As they read through a resume submitted by a job applicant, the items and phrases that make employers light up will vary widely based on the industry and the position in question. Even a bland or problematic applicant can get a great response if she offers a rare skill set that these employers can’t seem to find anywhere else. And even a terrific candidate can cause employers to glaze over if he’s just as terrific as every single other applicant in the stack. But in general, here are five resume moves that almost all employers love to see, regardless of the specific circumstances.
1. A clear summary that focuses on the reader, not the writer
Most reviewers love to see a clear, well written summary that engages their attention from the first line. But even more important than that, employers like a summary that focuses on their own needs, not the needs, ambitions, and desires of the applicant. If you’re looking for ways to impress and stand out, learn as much as you can about what these specific managers are looking for. Conduct your research before you start to write.
2. An education section that’s a fit… and nothing more
Employers who need a bachelor’s degree like to see this credential listed clearly. The same applies to those who need candidates with a Masters, a state license, or any other specific certification. But as it happens, hiring managers are often intimidated by candidates who hold more education than the position requires. If your target position requires an associate’s degree and you hold a PhD, feel free to leave this credential off your document for now.
3. A work history that’s easy to follow
Your work history should be clear, in other words, each of your previous positions should be easy to envision and understand. Your dates of employment should be clear, and your descriptions under each former job title should focus on your special accomplishments during your tenure, not just the basic requirements of the position.
4. A work history that’s relevant to the job
The accomplishments and boasts that make their way into your work history should ideally be relevant to the specific requirements of the position at hand. If you don’t think they fit that bill, learn everything you can about the position by re-reading the post and researching the company online. Recognize that most employers will be looking for candidates who match the culture of the office or workplace, not just those who hold the right set of skills.
5. A skills section that’s engaging, interesting, and meaningful
In order to create a skills section that attracts positive attention, focus on the skills that are most likely to set you apart from the other candidates in the applicant pool. For example, if you’re familiar with the Microsoft Office Suite, that will probably be helpful to your potential employers…but it won’t help you stand out from the crowd. Emphasize the special skills and training you’ve received in areas that provide the greatest degree of support for those who have the power to hire you.
Managers Know a Great Resume When They See One
Visit LiveCareer for specific guidance, tools, templates and advice that can help you make your case and grab the attention of your target hiring managers.