Mar 22, 2020 in Coaching

What do Employers ACTUALLY look for in a RESUME?

Tips on how to wow a prospective employer the moment they lay their eyes on your resume.

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A resume is a powerful tool for every job seeker. It acts as a bridge to connect you and your prospective employer. It shares what you have done in the past, what you are currently doing, and why you make a good candidate for a position. There are candidates that underestimate the power and purpose of their resumes because it is just a piece of paper, isn’t it?

Remember, a concise and impressive resume is oftentimes what stands in between you and your ideal job.

Did you know that it takes an employer an average of 6 seconds to look at your resume?

Yes, you read it right. Six seconds. That means that if you are not "wowing" them from the moment they pick up your resume, your resume is getting tossed and joining a pile of papers where the majority of job seekers land - the ‘NO’ pile. 

It is good to know exactly what an employer looks for in a resume when you are tailoring yours. Here are the TOP 4 THINGS employers look for in a resume:


  • INTRODUCTION - Your introduction is in the form of a Professional Summary or Profile. In your summary, you are telling an employer who you are, what you do, and what value you can offer. I like to call this your Unique Value Proposition. This is what makes you different or unique from all the other job candidates. Think: elevator pitch.
  • BACKGROUND - This takes the form of your Work Experience and your Education/Qualifications. For your work experience, detail where you worked, what position you held, and the dates of your employment. This could be both part-time and full-time employment. If you are a recent graduate or fresh out of college, you could also include internships, any student-run organizations that you were part of while in college, or volunteer experience.
  • KEYWORDS AND SKILLS - This is where you sell the skills you have accumulated over the years, and more specifically match these skills up to the skills the employer is looking for as mentioned in the job description. Share what skills you possess, both hard skills and soft skills, and give examples of how you have used these skills. This answers the question, “Why are you the perfect candidate and the most suitable for this job?” 
  • ACCOMPLISHMENTS - What have you achieved over the span of your career? Always list accomplishments versus tasks.

Accomplishments detail what you achieved in your role or any past experience versus what you did (tasks).

An employer wants to see that you can deliver results! So, make sure that you pull all the accomplishments from your past experience and detail them in your resume. 

The more numbers and metrics you can use, the better. An example of this could be “Increased customer retention by 30%”; versus “Followed up with customers to make sure they continued to use our services.'' By adding metrics to your accomplishments you are making them more impactful, boosting your credibility, and making them very specific. This is a great way to share your success stories with a potential employer. 

Just getting your resume seen by an employer is not nearly enough to help you get hired, but, it will absolutely make a good first impression and put you in the running for the next steps of the hiring process. Investing time and effort into your resume is essential if you want to get noticed by an employer and get hired.

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