How do you impress the hiring manager? What gets attention? What gets skipped? When a hiring manager screens a pile of resumes, certain things jump out, while others do not.
Understand that the hiring manager is looking for 10 or 15 people out of a 100 that he wants to telephone-screen. These are the people who have something the hiring manager wants: A specific result, some needed experience, or a practical solution to an immediate problem. After reading your resume the hiring manager should say, “This is someone I want to talk to, as they have the skills or experience that I need”.
Generally, these are the items that get more attention from the hiring manager:
- Results (especially metrics) that parallel what I’m looking for to fill the position. If you don’t have the skills and experiences that can do the job, I’m not going to waste my time.
- Companies that you worked for that I recognize: In the same industry, same job scope, or a competitor where I can learn something. That can be an advantage to you.
- Do you have career progression over time? Do you have increasing responsibilities that will benefit my organization?
- What are the “stall” points, gaps, things that don’t make sense? Did you take time off to travel around the world? Raise young children? Start your own company? Why hide it?
- Have you only been in one place for an extended period of time? Are you constrained by location and not be available when I need you?
- Is the resume organized and error free? If you can’t do that well, why even talk to you?
- I want to know if you’ll peak out early or continue to advance my organization.
Generally, these are the items that get glossed over initially or get you demerits:
- Your school name is less important than your major and level of education. Experience and results achieved is much more important to me than your Alma mater.
- Decorative or lavishly formatted resumes usually take away from important information. It’s distracting. Attach a portfolio of your work if you feel the need.
- Don’t include a photo. If I want to see what you look like, I’d be hiring you for the wrong reason. I want qualities in a person that don’t show up in a photograph.
- Personal information that has nothing to do with the job. Your personal issues are of little interest unless it affects the job.
- Too many words like I, me, my, and not enough words like we, team, group results.
- Superlatives about how wonderful you are that can’t be verified: “Creative solutions leader”, “Strong manager”, “Multi-talented professional”, “Collaborated with, contributed to, or assisted in” (means you were a minor player).
- Have you stayed too long in one place, or have fallen into a “maintenance mode”? I can’t afford a hiring mistake.
You usually get only one chance to impress the hiring manager. Make it count.
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