What do people look at most in a resume?

**Decoding the Resume: Understanding What Employers Really Look For**

The job hunt is often a high-stakes game of skill, experience, and, perhaps most critically, presentation. To secure that coveted interview, one needs a resume that stands out from the stack on the recruiter’s desk. But what are employers truly looking for in a resume? Understanding these key points can be instrumental in crafting a compelling resume that moves swiftly from the pile and into the ‘yes’ folder.

**1. Contact Information**

This might seem elementary, yet it’s surprising how many people miss this basic yet crucial point. Employers first look for your name and how to contact you. This includes your phone number, email address, and sometimes even your location. Always ensure your contact details are current, clear, and professional.

**2. A Clear Objective or Summary**

This is your chance to provide a focused narrative about who you are professionally. It needs to be concise, specific, and relevant to the job role. A tailored objective or summary catches the employer’s eye by demonstrating you’ve understood the role and you’ve reflected on your fit for it.

**3. Relevant Experience and Skills**

Employers typically glance at the work experience section to assess the applicability of your past roles and achievements. They are looking for transferable skills that fit the new position. Remember, it’s not just about the roles you’ve held, but what you’ve achieved in those roles.

**4. Education and Certifications**

Your educational background and any relevant certifications or training you’ve completed will be considered next. The hiring manager wants to see if you’ve gained the necessary formal knowledge or qualifications needed for the job. However, this doesn’t just mean degrees. Industry-specific qualifications, licenses, or courses can also be highly important.

**5. Keyword Match**

In the era of digital recruitment, many resumes are first scanned by applicant tracking systems (ATS). This software is designed to evaluate resumes based on keywords from the job description. This means your resume should contain keywords that align with the job listing.

**6. Consistency and Accuracy**

An employer will scrutinize your resume for any inconsistencies or gaps in your career timeline. Be prepared to provide honest explanations for any such situations. Accuracy is also paramount. Factual inaccuracies, big or small, can be a red flag for employers and might result in immediate disqualification.

**7. Formatting and Presentation**

Finally, how you present this information can leave a lasting impression. A clean, easy-to-read, and well-structured format is preferred. The same applies to grammatical correctness and language use. Errors can suggest a lack of attention to detail.

Now that we understand what employers look for, let’s delve a little deeper into how they process this information.

**Understanding the Employer’s Perspective**

Most employers spend only 7-10 seconds on an initial resume review. They are trained to scan, not read. They are looking for quick signals that you could be a good fit. The top third of your resume is therefore prime real estate. Use it to showcase your most compelling qualifications and experiences.

Further, hiring managers are not just interested in what you’ve done, but how well you did it. They’re looking for impact, not just activity. Wherever possible, quantify your achievements. For example, instead of saying “Managed a team,” say “Managed a team of 10 that increased sales by 25% over one year.”

A resume also speaks volumes about your personal traits. Professionalism, attention to detail, and communication skills can all be inferred from a well-crafted resume.

**Key Takeaways**

In the world of job applications, your resume is your ambassador. It represents your professional journey and potential. Understanding what employers look for – from basic

contact information, through to a clear objective, relevant experience, appropriate education, keyword alignment, consistency, accuracy, and presentation – is crucial in crafting a resume that stands out.

Bear in mind that the real goal of a resume is not just to secure a job, but to land an interview. It is a tool to get you in the door and should be tailored, proofread, and presented as if your future depends on it – because quite often, it does.

Finally, remember that your resume is not a static document. As your career evolves, so too should your resume. By keeping these points in mind, you can stay one step ahead in the game, ensuring that your resume continually opens new doors and presents fresh opportunities in your career journey.


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