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4 Things Employers Look For In Resumes

Posted by Heather Huhman

Last Updated September 17, 2018
|3 min read

After being at your first entry-level job for over a year, you’re ready for change. You feel like you’ve stopped growing in your current position and determined a new job would be the best way to advance your career.

One day, you get home from work and turn on your laptop. You pull up the latest version of your resume and realize it hasn’t been updated since you started your current position. Shocked (and slightly overwhelmed), you notice this resume doesn’t reflect your new address, accomplishments from your current job, or recent community involvement.

As you begin to make edits to your resume, you start to wonder, “Where do I even start?”

When updating your resume (or even starting from scratch), think with the employer in mind. A March 2014 CareerBuilder survey of about 2,200 hiring managers discovered one in six respondents spend 30 seconds or less reviewing resumes.

The harsh truth is you don’t have much time to impress employers. Hiring managers only care about the value you have to offer as a candidate. Here are four things employers will notice immediately when they read your resume:

1. Keyword research.

First and foremost, employers want to know if you’re qualified for the job. Hiring managers spend most of their time skimming through resumes to identify keywords that match the job description.

Each time you apply for a job, carefully dissect the job posting. Create a list of skills, knowledge, and experience required for the position that match your experience. After you’ve created a list, identify the strongest matches. These will be the keywords you’ll use throughout your resume.

2. Embellished skills.

Employers don’t expect candidates to possess every skill they desire, which is why hiring managers are on the look-out for exaggerated resumes. According to a Careerbuilder study of about 2,000 hiring managers, 57 percent of respondents said the most common lie they catch on a resume is an embellished skill set.

As you write your resume, be careful not to include keywords, skills, or experience that don’t genuinely reflect your abilities as a professional. To avoid this mistake, include supporting accomplishment stories with each position.

3. Overall career progression.

Hiring managers want to read resumes that tell a story about a candidate’s career. This story helps them identify the reason why you’re applying for the position and whether you’d make a good fit.

Make sure your resume outlines the key responsibilities you’ve held in each position and how they’ve contributed to your overall career success. Your job titles should also give the employer an idea of the type of experience you’ve had over time.

4. Personal brand and online presence.

Hiring managers want to see your personal web presence because it gives them the opportunity to learn more about you as a candidate. Jobvite’s 2014 Social Recruiting Survey found 73 percent of employers have hired a candidate through social media.

Include links to your personal domain or online portfolio, Twitter handle, and a link to your LinkedIn profile. This will make it easier for employers to learn about how you add value to your industry and have created a professional voice online.

While this might seem like a lot, many hiring managers will digest this information in 30 seconds or less. By following these tips, you’ll create a stand-out resume that will get you noticed by employers in a positive way.

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