What Employers are Looking for in Your Resume

Aug 22, 2011

15 to 30 seconds. That’s all the amount of time an employer needs to know if you’re in line for an interview or not. Hundreds of resumes go in and out of businesses every year, let’s make sure your next resume stays on that desk. 15 to 30 seconds is not a lot of time to impress an employer, that’s why less is better but making less, more powerful. It is hard to produce a winning document if you don’t know what employer’s are looking for. So let’s take a walk through of what you should include before you hand out your next resume.

Your resume is your best weapon when trying to strike that new job, so keep it short, relevant and specific. If you provide too many pages, you will be making it easier for the employer to lose you in your writing.

When writing your resume you want to make sure that you are accurate with your information and professional about it. You should write a clear objective that will intrigue the employer to scan a little more. Notice I say the word scan? Employers don’t fully read a resume until they have scanned. If once they have scanned and they are interested, they will go back and read in more detail. This is also why the resume should be visually pleasing, but not crazy with font sizes, styles and graphics. Because the employer is scanning your resume it is always best to use powerful words. Powerful words are what will catch someone’s attention. Try words like leadership or positivity. Employers love the words that describe a person’s ability. Other great words to use are action words when you are describing your accomplishments and results. Give facts, not simple sentences. This is your shot at a job; let them know who you are and what you are capable of. For example, “Sold new products to a large company”, “Sold over $20,000 of products in 2 weeks to a new company”.

Another thing employers love to see is work you’ve done in which you’ve received no pay. It shows a number of different things. You’re dedicated, you’ve got passion for a wide variety of work, dependability and you’re willingness to help out others. It’s always nice to put a small flare to your resume. Try customizing it; it will surely make your resume stand out. Do some background research on the business; even a phone call prior to handing it in and you will have made a great first impression.

Your resume is reflecting you. If you have it cluttered, you are telling the employee you are unorganized, if it is crisp and clean you are telling the employer you pay attention to detail and are organized. It’s the small details that count, even spelling. Many employers will not even look at a resume any further if they catch a spelling mistake. It shows you rushed to get the resume complete to hand in. They are looking for someone who can fill any position they have in mind, so be prepared. You may not have all the skills for the position but there may be something else that catches the employer’s eye. Remember, you can always pick up skills you don’t have if you are the type that is willing to learn.

You can go into further details about strengths and weaknesses in the interview phase. You don’t want to give the employer too much information, just enough so that they are curious to ask you further questions. So when preparing your winning document, be aware of the small details that employer’s look for. Set your goal to receive an interview and achieve it. Your resume is your reflection; you want it to be clear. So go take a look at your resume now, does it cover everything we just discussed? If not, you’ve got some work to do, but use your present resume as a guideline for the new and improved one.

So I leave you with this quote from Bo Bennet, “Resume: a written exaggeration of only the good things a person has done in the past, as well as a wish list of the qualities a person would like to have.”