What Employers Want On A Resume

In order to bring you the most up to date an relevant information on what employers want with a resume and the entire recruitment process, I conducted a 2014 survey which gathered the responses of managers, recruiters and employers. In it I asked a series of questions designed to work out what exactly it is the employers look for on a resume and in the recruitment process. Curious? Here are the results:

Q. What is the number one item you look at on an applicant’s resume?

A. 62.5% of employers stated they look at the skill set at the number one item on an applicant’s resume (so make sure this is on the first page for easy access). This was followed by an applicant’s work history (37.5%) with Education, Achievements, References and Career Objective all coming in at 12.5%.

Q. How many paragraphs do you prefer in a cover letter?

A. 50% of the employers surveyed said they prefer three paragraphs for a cover letter, 37.5% said they prefer two and 12.5% said they prefer four paragraphs for a cover letter

Q. What does an applicant need on the first page of their resume to make you read the second?

A. Responses included:

“Relevant work history”

“Something that says they have actually read the job description and understand the position”

“A summary of their skills and achievements. This should be bullet points or a short paragraph”

“Skills relevant to the job”

“Why they meet the job description and why they want this particular job”

“Experience & Skills with reference to the position they are applying for”

“Show a tailored approach to the application, not a ‘one size fits all’ resume that they have used for multiple applications”.

Q. What’s the number one thing that makes you put a resume in the trash?

A. Some of the responses included:

“Trying too hard to sell themselves”

“Cookie cutter responses”

“I hate objectives, they just tell me what the applicant wants, not what they can do for me”

“A resume that is not tailored to the job”

“A copy and pasted resume”

“Spelling errors”

“Cover letters that address me as Dear Sir, I’m a women”.

Q. What’s the number one thing that makes you want to hire an applicant?

A. Responses included:

“A genuine approach”

“Show that they know about my business and my company and either show or explain how they can help my business succeed”

“Have an energy which matches what I’m looking for (it’s very easy to tell – even with professionally written resumes)”

“Show attention to detail and show they have researched the company, a few well placed questions to ensure the role is a good fit for both employer and employee is also beneficial”

Well, there you have it. From the employers own mouths – exactly what they look at on an application and resume. These employers have donated their time to complete the survey in order to help you create a winning resume and application so have a read over the tips and advice they have given and have a think about how you can apply this to your own application.

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