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Resumes 101: What Hiring Managers Want to See

CATEGORY: Build a Better Resume
POSTED: January 22, 2013 at 8:22 am


by Emily K, CPRW, NCC, ResumeEdge Certified Writer -

Imagine you are a hiring manager; you have 500+ resumes to evaluate and a limited amount of time to select the top candidates to interview. Many, if not most, hiring managers spend less than seven seconds looking at a resume before discarding it, so it’s critical that you express at a glance why you, out of hundreds of other applicants, are deserving of an interview.

Start with a Strong Summary

Your resume needs a strong opening summary that illustrates why you are the perfect candidate for the position and the organization. Skip the cookie-cutter fluff and focus on showcasing at least one or two relevant and quantified accomplishments that fit the company’s needs and are guaranteed to create a lasting impression.

Choose an Effective Format

The resume  format is equally important to hiring managers. It needs to capture their attention and convey your accomplishments in a very short amount of time. Therefore, the entire resume should be easy to read, demonstrating your skills, knowledge, and abilities as they pertain to the position. A hiring manager does not want to waste time searching your resume for pertinent and qualifying data.

A resume with vague and unorganized information is an automatic turn-off and will leave a hiring manager guessing if you could do the job. If hiring managers can’t see your qualifications almost immediately, most will simply move on to the next candidate.

When deciding the specific format, you’ll first need to choose from among a reverse-chronological style, a functional style, or a combination of both. With reverse-chronological, you organize your employment history with your most recent job positions listed first.  Functional formats are generally used by individuals who have gaps in employment or those who job hop—not an appealing characteristic to a hiring manager.

The reverse-chronological and combination resume formats are most commonly preferred by hiring managers. In a recent survey of 100+ recruiters and hiring managers, 52% preferred reverse-chronological, 42% preferred a combination of reverse-chronological/functional, and only 7% preferred a functional format (survey conducted by Florida State University Career Center).  If you can, avoid the functional format!

Clean It Up

Lastly, every word on your resume needs to be flawless as it crosses the hiring manager’s desk.  Spelling or grammatical errors will automatically discount the hard work you put into an impressive opening summary and strong format. Before clicking the Submit button for your job application, print your resume and proofread for errors!

Feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of creating or updating your resume? Consider working with a professional resume writer. At ResumeEdge, our certified writers excel in 40+ industries. They know what presentation works best for each unique situation and how to craft content to catch the hiring manager’s eye so you can land the job you’re looking for.

Emily K.

Emily is a career counselor and CPRW (Certified Professional Resume Writer) with expertise in resume writing, job search strategies, and interview preparation. She has written over 100+ resumes and cover letters within six months of joining ResumeEdge.

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