Your Resume Must Tell Employers What They Want to Know
by: Anna Jones
When you attempt
to craft a resume, there is always the danger that you will fall
in love with your own creation. While it stands to reason that you
would want to produce a resume that reads well to you, your opinion
doesn’t count as much as a prospective employer’s viewpoint.
As a result, it is vitally important that you turn out a resume
that tells employers exactly what they want to know. If your resume
is deficient in any way…if it fails to inform a recruiting manager
where you worked, how long you worked there, what your educational
background is, what skills you possess, and your general qualifications
for a specific position…your resume will quickly end up in the waste
Don’t Depend on the Interview to Make Up for Problems With Your
A number of job-seekers are satisfied with producing a resume that’s
less than perfect because they hold out the hope that they can make
up for their resume’s flaws through a stellar performance during
a job interview. The problem with this line of thinking is that,
unless your resume is top-notch, it is unlikely that you will be
selected for any interview at all. Therefore, it pays to devote
time and attention to fine-tuning your resume so that it meets the
needs of prospective employers.
Put Yourself in the Employer’s Place
In order to write an effective resume, you need to put yourself
in the place of the hiring manager. The employer’s eyes may be glazing
over from all the resumes he or she has had to review. As a result,
the employer is probably skimming through the stack looking for
potential employees who fit some key criteria: the criteria being
that they will perform the job effectively and efficiently; they
will benefit the company; and they will be dedicated to their position.
Be Sure to Cover the Basics
While it is certainly wise to make your resume as brief as you possibly
can, it is critically important that you include the basic information
a prospective employer wants to know. You might be surprised at
the fact that a number of job-seekers forget to include their e-mail
addresses or cell phone numbers—two key ways for employers to get
in touch with them. Also, be sure to include your snail-mail address,
in case the employer needs you to fill out an application or a survey.
Your resume should include a complete job history (at least, post-college),
information about skills you have that are applicable to the job
you’re applying for, a list of the degrees you’ve earned and the
colleges, universities, and relevant training programs you’ve attended,
and your references. A prospective employer wants to know what your
references have to say about you—he or she doesn’t want to take
the time to call you and track down names and phone numbers at the
last minute. The more complete the information you provide about
your references, the better. Providing reference information as
an addendum to your resume is a positive option.
Indicate Why Your Candidacy is Special
Once you’ve covered the basics, it’s highly important that you provide
the employer with information that will distinguish your candidacy
from the rest of the job applicants. If your resume is overly broad
in focus, it will not attract the interest of a corporate recruiter.
Instead, consider narrowing your focus by including information
about special skill sets you possess, leadership roles you’ve held,
and evidence of your team-building abilities. This information,
like the rest of the information on your resume, must be presented
in a clear, concise manner—otherwise, the employer will simply move
onto the next resume.
Don’t Forget the Profile
Employers are definitely interested in your key accomplishments,
evidence of your professionalism and your pursuit of excellence.
These achievements can be easily encapsulated in a profile section
at the beginning of your resume. Recruiters can read through the
profile quickly, giving them an immediate impression of your suitability
for the position that’s been advertised.
What Employers Don’t Want to Know
It is also important to pay some attention to what employers don’t
want to know—or, at least, what they would prefer not to read on
your resume. While each prospective employer is unique, there are
certain common viewpoints that most share when it comes to resume
In an effort to set themselves apart from the pack of other job
applicants, a number of job-seekers make the mistake of making their
resumes “too personal.” For instance, one individual who was seeking
a position in government tried to portray himself in a unique light
by including the names of his three dogs. Rather than making him
appear intriguing, his decision to include dog news on his resume
proved to be a deal-ender.
Also, for the most part, your resume does not need to explain in
detail why you left a particular position. You can leave the discussion
of that for the eventual job interview. It is far better to talk
about the pitfalls in your job history in person rather than to
try to explain them on paper.
There are certain intangibles that employers want to know about
you—information that you can convey in your resume. For instance,
by proofreading your resume carefully and making sure that it is
error-free, you are showing a prospective employer that you have
a keen eye for detail. By presenting your resume in a professional,
easy-to-read manner, you are demonstrating that you have excellent
written communication skills. By listing your community and volunteer
activities, you show an employer that you have a sense of commitment
to bettering the world around you. These intangibles can often determine
whether or not you are called in for an interview—or whether your
resume is kept on file—never to be seen again.