What Hiring Managers Are Looking for When Examining Your Resume

We all know that finding a new job can be strenuous and frustrating. But did you know that seemingly harmless mistakes made by job seekers often make landing a new position even more difficult?

In my role as a recruiter, I speak with dozens of hiring managers on a weekly basis. These individuals are experts at dissecting resumes and making inferences about candidates based on what they find within these important documents. While resumes can be used to boost a candidate’s chances of landing a new position, they can prove to be major progress inhibitors in the job search.

Here are five key points that hiring managers are looking for when examining your resume:

1. Be sure that your resume and LinkedIn profile align

Upon receiving a candidate’s resume, many hiring managers will head straight to LinkedIn to explore their professional profile. My advice to candidates is to ensure that your resume and LinkedIn profile are properly lined up. For example, check to make sure that your timelines and dates of employment are the same on both sources. An abundance of discrepancies between your LinkedIn and your resume isn’t a great look, so keep both of them consistent.

2. Pay attention to the details

While your resume may have an awesome look and feel to it, the devil is in the details. Hiring managers will raise a red flag when they observe spelling or grammatical mistakes on a candidate’s resume—especially when that candidate is being considered for a customer-facing role. Be sure that your punctuation is consistent, your tenses are matched, and your capitalization is appropriate. Run a quick spell check before finalizing your document, or leverage free writing assistance tools like Grammarly to improve your work.

3. Provide ample insight into previous employment

Rather than simply listing your position titles and employers, be sure to provide the hiring manager with adequate detail around your prior career moves. Do your work transitions make sense? Were you making vertical moves to advance your professional growth? What types of new responsibilities did you take on? These are all questions that hiring managers will be pondering upon picking up your resume, so be sure you have enough information to tell a positive and promising story.

4. Sell yourself with specific data and accomplishments

Your resume is a perfect opportunity to sell yourself and showcase your talents. However, I advise my candidates to do so strategically and quantitatively. If you’re in a sales position, be sure to highlight some of your top sales numbers from previous years. If you have quarterly or annual quotas that you reached, make sure that you thoroughly describe them. If there are important projects that you’ve contributed to, provide detailed information about the work that you completed. Ultimately, it’s hard to sell yourself on a piece of paper if you’re neglecting to mention this specific data, so be sure to provide these important performance metrics!

5. Find the right length

Regardless of how qualified you are as a candidate, no hiring manager wants to read a four-page essay about your gobs of professional experience. When it comes to your resume, be succinct and concise. Take a step back and ask yourself: “What points do I really want to convey?” If your resume is lacking direction or purpose, the hiring manager will be able to sniff this out instantly. Don’t be overly concerned about limiting your resume to one page, as doing so may eliminate some important details about your previous employment history. Rather, focus on prioritizing a few primary themes that you want your resume to display. This will be critical in bolstering your job-seeking success.

Summary

I often reinforce the following point to my candidates: your resume is a reflection of you. Make sure the document represents not just who you are and what you’ve accomplished, but what you are seeking in the future. By following my five tips, your resume will be blowing hiring managers away and you’ll be fast-tracking your job-seeking success!  

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