There is a lot of information swirling around the internet about resume creation. But why not go straight to the source? After all, if anyone knows what makes an effective resume, it’s the people doing the hiring. In this article, 12 business leaders from varying industries share exactly what they look for in candidate resumes.
So if you’ve ever wondered how to make your resume stand out, read below.
Make Your Resume Results-Driven
The first thing I look for on a resume is how well it’s creatively put together; the overall design. The way the resume is designed speaks largely for the type of person they are. The second thing I look for is how the bullet points are written under each job. If someone is vague or cliche, I rarely consider them. I’m a results-driven individual, I like to see passion, results, and leadership in the bullet points–don’t just tell me you influenced the company’s overall revenue. Tell me how you did it and what the metrics were. A candidate that can show me real results gets an interview every time.
Nail the Interview
I actually am not a fan of the resume. I will briefly look to make sure they at least have the basic competencies, but I find my candidates in the interview. Passion and curiosity are the two biggest traits I seek. I figure if they have those, any deficiencies (within reason) will be overcome. I would rather have someone that will spend a weekend YouTubing things to learn than someone that is complacent with three degrees.
Show How You’ve Advanced Your Skills
Regardless of employer or position, I really look for what you’ve contributed and how you’ve advanced your skills. A great example of this would be our marketing coordinator. A recent grad who worked at FedEx managing event shipments, we hired him on to manage our trade show coordinator. On top of that, we knew that he had a passion for web development and design outside of his job. Seeing passions and applicable skills being developed on his own time, we knew he would be an amazing fit.
Keep It Accurate and Concise
Organization is essential to organizations. Make sure that everything presented on your resume is accurate and concise. Resumes must fit all on one page, one side. Too much information, sends a message of disorganization. Employers want their employees to represent the values of the company. We hire on energy and attitude more than experience and aptitude. One resume tip is to have business owners, that you trust, review your resume and provide constructive feedback.
Include Numbers and Timelines
Recruiters spend an average of 6 seconds looking at a resume, so you’ve got 6 seconds to impress. The worst thing you can do is load your resume with menial, vague accomplishments. Edit, edit, edit. Distill your resume down to one page that highlights specific, meaningful wins. Include numbers and timelines. Bonus points if you can make it look pretty. Once you feel like your resume is complete, flip it upside down and see if it looks readable. If you find that it’s still too blocky and dense, edit it again then pass it on to a few friends to edit as well. This is your moment to brag about yourself, just make sure it’s delivered in a palpable way.
Customize for Each Application
Have they customized their cover letter and resume for our company? We receive a lot of response to our career opportunities with candidates who are sending their resumes to as many companies as possible. Sometimes, you can even tell when a candidate resume comes in with a file name of, “JONATHAN-GENERAL-RESUME.” The resumes that stand out are ones that have been customized to our company (“JONATHAN-GENERATED-RESUME”). When candidates take the time to look at our company, we will take the time to evaluate their resume.
Have a Good Elevator Pitch
Resumes can catch my attention if they can summarize their expertise in the first few sentences with a good elevator pitch. I look for people that make lateral moves, spent time in the military, and volunteer as indicators of the desire to be of service to their community. It is essential that people are dynamic and can demonstrate that they are open to learning. Working for different companies can be an indicator of adaptability.
Make Sure Your Resume Matches Basic Qualifications in the Job Description
There was a time when companies would look for transferable skills or someone who was “ready next”. To successfully make it past the initial computer “screen” it is important that your resume maps to all of the basic qualifications listed in the job description. Hence, in this time of heavy competition, you want to first ensure that you meet the basic qualifications. After that, list your achievements against your responsibilities and quantify them wherever possible.
Keep it Straightforward, Concise, and Thoughtful
When I look at a resume I look for brevity and I look for results. When a candidate takes the time to craft a resume that is straightforward, concise, and thoughtful — it shows! It shows they can speak to the most important aspects of their work and it shows they value the hiring manager’s time. I also look for quantitative results. Show me your success in numbers or in major accomplishments. I want to know by what percent you increased blog traffic at your last job, or how much money you added to the pipeline, or how much you improved the open rate of your email campaigns. Make your resume one page and really pack it full of the successes your hiring manager likely wants to replicate. And of course, be honest.
Marisa Krystian, Content Marketing Manager
Include Clear Outcomes
Include a Relevant Cover Letter
When screening candidates, the first thing I look for is a cover letter that highlights their skills or accomplishments that relate to the role they are applying for. It shows that they took a few minutes to read the description and look at the company website. In the past we’ve even asked applicants to provide their favorite YouTube video to see if they read the whole job posting.
Tell a Helpful Story
Great resumes tell a helpful story showing me a candidate has solved the exact problems I need him or her to have solved in order to help me. This isn’t done with buzzwords, but with clarity on specific actions taken and (measured) results achieved. Job seekers should take the time to tell the hiring manager just the relevant story or stories to get a call back – or otherwise just don’t bother.