5 Things Hiring Managers Are Looking for on Resumes

There are a lot of tips out there for how to make your resume look great. However, they don’t all apply to the specific things that hiring managers are currently looking for. The 2011 job market is an interesting one. It is unique from past years in that hiring managers are dealing with applicants who have been out of the work force for a long time or who are entering the work force for the first time in a tough market. For that reason, what hiring managers are looking for on a resume is more than just work experience and recent employment.

Here are five things that hiring managers look for on 2011 resumes:

  1. Ability to follow instructions
  2. If you’ve applied to any jobs online recently then you might have noticed that there are often very specific instructions that you have to follow when submitting your resume. For example, you might be asked to put a specific phrase in the subject line of your email or to send your document as a specific type of attachment. There are many reasons that employers require these little things but a main reason is because they want to find employees who can follow directions to the letter. Make sure that you pay attention to any directions at all that are given about your resume format, the information requested on your resume and how the resume is to be submitted (including who it should be addressed to). If you fail to do this then the employer probably won’t even read your resume.

  3. How you’ve spent the past year
  4. Hiring managers know that it’s tough to find a job if you’re entering the work force for the first time or if you’ve been unemployed for awhile. They aren’t necessarily looking for extensive recent experience in a field. What they are looking for is how you’ve spent the past year or so. They want to see that you’ve been productive with your time whether that’s through taking extra classes at college, working on an internship, volunteering your time in something related to your field or starting your own business. Show these things off on your resume to capture the interest of potential employers.

  5. How realistic your expectations seem
  6. Many jobseekers have had to lower their expectations of what position they’re going to get as well as what type of salary they can expect to start in their fields. You shouldn’t sell yourself short but you do want to make sure that your expectations appear realistic. If a salary expectation is required on your resume then you should supply a range that is realistic for your field and your level of experience. You may want to note in your cover letter that you are flexible on the specifics and look forward to discussing the details in person.

  7. The depth of research done for the position
  8. Hiring managers have to look at resume after resume after resume. They don’t want to see the same thing again and again. They want to see someone who has really tailored their resume to reflect the exact position that they are applying for. It can be frustrating to take the time to re-work your resume for each job but it’s well worth the effort because this is what hiring managers are looking for today.

  9. No-BS honesty
  10. Because hiring managers do have to look at so many resumes they get really sick and tired of seeing the same BS again and again. If you have an employment gap, fill it in appropriately but don’t just add filler for the sake of adding filler. And never lie on a resume. You’ll inevitably get caught in the act and it’s a surefire way not to get hired!

Of course, all of the standard resume tips still apply today. You need to have a high-quality proofread resume in the correct format. But you also need to update your resume to highlight these other things that employers are looking at in the current hiring era.

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