What Employers Look for in a Resume

As you might have already discovered, your resume is really a marketing piece. That is why it is important for you to understand what employers look for in a resume. Being on the receiving side of resume submissions, I have certain things that I am looking for. Your ability to nail down what these things are can great increase your chances of getting that elusive job interview.

While each employer has their own particulars, I am going to share with you some of the higher level view things of what employers look for in a resume. Some of these you may have heard about but forgot about them. While others might be brand new to you. As I always say on this blog, a resume is not something that you complete and never change over the course of your job search. Just about every job opportunity you are going to need to adjust your resume at some level to fit the position.

What Employer Look for in a Resume

They look for focus. Employers like to see applicants who have a predictable, focused resume. It shows that the applicant knows where their strengths are and they use them to the best of their ability. Don’t be discouraged if you resume does not have a focused background. While a bit more challenging, there are still ways to show a focus on your resume. Just keep in mind that employers like to see a clear resume that is easy to follow.

They look for a good presentation. If your resume is not visually appealing, the red flag goes up. Honestly, it does not matter if the content is great. If the presentation looks bad, it causes doubt in the employers mind as to what your physical presentation might be. Depending on the work responsibilities, they also bring into question how your written presentation might be as it relates inside and outside the company.

What Employers Look for in a Resume

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

They look for concise and crisp descriptions. If you haven’t realized it yet, no one will be reading your resume. What they do is peruse your resume. They scan over the resume and stop and read at certain places. You need to know how to design a resume that is easy to scan. One way you can do this is by having bullet points at the top that list out your core competencies in short 1 to 3 word phrases. Your ability to tailor this part of the resume to the position description is what gets you the interview.

While there are more things that employers look for in a resume, these are the most common. Now, pull out your resume and answer these questions:

  • Does my resume have a good focus? Is there something that pulls away from the focus that I need to remove?
  • Does the style and format of my resume look professional? Does it provide the professionalism that I want to portray?
  • Is my resume easy to scan? Can I easily pick out key words and terms or is there too much text crammed onto the page?

Question: What do you think an employer looks for in a resume?

    Jonathan has been blogging since 2009 and is still in awe that the Creator of the Universe desires to have a relationship with him. His passions include spending time with his kids, reading, March Madness, surprise get-a-way trips with his wife, and watching funny YouTube videos.

    Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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