Nowadays, searching for a job is an extremely daunting task. You’re competing against hundreds of other candidates as well as the algorithms of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to try and even have the opportunity to have a real person look at your resume. Where do you even begin with all of that? Resume writing is a skill in and of itself, but we’re here to help you navigate this process by starting with what hiring managers are looking for in your resume.
What you have to have
Hiring managers are looking for a lot of different things based on the role they’re trying to fill. We’ve narrowed it down to four main subjects you should be aware of.
1. Relevant skills and experience
This one should seem obvious because it is. One of the first things a hiring manager is going to look for is if you’re actually a good fit for the position. If you want your resume to actually make it to a hiring manager, you’ll first have to be cleared through ATS. The best way to do that is to make sure the skills and experience you highlight in your resume align with the responsibilities listed within the job description.
Are you familiar with the software the company uses? Put it in your technical skills section. Have you already done some of the duties outlined in the job description? Build that detail into one of your bullet points. Even if you don’t initially seem like a perfect fit, find areas where the skill sets overlap. It can also be helpful to be aware of the difference between hard skills and soft skills when mapping this part of your resume out. We’ve got you covered on that too.
Your resume should not simply be a list of your previous job responsibilities. That’s great if your responsibilities matched those in the job description, but what matters even more is that you were able to accomplish something when completing those tasks. Achievements, more than anything else, are what is going to help set you apart from the other candidates and impress hiring managers.
If you can prove that you had an impact at your previous company, they’ll be confident that you can do the same with theirs. Unsure of how to do that? A lot of times, that can come down to numbers. If you have quantifiable results, you can’t go wrong.
3. Consistent formatting
If you’re formatting is inconsistent, hiring managers are going to assume you lack attention to detail and are careless. Double and triple check your resume to ensure that all of the dates and locations are in the same placement for each role.
Oftentimes, we focus so hard on ensuring that our bullet points are strong and our experience is included. Both of those factors are extremely important, but they shouldn’t take away from the fact that everything on your resume matters. Consistency is key.
4. Career progression
We’ve mentioned this same idea in a previous article. Hiring managers love to see long tenures within companies. They also love to see growth. If you were consistently being promoted to new roles within the company or spent years gaining experience within a certain role it shows that you are a loyal and committed employee. It speaks for itself.
Now, before you freak out if you’ve only ever held positions or stayed with one company for a few years at a time, that’s alright too. Sometimes it can take a while to find a company or a role that is a good fit for you, which is important for your professional well-being and your mental well-being. If you’re running into this issue, your cover letter can be a great place to explain yourself. For more on cover letters, check out our article here.
What you should steer clear of
Okay, you’ve got a bit more insight into what hiring managers are looking for in your resume. That’s great. But, they aren’t only keeping an eye out for what you’ve done and what you can prove in your resume, they’re also going to use this document to critique you. Again, every aspect of your resume matters, so be sure to check for these mistakes as well.
1. Grammar mistakes
According to a survey conducted by CareerBuilder, 60% of resumes have grammar mistakes. You do not want to fall into that category. There are plenty of tools out there including Grammarly to help you catch some of these mistakes, but be sure to double-check anyway.
Do not lie on your resume. This is a HUGE no-no. We cannot stress that enough. Hiring managers can see right through these types of resumes and you will not get called back for an interview. Even if you’ve been on the job hunt for a while now, do not stoop to this level. Instead, reach out to us here at BrandResumes to get you started instead.
3. Lack of customization
If you haven’t yet, check out our article on the “6 Resume Red Flags.” One of the mistakes we see the most is job seekers not taking the time to customize their resumes to the specific roles they are seeking. Our first suggestion in this article was to include relevant skills and experience. If you are skipping that step, you won’t appear qualified for the job. Ensure that every resume you submit is as tailored to your desired position as much as you can possibly make it while still avoiding embellishing any of your information.
Working hard to achieve your goals is a given, but this hard work also has to be put into crafting your resume. One of our biggest beliefs is that your resume is your first investment. Take the proper time and do what you can to ensure hiring managers are going to look at your resume and be amazing at how qualified you are. Also, check in every Thursday and Friday on our blog to read more articles like this one to keep reaching those goals. Good luck!