Your Resume: What Do Hiring Professionals Really Look For?

When a hiring professional has 30 seconds to skim through your resume, what are they really looking for? What factors influence whether or not a job applicant moves forward to the initial interview stage? Here is a complete list of Resume details that mattered to ME as a recruiter and to my hiring managers:

  • Your Location: Are you a local candidate or will you need to relocate for the job? Many companies will pay for relocation expenses if they find the right person. However, you being in another state may slow down the interview process if they need to hire someone next week and you can’t travel out to interview for another two weeks. In short, these factors can be important.


  • Your Education: This is particularly important for technical roles (i.e. scientists, engineers), but it can be just as important for business and leadership roles (for instance, MBA’s go a long way). I recommend putting your education at the top of your resume if you have something to brag about.


  • Current Employment Status: Are you currently working? If yes, why are you looking to leave? If no, when was your last role? These are common questions from hiring professionals.


  • Number of Years of Relevant Experience: Are you qualified for the job you applied for? If you are a new grad applying for a senior level position that requires 5+ years…well, just don’t do that.


  • Job Tenure: Do you commit to organizations for the long-term or are you a “job hopper”? Candidates can be seen as “job hoppers” on paper but in reality, they may have just worked several short-term or contract positions. The important thing to know here is that tenure matters, so if your tenure is working against you, find a way to share the “why” behind it on your resume.


  • Employment Gaps: Do you have large breaks between employment? If so, why? Again, there can be completely valid reasons for employment gaps. But it’s important to know that hiring professionals will likely want to know the “why” behind it.


  • Companies You’ve Worked At: If you are applying to Google, the recruiter or hiring manager will want to know if you’ve had experience working in a large, corporate environment. On the flip side, if you apply for small startup company, they will want to know if you’ve worked for any other startups before. Different company environments can have a huge impact on the skills a person develops (especially communication skills!).


  • Accomplishments: If your resume is a list of one-sentence duties that read like a job description, please hire Resume Yogi NOW to help you! But seriously, you need to highlight accomplishments on your resume. Even if it is only one accomplishment per position, it should be there.


  • Keywords: These are very important for both the hiring professional reading your resume and applicant tracking systems (ATS). Keywords can be specific technical skills, types of software, etc. that are specific to YOUR industry and skill set. Hint: You can usually find important key words on the job descriptions you are applying to.


  • Readability & Format: When resumes are filled with a ton of bold, ITALICS, upper case, lower case, and symbols, – it is SO distracting! You want your resume to be organized, consistent, and draw the reader’s eyes to the key points.


  • Job Titles & Career Progression: What is your current job title? What was your title in your last position? Have you moved up in your career? Did you ever take a step down from a management role? If so, why? Your career progression is important. And for many job seekers, it’s not always a linear story. Don’t be afraid to tell your story in creative ways on the resume itself, or hire me to do it!


  • Grammar, Spelling, Typo’s: Read through your resume, and then re-read your resume 5 more times before applying anywhere. Actually, have someone else read it too. I’ve seen a hiring manager literally toss out a resume for ONE typo on a three page resume. Now, this is in an extreme case, but it happens. Check and re-check your resume!



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