Daily Archives: February 5, 2014

Inside an Employer’s Mind: What They Look for in a Resume

Insidean_Employers_Mind_ResumeResumes can make or break a job search. It’s a critical element in getting an interview, which is a necessary step in landing the job. We asked a few current and former recruiters what stands out most to them in reviewing resumes and we want to share that insight with you. We’ve also linked to a few great articles on crafting the perfect resume to make this your one-stop shop for job search success.

Read on for the three most common things employers look for in a resume.

Is this resume a match?
The single most important factor in reviewing resumes for David Lewis, an expert in the recruiting industry with more than 10 years’ experience is, “Does the resume ‘resonate’ with the actual job description?”  He advises job seekers to submit a customized resume to each job that is tailored to mirror the job description.

Keep in mind, hiring managers are reading your resume along with a stack of others at the same time. This environment lends to them scanning and looking for similar keywords and skill statements that are resonate with the job requirements. It’s important that you are using standard terms to describe your abilities so your resume stands out as a match. Creatively describing your abilities can hurt you in this instance, not to mention if the company is using an applicant tracking system to screen your resume the keywords will need to be identical.

Casie VanRuymbeke, a contract and search specialist, said “Make it clear that your experience is a match – don’t assume the person reading your resume will infer that you have the right skills based on your previous job titles.”

What is the work history on this resume?
Having the skills required for the job is essential, but your experience can be the most important part of your resume. Blake Whisenant, a former recruiter, said “I checked resumes to see who they worked for in the past, this can make the candidate more or less desirable considering the reputation of that company.”

Another thing employers look at it is your longevity in past positions. If you’ve experienced several short-term jobs, you may want to consider a functional resume format to draw less attention to your timeline while still showcasing your abilities.

Jonathan Thom, a professional with more than 20 years in staffing and recruiting, says he looks at the work history on a resume to demonstrate a “consistent direction in title growth” as well as “stability and tenure.” One thing he advises job seekers leave off their resume is personal information, like irrelevant hobbies.

Besides just the length of time worked in a position, highlight specific accomplishments within that job. Demonstrate your capabilities by sharing examples or milestones to paint a picture of how you can impact a potential new workplace.

Is this resume formatted clearly?

If you have the skills and the experience that make you the perfect person for the job, make sure your resume presents all this information in an easy to read manner. Keeping your formatting clean and simple is important. Check out this information on trimming up your resume.

If you are customizing resumes to shine a light on your relevant qualities for each job opening, make sure you are reviewing each resume and making necessary edits before submission. Keeping your resume free of typos and grammatical errors is an ongoing process and it should be reviewed each time you alter it.

In closing, check out our article 3 Resume Elements to Land an Interview for more tips on perfecting your resume.

What advice have you received to help make your resume stand out? Share with us in the comments section below.