University of South Carolina :: Darla Moore School of Business   the Competitive Edge

with Wendy Enelow & Louise Kursmark

Wendy Enelow & Louise Kursmark, the authors of Modernize Your Resume - Get Noticed... Get Hired share their favorite techniques in bringing resumes up to speed for today's competitive job search market.

One reason that resumes have changed over the past several years is because there's a fundamental shift in the way people read. Thanks to the Internet, people are now power browsing.

Power Browsing
- Skimming rather than reading
- Absorbing information in small bites
- Easily distracted to something new

The big challenge with power browsing is that a resume must capture visual attention instantaneously, deliver information quickly and constantly reward readers with new and meaningful details as they power browse through the document.

6 Hallmarks of a Modern Resume:

  1. Clear and concise, written and designed to appeal to today's readers.
  2. Laser focused to your individual job target.
  3. Rich with keywords that resonate with employers.
  4. Specific in describing achievements rather than general capabilities.
  5. Contemporary appearance and visually distinctive.
  6. Linked to email, online profiles, websites, and social media.

3 Tips/Techniques to Help Create a Modern Resume:


Be laser focused with details. Know what’s important to your readers and what's most valuable for the positions that you're targeting.

- Start with a headline that instantly communicates "who" you are.
- Use the title that best defines you and your expertise - as related to your current career goal.

Be big, be bold, be clear. Readers will grasp that critical information in a split second and immediately start thinking of you in that context.

- Choose your top few qualififcations that are most relevant to your current goal
- Don't try to summarize your entire career
- Dont write generic summaries -- be specific
- Qualified for Position as -- Put this in your resume when you wish to change careers
- Headlines must be honest while also focusing very sharply on the current career objective, not on a past job

- Identify top skills for your new target career
- Think of specific examples when you've used those skills
- Omit or downplay details from past jobs if they're not relevant

Above all, your resume should portray you as you want to be perceived now. Starting with the headline and summary, and continuing to every section of the resume. Let your objective drive the content and you'll create a resume that will perfectly position you for your current career goals.

Modern Content Tip #2: START WITH THE WOW

A very favorite modernizing principle is Start with the Wow!

Wows are the most impressive, most important and valuable you as a candidate. These are the top few things that you want readers to instantly know about you so they'll be impressed, interested and eager to learn more.

- Include wow statements throughout – wherever they will be noticeable and communicate value:
  • In your summary
  • Throughout experience section
  • In education

Ways to Show the Wow Factors in a Resume:
1. Headline and Summary
- Include very concise presentation of expertise and most notable career achievements. A short one sentence paragraph that introduces you to 4 of your most significant achievements.

2. Experience section
- You can put charts as they show improvement (a definite wow factor as it shows career progression). Remember to put the objective in the driver seat and focus on the wow factors that support that objective.
- If a prior career is a completely different field, then those early positions can be presented much more concisely. Show the career progression and highlight the achievements but do not distract the readers with largely irrelevant detail about a prior career.
- Place numbers in a table format. Numbers really stand out.

Start with a bold statement that tells something about the job. The big picture of what you accomplished or what you were recruited to do.

Never discount the importance of wow statements on your resume. They are the items that get noticed first, differentiate you from other candidates, give you the competitive edge and help land that job.


Consider the words used to describe the job activities and achievements. Write with meaning and power so you are very clearly and very specifically communicating what you've done.

- Add power with verbs-strong, specific, varied
- Enhance your story with adverbs and adjectives -only where they add value
- Convey soft skills through accomplishments - not generic soft-skills descriptors

- All employers are looking for people who possess the following skills:
  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Innovation
  • Critical thinking
  • Other workplace skills
But how do you express intangibles in a resume? We don't think it's valuable to add a lot of generic soft skills descriptors. All that does is bog down the resume and make you sound a lot like everyone else. Instead, share examples when you used those skills and how it benefited the organization, in other words, your unique achievements

To wrap up, this video talked about the 3 powerful techniques for writing resume content:

1. Put your Objective in the Driver's Seat
2. Start with the Wow
3. Write with Meaning and Power

If you can integrate those strategies into your resume, you'll be successful in creating a document that is engaging, informative and relevant to your readers.

Expert BIO
with Wendy Enelow & Louise Kursmark

Best-selling authors Wendy Enelow and Louise Kursmark have written over 30 books on resumes, cover letters, hiring and career management – including the recently released Modernize Your Resume — during decades-long careers in resume writing and coaching for job seekers worldwide. Both Wendy and Louise are Master Resume Writers (MRW), Job & Career Transition Coaches (JCTC) and Certified Professional Resume Writers (CPRW).