February 29, 2012
The job search is a lot like dating. No, really. If you think about it, it is. You are the suitor, trying to woo a prospective company into taking you on. You dress nicely, get the jitters before meeting for the first time, and show off all the wonderful things you can bring if they pick you.If the job search is like dating, then the resume is a love letter to the prospective company.
For those of you who aren’t in the know, a love letter is (or at least should be) full of things the recipient wants to see. While your resume might not be the best venue for a poem or flowery prose, it too should be full of things an employer wants to see.
What sort of things? I’ve compiled a list of the top four things any employer wants to see in your resume and how to make it happen:
When you get down to it, it doesn’t matter what you say you can do, who you worked for or for how long. Employers want to see results. After all, what makes a successful company? A staff full of experienced individuals or accomplished individuals? Results on a resume tell prospective employers that, if hired, you can actually get them results.
How to make it happen: Make a point to include at least one quantifiable accomplishment for every position you include on your resume. That means numbers. Writing something like “Introduced and signed on 17 new clients in 3 months” is possibly the most persuasive thing you can write.
You could be a new grad or have 30 years of experience in the field – either way, your resume should tell employers that you are current and relevant. Simply put, no one wants to hire an employee who might hold them back.
How to make it happen: Even if you have no experience or are returning to work after long-term unemployment, you can make your resume appear more current by including evidence that you are keeping current in the industry. Include any classes or organizations you are actively part of or add new skills that would be billed as “new and unique”. Nix old-fashioned tasks and skills that aren’t valuable anymore.
This one seems a little silly; after all, of course you’re smart! Right? Not necessarily. Usually, employers want to hire employees who are smart all-around. Having a genius who lacks any social smarts is just as bad as a pleasant employee who doesn’t know how to do their job.
How to make it happen: First and foremost, PROOFREAD. A sure-fire way to look like an idiot is to leave typos on your resume. On the flipside, leave out any and all jargon that HR might not understand.
Here’s a fun fact: a consistently-written resume removes any and all need for an objective statement. Employers want to see a resume that flows and highlights an employee who is focused on specific professional goals. When a resume is consistent, it tells the employer exactly what kind of employee you’ll be and where you’re headed.
How to make it happen: Think of your resume as a story. You start at A, do XYZ and then head to B. As you progress through your story, you develop a focus and refine yourself as a worker. Tell this story in bullet points and your resume will be consistent!
What do you think? What other things do you think employers look for in a resume? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Sean Weinberg is the COO and co-founder of RezScore,a free web application that reads, analyzes, and grades resumes – instantly. Also the founder of Freedom Resumes, Sean has dedicated his career to helping job seekers write the best possible resumes.