10 Key Things Employers Look For in a Resume

Dec 14
Finding what employers look for is often as simple as observing the job description and fixating on keywords, brand identity, and company quarterlies. Doing this deep research will help inform your resume and make it stand out as you join the almost 700,000 Australians now looking for work.

Here are ten resume writing tips to keep you at the head of the pack.

1. How Best to Reach You
The first and most obvious element your resume needs, we'll get out of the way quickly. We're talking name, address, phone number, email, and active social media profiles. 

Read More.....
Look, they're going to be looking you up on social networks anyway, likely starting with Facebook. You might as well make it easy for them. Since most resumes are emailed, hyperlinks are good for streamlining the process of looking you up. 

Before you include those links, do some housekeeping. You don't want them seeing pics of questionable behaviour or reading long-winded political attacks. 

2. Customization
One of the most important resume tips you'll ever receive is to not use a template. Well, not so it's obvious. 

You certainly want to include the basics that every resume includes (more on that in a moment). However, you want the resume to seem like it was freshly created for the job to which you're applying. That means tailoring the elements, so they are relevant to the job posting and the company.

3. Skills
What are the skills that are most necessary for the employment position? Which of those skills do you possess at least some degree of competence? 
Be careful with the skills you choose to include. Employers prefer short resumes, so if you're using irrelevant skills to flesh out the resume, it's going to be noticeable. 

4. Education History
A key element for how to write a resume is presenting your education history in a way that shows why you're a good fit for the position.
Unsure of how much of your education to include? Here are some tips: 
Include any degrees that you completed (associate's, bachelor's, master's, doctorate). Don't forget to mention the years you attended.

Note any gaps in education (like if you went, paused then resumed, or dropped out). Include any special schools or programs that you completed outside of university (trade schools, continuing education through your employer). A complete education history shows transparency. It also can strengthen your work history if you haven't had a lot of activity in the job market.

5. Brevity
Keep it short and simple. Most employers don't want to look at anything that lasts more than a page. The obvious exception is when you're so loaded with relevant work, education, and skills that each is pertinent to the position. 

6. Work History
Employers want to know where you worked, for how long, and why you left (if you're not still employed). This information is vital to whether you have the experience needed for a position, as well as what kind of worker you are. 
Any jobs you don't want to include in your work history? Fight the urge to conceal. 

Most employers are going to find out anyway, so you should make it easy for them by even including the positions you're not proud of, for one reason or the other. If it's a problematic relationship with your boss, you might consider providing contact information to a colleague or another supervisor who was not so difficult. 

Employers vary on how deeply they will look into past employment. Getting caught in an outright lie or attempt to conceal something, however, is sure to disqualify you no matter what.

7. Clearly Defined Goals and Objectives
Something else to consider when deciding what to put on a resume is your goals and objectives. You can explicitly state this in its own section, or you can allow the descriptions in your work, education, and skills history to speak for themselves. 

8. Escalation
Every resume needs to show progress or escalation. If you appear to be going backward, it's going to be tougher to get the position. What are some examples of escalation done right?
-  Degree in the job field
-  Entry-level employment in said field
-  Professional development courses
-  Advanced degrees
-  Promotions

That's a pretty typical progression for people who work in the fields of their majors and never leave them. See how you can structure your resume to show this progression at work.

9. Life Experience
Another important factor when making a resume is to include any relevant life experience. Detailed life experience can fill a huge gap in work history if you handle it right. 

An example of this would be applying for a position at a non-profit that wants at least three years of relevant work experience. You haven't had a formal job in that field for three years, but you spent five helping with related efforts with the peace corps or through advanced-degree work (i.e., master's or doctorate). That translates, so include it!

10. History of Service
The final of our resume writing tips is to include a history of service. Volunteer work might not seem helpful at first, but organizations want to hire people who will represent them well in the community.

If you've been out there volunteering your time and making lives better for people, that will be a huge plus on your resume as you are considered for the position. Think about the volunteer efforts you engaged in throughout high school and college or with your church if you're religious.  These can often be overlooked. Take some time to dig out those past memories!

One Last Thing
Your resume is written. Now what? The final thing you'll need to remember is housekeeping.

That is, you want to review the fonts of body text and headings to make sure they look professional. Courier, Arial, Times New Roman, and Trebuchet are perfect.

Also, run it through Grammarly or a reputable spell-checker to ensure there aren't any typos. Grammatical and spelling errors on a one-page document are extremely unprofessional and can get you the boot before they actually read anything.

Employers Look for Qualities That Reflect Their Values
The number one thing employers look for when reading through resumes are qualities that reflect their values. If you can show this under every heading that you put down on the page, then you'll quickly be among their top considerations.  To do this, however, you'll need to research the position, the company, and their goals. That takes time.

Good Luck in your job hunting!

You may also be interested in reading - 7 High Paying Sales Jobs

© 2023 Sales Focus Coaching. All Rights Reserved.