Do you customize your resume for each job? How do you make your resume memorable? Please share your thoughts in the comments.


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  • Oyegbemi A.
    Oyegbemi A.

    This is an eye opener to me,thanks.

  • Paula G.
    Paula G.

    My goodness. Times have changed since I was a job-seeker in my 20's and 30's. I can see I'm going to have to put more time and energy into my job search! I've already sent out a few cover letters addressed to "Dear Hiring Manager..." Oops! Thank you for the tips.

  • Crystal Wendt
    Crystal Wendt

    Thanks for the info. It is greatly appreciated and will be put to use. God bless!!!


    Let's not forget about the candidate's accomplishments. These are key to resumes because they prove the candidate's experience and ability to do the job. The summary on the resume and the content of the cover letter should be based on the candidate's accomplishments. Your accomplishments are what make you stand out as a candidate.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Sandra thanks for your comment. If you look at the top of this article you will see several icons. You can email this to your friends simply by clicking the last icon - the one with the envelop. That will allow you to email this article. You can post it on Facebook or on Twitter, etc. Every one of our articles has the options to share.

  • Sandra  D L.
    Sandra D L.

    Very good! I would like for this article to be emailed to me so that I can 'share' this information to my job seeking friends while we are having a bite at lunch(bigsmoov@comcast.net). Thanks!

  • Chineta Davis
    Chineta Davis

    Very helpful, informative and up to date. Thank you for the advice.

  • Abdelfattah Ragab
    Abdelfattah Ragab
    Nice, this is very nice.Thank you very much.
    Many of your suggestions I have been doing, but many were great advice, like networking with LinkedIn to find name of hiring manager.  I have been having trouble obtaining that information. Also finding an "inside person" has been extremely difficult. . Thank You.
  • Melissa Kennedy
    Melissa Kennedy
    Edith, if the advertisement clearly states "No Phone Calls", don't call them. however, if they don't state a preference one way or the other, then you should follow up.
  • Edith W
    Edith W
    What about  when the advertisement states "no phone calls please"?
  • Melissa Kennedy
    Melissa Kennedy
    Thanks for the comments.@Natalie - When they don't give you any information on Craigslist, it's a huge red flag that the job listing is a scam. Use caution.@Dr. Scott - You're right. I didn't realize that a CV was used in American in mostly academic positions. Thanks for the useful information, I appreciate the help!!@Robert - Thanks and good luck!
  • Ann A
    Ann A
    Very good article.
  • Natalie B
    Natalie B
    that is interesting. But when you look for job at Craigslist most of time does not give you company name or name of the person who is doing hiring. What do you do then?
  • Sharon C
    Sharon C
    As a former hiring manager, tip #5 would not be acceptable to me.  I am busy with the entire recruiting process and would not have time to spare for multiple applicants to call me.  Not good advice.
  • Dr. Scott K
    Dr. Scott K
    @Melissa, I hope someone has informed you about resume vs. CV. They are different and both are used here in America. The resume is most familiar since it is required to apply for most positions. A CV or Curriculum Vitae is used when applying for academic or medical jobs. A resume is usually very short, but a CV likely will be many pages longer (and generally, longer is better). The purpose of the CV is to communicate (in addition to experience as shown by listing jobs and responsibilities) levels of.education, professorial (teaching) skills, publications, awards, service in the profession, and possibly more. Thank you for your helpful advice.
  • Robert C
    Robert C
    Well, I got to plan some more for my job search strategy and make some adjustments, after reading this article. I really like it and I will make an effort to use my LinkedIn network for references and identifying the hiring manager and following up with the hiring manager for each good paying job I'm really interested in applying to. Thank you Ms. Melissa Kennedy.
  • Linda C
    Linda C
    Is there a resume format I could use?
  • Aqeel A
    Aqeel A
    Great tips for new job seekers..
  • Gordon S
    Gordon S
    very hepful informationThanks
  • Melissa Kennedy
    Melissa Kennedy
    @Michael - If the job listing say "No Calls" don't call them. @Jolene - That's a great idea!@Anette - Good Luck with your job search!@Dolores - Keep your chin up! I'm sure you'll find the right job soon!@Michael - There is so much information out there and it's hard to know what to do. The best thing is to filter all the advice and do what makes sense to you. Good Luck!@zedua - A resume and a CV are the same thing. In Europe, it's called a CV, in the U.S, it's a resume. I hope that helps!@Ceasar - It's not about "tricking" an employer into hiring you. Sometimes all you need is that one chance. In the hundreds of applicants, the majority of whom are just as qualified as you are, you have to stand out in order to get a chance to sell yourself.
  • Sonja C
    Sonja C
    I think that all the tips that were give is helpful. Now I know why I haven't heard back yet, thanks.
  • Michael M
    Michael M
    Comments/Questions:1) I've noticed many jobs posted online say "No Calls, Please".  I assume you should always honor that request and calling could be a negative mark, correct?2) Many jobs posted online do not give a person's name to address but tell you to email humanresources@company.com.  Is it still crucial to try to find a person's name?  What if you send it to the wrong person in the department unwittingly?
  • Jolene B
    Jolene B
    I agree with this article  I think when you apply for a job you MUST have all the information about the company right in front of you.  There may be that phone interview in the future that collected information is on hand to answer the interview questions so you don't wing it.   
  • Bernadette B
    Bernadette B
    Good feed to think on for the active job seeker and to utilize hopefully to their advantage to become employed.

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