This week, LiveCareer responds to a few common questions that we've recently discovered in our inbox. And we attempt to answer the age-old question: what do hiring managers really want?
"I've been told that when hiring mangers read resumes, they don't like to see online degrees. Is this true?"
Hiring managers are human beings, and they're looking for candidates who can do two things well: handle the responsibilities of the job at hand, and thrive within the culture of a given workplace. If the job requires a legitimate four-year degree and the employer doesn't have much respect for degrees from for-profit or online universities, then a candidate with one of these will be a mismatch on both counts. If you're that candidate, just keep looking. And consider going back to school or enrolling in a reputable job-specific training program.
"I'm told that hiring managers don't like 'gimmicky' resumes, the kind that use color, or go on too long, or are too witty, or stand out in any way. But if my resume doesn't stand out, then it will look just like every other resume in the applicant pool. So I guess I have two choices: stand out and be considered weird, or fit in and be considered boring. Is there a third option?"
Yes! Use professional language and a dignified, traditional approach to layout and formatting , but within that structure, just be yourself. Let your credentials take center stage. Hiring managers are reviewing your fitness for the job, so provide them with the details they need in order to make an informed decision.
"I'm told that hiring managers won't even read your resume if you have a gap, or a long period of time between jobs. If this is the case, I guess my career is effectively over. What now?"
That's an exaggeration. No responsible hiring manager will reject a qualified applicant because he or she stepped off the job market for a little while. Life is complicated, and every well-adjusted person faces a wide range of experiences and responsibilities that sometimes interfere with the continuity of a job history. Just expect employers to ask about these gaps, and be ready to discuss them in positive ways that highlight your strengths as an employee and a person.
"I'm an experienced professional with a master's degree, but I've been on the job market for more than a year and I've had no reasonable offers. I think managers have a problem with my resume, but I don't know what it is. How can I find out?"
This is a tough (and unfortunately common) situation. But to get some answers, just ask. The next time you submit a resume for a job that feels perfect, put everything you have into your application. If you're passed over, be polite and direct and ask the employers if they can provide any feedback for you. In the meantime, visit LiveCareer for resume creation and editing tools that are designed to support qualified job seekers just like you.