Recently, the LiveCareer team reached out to the hiring managers among our professional contacts to ask them a simple question: how do you react when you see a superstar resume in your application pool? What do you notice first? And what thoughts go through your mind as you read the document from start to finish?
Answers varied widely based on each individual manager's industry, needs, and personal preferences. But most of the feedback we received could be divided into five distinct patterns. We've listed them below.
1. I'm ready to make my decision based on this resume summary alone!
"This summary is so concrete and specific that it tells me everything I need to know about this candidate in just a few lines. Before I've read halfway down the page, I know her areas of special knowledge, her most impressive accomplishments, and her career plans in the near future. They line up with our needs, so I'm sold."
2. This resume is just like every other one in the stack… but the cover letter casts it in a different light.
"Our post requested applicants with a master's degree and five years of expertise in a specific branch of the industry, so every resume in the stack will showcase these two credentials. Every applicant will have a similar track record of publications, conferences, awards, and leadership experiences, so none of these things are especially impressive to us.
But this superstar candidate frames an okay resume with a brilliant cover letter. By the time I reach the last line, I feel like we've become friends."
3. This application breaks all the rules. But it works!
"I have no idea why this candidate would decide to tell a story about her aunt's gall bladder surgery in a professional cover letter. And I have no idea why she would make a joke about how she was fired from her last job. And this cover letter contains no less than three swear words. But I love it! And I love her. And she's hired."
"We've been reviewing resume after resume from candidates who are smart, ambitious, reliable, and terrific. But so far, not one of these candidates has been able offer the CNC programming experience, bilingual fluency, and CPR certification we need. Now that we've found a magical unicorn who has all three, we have no intention of letting him go."
5. This resume is so professional and sleek, I feel like the applicant hired an expensive marketing team.
" This resume is beautiful. It's like a work of art. I don't know if this candidate has a natural eye for design, or if she has a professional layout expert on her side, but when I compare this resume to the others in the stack, it throws them all into the shade. They look like pencil scribblings done on cocktail napkins by fourth graders."
Put Your Resume in the Winner's Circle
Don't let your resume disappear into the crowd. Visit LiveCareer and use the resources on the site to make sure you stand out and get noticed.