What Do Employers Look for in a Resume?

What Do Employers Look for in a Resume?


Today what I thought would be fun to do is
give you a checklist. Kind of a do this, don’t do that for your
resume. Just a handy sheet you can use of things to
think about before you write your resume and then as you write your resume, glance at it
and then when you’re done writing your resume, look back at this checklist. It’s got eight items on it and say, “Did I
do that? Did I do that?” So that’s what we’re going to talk about. Also in the description there’s free giveaways,
there’s other videos to reference. My entire social platform is in there. I love to get connected with you on Facebook,
LinkedIn, Twitter, and all those other places. I just love to keep the conversation going
wherever you are is where I want to be to help you. So let’s dive in. All right so on that checklist that I want
to give you, one of the first and most important items, actually this one might be my favorite. And I tried to do this is some reasonable
order that made sense, but one of my favorite things to include in the resume that I love
to see and you must have it is a summary. So summarize before you dive into the details
and why do you want to do that? So a lot of people say to me, “Well Andy,
you say the resume should only be so long and I don’t want to make it too long and I
don’t want to include extra information up at the top and the reader, the reviewer, the
hiring official has to go through more stuff at the beginning of the resume when they can
get right into the blood and guts.” Well that’s one way of looking at it. But think about this; wouldn’t it be better
for you to control the narrative about what the person sees and when they see it and what
they learn about you? So think about it this way; if I get a resume
and it starts right into, “Here’s my job.” You know, “Here’s my name, here’s my city.” And all that good stuff. “And here’s my job.” And then I have to go to the next one and
the next one and the next one. Now you might had less text that I had to
go through, but what I now need to do is I now need to create the summary for you in
my mind. What do I think about this person? How can I remember who this person is and
what they’re about and what they’ve done in their career? You’ve left me to my own devices which may
or may not be good. I might misinterpret. Instead, if you’ve got a summary up there,
what you’re doing is you’re controlling what I see first. And wouldn’t it be better to make sure that
I see what you want me to see first? Wouldn’t it be better for you to control the
information that’s fed to me so that I’m getting what you want me to get, not what I might
be able to pick and choose throughout the glancing I’m doing around your resume? Wouldn’t that be better to control what I
see, how I see it, what you highlight? I would think that that’s way better and actually,
it’s a lot less work for people who are reviewing your resume. So that’s one of the best things that you
can do up at the top is to control the narrative, make the reviewer hangout at the top of your
page as long as you can. And here’s a great one. I get this question a lot. “Hey, you know I’m working 20 years and I
spent the first 10 or 15 years in the financial services industry and then I spent the last
five years or so in healthcare, but I really want to get back to my financial services
roots. But then when somebody sees my resume, they
see the healthcare stuff first.” Well that may be, but you could talk to me
at the top of your resume about how you are a seasoned financial services executive with
15 years of your 20 years of experience spent in that industry. And highlight the insurance stuff, the banking
stuff, those kind of things. And all that can be pulled up to the top. So for those of you who are trying to get
back to something you used to do or even wanting to make a career change, that is something
that ought to be a focal point. So much of this discussion probably I’m going
to spend more time on that than the rest of these, but that’s a really big honking deal. You can call it whatever you want. I call it a career profile. I’ve even got a video out there on that. We did a live office hours last year on how
to create that and what to include. So that’s out there. You can call it a career summary. You can call it a summary and anything you
want. And one other thing before I go onto the second
thing. For all you college students out there, I
know I got a lot of interns and young professionals out there and they always ask me well say,
“Andy, I’m just graduating. Should my education be at the top?” It should. It should be right below your profile and
encapsulate what you are as a student, as a volunteer, as an intern, as a whatever it
is. What is it that you can tell the employers
in summary form right up top? It’s going to separate you college students
and recent college grads. So go to do that. I’ve also got a video out there called This
One Trick Will Make Your College Resume Standout. Check that out. All right. Number two. Number two. I want you to think in terms of what you offer,
not what you need. The resume is about what you offer, not what
you need. So in every sense. The worst mistake you can make is starting
out your resume with an objective statement. It’s important what you want and if I’m going
to hire you, that’s important to me. I want to understand that, but I don’t want
to see that on a resume. I want to see what value you’re going to contribute
to my organization. Your resume is a marketing document of you. Its sole purpose is to get somebody to want
to speak to you live. Whether that’s on the phone, in person, in
offices, over coffee, whatever. The faster you can do that, the more effective
the resume is, but what you never want to do is waste real estate on an objective statement
or the types of jobs you’re seeking. You can use the interview for that, you can
use your cover letter. There’s many, many ways, but it has no room
in the resume. So think value, don’t think objective. Number three. Think accomplishments, not activities. So what do I mean by that? Well you can have activities that you perform. So, “I’m responsible for managing this team.” “I’m responsible for improving the business
processes, blah, blah, blah.” “I’m responsible for developing software.” “I’m responsible for marketing our company’s
whatever.” So those are activities and those are the
things that you do. But on a resume, those are very secondary
compared to what it is you actually accomplished as a result of doing those activities. So you want to make your resume more accomplishments
or achievements focused where you’re highlighting the benefits of your activities. So what it was that you did. so if you optimized business processes or
you streamlined something, what did you save? What did you save in terms of dollars? What did you save in terms of time? If you are an accountant who was chartered
with reducing your company’s closing process that took 10 days of 10 people that now takes
five days of 10 people, that’s the kind of stuff. So you reduced the closing time by 50% from
10 days to five days and all the work days and all the stuff that you saved. So that’s the kind of stuff you want to make
sure you’re highlighting. The accomplishments, the benefits, and not
just the activities. If you want to throw the activities in there,
that’s great. I taught you how to do this in How to Write
the Perfect Resume Bullets. Check that one out. What’s number four? Evidence. Evidence. Not opinions. So this is one I think people really struggle
with. Hang on, shot of espresso time. I’m not naturally like this. You’d be amazed at how calm I am, but anyway. Evidence versus opinions. This is one that drives most recruiters crazy. And actually it drives most recruiters crazy
and it drives them the most crazy. Think in terms of all those statements that
you might find on your resume that say, “I’m a great leader. I’m detail oriented. I’m a self-starter. I’m entrepreneurial. I’m disruptive. I’m those things. I’m a good time manager. I’m organized. I’m a good project manager.” Whatever it is, those are opinions. And opinions have no place in the resume. I don’t care who told you what, the resume
is not the place for your opinion of yourself because a skilled reviewer of your resume
glosses right over that stuff. What he or she is looking for is why are you
a good project manager? Did you bring your projects in on time and
on budget? If you are a good optimizer, did you actually
save the company money by reducing something? If you are a great leader and you manage people,
what did the team accomplish? So what did you inspire them to do? What did you teach them to do? How did you motivate them? That’s the kind of stuff that they’re for. And as a bonus on this evidence item, the
more precise your information about the evidence, the more believable and the more the reviewer
enjoys it. So what do I mean by precision when it comes
to evidence? So if you optimize something, it’s better
to say, “I reduced it by 50% which was five days. From 10 days to five days.” That’s precise. As opposed to what I see a lot in resumes
is, “I reduced it several days.” “I managed many accounts.” “I did this for lots.” “It grew substantially.” Those words, you should comb your resume for
any of those types of words and do everything possible to remove them. They have no room in the resume. Was it several clients or was it 23? Or 5? Or 17? And if you don’t know exactly because you’re
trying to put a resume together and you haven’t looked for a job in 10 years, then do your
darnedest to try to figure out what that number is or near. Or say, “More than 20.” Or something of that nature, but lend some
specificity and precision to anything that you claim is a big a honking deal. All right, what’s next? Let me check. Memory. Memorable. Is your layout memorable? Do you take advantage of white space or are
you using eight point font with .25 margins on the side and the paragraph spacing between
the lines is that big? If it’s very dense, it’s very difficult for
the reviewer to scan it. And you want it to be easily scanned. And memory isn’t just about what I can retain. It’s also about, “Can I go back to his or
her resume and where was that? And where can I find that? I remember reading it and going right to the
spot.” That is memorably pleasing and you want to
do whatever you can to do it. So that’s number five. Number six. Chronology. Every human being that’s ever been born and
ever will be, anybody on the face of the earth thinks in terms of time. They think in terms of time and the first
question that goes to their head when they open up a resume is, “What are you doing now?” The second question is, “What did you do before
that?” So where are you working now or where did
you work most recently? Where did you work before that and so on? They want to be able to see that chronology
because that’s how they think. And what they’re also looking for is, “Does
this person have a nice evolution? Has this person made more or less good decision
based on going from this company to that company or this position to that position within the
company?” Or whatever. So they want to be able to formulate that. The biggest don’t and the biggest don’t, this
actually as I’m teaching you and I’m explaining this, my hair on my back of my neck is actually
standing up. Do not, under any circumstances put together
a functional resume. So chronology is in terms of time. Where I am today, where I was before that,
and so on. Functional resume is, “I was a project manager
and over here this is all the organizations that I did that function.” It’s very, very difficult for the employer,
the reviewer, the recruiter, whoever it is looking at your resume to actually understand
a functional resume. And by the way, I am not just giving you my
opinion. Obviously I know what I like and I share that
with you and sometimes I share that with you very emphatically and sometimes I share that
with you a little bit in a relaxed nature, but I also think I have a good pulse on the
market because I’m constantly surveying recruiters and HR people. And as a matter of fact, last November, I
did a survey to a bunch of recruiters and I even called a bunch of recruiters to kind
of, “What’s the current stuff? How are you feeling about this?” I had a bunch of questions for them and one
of them was on resume format and I asked them how they feel about functional resumes. Over 90% of them said they don’t like them
and of the 80% of the 90% said they don’t even read them. So because, here again, going back to the
point I was making about the summary, the summary allows you to format the narrative
for me and you’re spoon feeding me. And so you’re actually making my life easier
when I review your resume. When you create a functional resume, you are
now making me again put the narrative together because I’m trying to answer the time questions
and the evolution questions of you. And you’re making me work harder. Every time on the resume you make the person
work harder, it’s not like a linear point of pain. So the first time something happens it’s like,
“Well okay. That’s no big deal.” The second it’s not like I’m in twice as much
pain, it’s like I’m in 10 times as much pain. And the next time, it’s usually third strike
you’re out and then they pitch the resume. That’s what’s actually happening because you’re
frustrating them. And I probably surprisingly look at resumes
longer, actually I look at them longer than I used to and I look at them in great detail
when I’m reviewing them now, but my function is different. As a trainer, I have different activities
and different coaching aspects that I want to teach, but as recruiter or somebody who’s
reviewing hundreds and hundreds of resumes every day, their patience is very low and
it’s not very tolerant for people who are not spoon feeding them. So I just, I want to make sure you take my
message in stride here. I’m trying to help you understand what it
is that they’re going through so you can be mindful of that as you format your resume. So think in terms of chronology, don’t think
in terms of function. Number seven. Make it manageable. Make it manageable in length. I always get this question every few days
I get a question on the YouTube channel or on my blog, “What’s the appropriate length?” Here’s your hard and fast rule. If you are in the commercial industry and
you are putting a professional style resume together, two pages, no more, no exceptions. None. I could get a 30 year career down to 26 words,
you can get a 30 year career down to two pages and if you don’t think that you can, then
the first place you ought to look at on your resume is, “Are you trying to list every single
thing you’ve ever done in your life?” The resume is not a complete work history. It is a highlight of your work history. So I want you to think in those terms. If you are a college student or you’re a recent
college graduate, you can certainly get away with one page. If you’ve started working a bunch of years,
five years, 10 years, you know, you might start bleeding into two pages or maybe a full
two pages. Depends how much volunteer work you’re doing,
some extra curriculars and things like that that you might be doing. But no one should be beyond two pages. If you are in the academic arena and CV style
resume is the acceptable format where you’ve got research, you’ve got publications, you’ve
got all kinds of additional books and things like that that you’re writing, then it can
go longer. But if you’re in the professional, commercial
work environment, two pages. No more. No exceptions. All right and last, number eight. You want to be relevant. So I see a lot of resumes that take up room
at the bottom where they talk about hobbies. You know, “I’m a marathoner and I volunteer
at the pet store.” And all this good stuff. While that stuff’s great and it’s wonderful
if you want to chit chat and banter back and forth with the interviewer in the interview,
it’s just got no room on the resume. It really doesn’t. Volunteer activities where you are doing something
extreme, you’re spending a lot of time, you’re gaining leadership qualities as a result of
doing volunteer activities and extra curricular activities is wonderful. That I do want in the resume. So I just want to be crystal clear here. I’m talking about hobbies that are completely
unrelated to either work or building skills that are beneficial in the work environment. So if you’re sitting on a board at some non-for-profit,
that’s awesome. I want to hear about that. But if you’re a marathoner, that’s great. Just let me know that. You’ll know that I’m a runner if you come
in my office and there’s running pictures around. You’ll pick that up. I’ve got friends that are CEOs, that are fisherman
and hunters and all kinds of stuff. And that’s great. And you can share that. But I just wouldn’t put it on the resume. All right now I want to do this for you just
so you can freeze the page just to recap what I said. You’ve got eight of these little beauties. Oh, sorry. I must be in the wrong spot. Oh here we go. Okay. I love being live. All right, here we go. Here’s what the employer wants; summary first,
what you offer not what you need, accomplishments versus activities. So think in terms of benefits versus daily
duties. Evidence not opinions and the more precise
you can get your evidence the better. You want to have a memorable layout, okay? As opposed to something that’s really thick
and dense. You want it to be in chronological order versus
grouping your companies by job type. You want it to be manageable, two pages or
less. And you want it to be relevant. So not excessive. So that’s a little recap there. I will leave that up for a quick second if
you want to jot a few notes.

25 Comments

  • Andrew LaCivita says:

    Hey Folks! Please let me know what is ailing your job search! Also, make sure to SUBSCRIBE to my channel so you can stay up to date on new videos every week and join my WEEKLY (YES! WEEKLY!) LIVE OFFICE HOURS SESSIONS every Thursday!

  • Kajana Club says:

    good tips for resume, thanks

  • Bill Benoist says:

    Great stuff here! I often link job objectives to being invited to dinner. Would you tell the person what you want them to cook for you 🙂

  • kikii10100 says:

    Hi, have you got any tips on how to figure out what job you want to get into when you have absolutely no idea. Thank you 🙂

  • Redchica JT says:

    Hi Andrew! Great pointers, I left a job after 11 yrs in the logistics industry doing Accounting. I want to shift over to the University or College environment. I was a student assistant in college is there a way where I can make this stand out. I been looking at College Counselor Financial Aid Advisor but haven't been very successful. Any advise how to make my 2.5 years of student assistant out? I will definitely going to take this list to try and reorganize my resume. Thanks so much!

  • RemainForever Healthy says:

    I like, the resume is about what you offer. What value you have. Great talk Andy

  • Yak S.D. says:

    Nice video!
    Is it OK to write “I want to join a great team, share experience, and create better software as a Python developer” in the resume’s summary section and/or a cover letter?

  • Heather Gerhardt says:

    As a former recruiter, controlling the narrative is such a great tip! I would read the top and move past if it wasn't direct and compelling!

  • Kylie Carlson says:

    Such an important tip about controlling the narrative at the top of your resume. If I think about how I look at resumes you're right, if it doesn't grab me at the top I'm likely to put it on the reject pile rather than diving in and looking for the good stuff.

  • Kate Emiley says:

    I love your tip about showing "what you offer not what you need". You need to show VALUE!

  • Lindsey Hazel says:

    Wow Andy wish I would have had this when I was writing resumes! LOVE the tip about leaving the personal stuff/hobbies OFF of the resume- I used to hire people at an old job and always felt like it was random on a resume! 😂 Definitely sharing this on Pinterest!

  • Adriana Girdler says:

    Such great points – especially for those college grads. It can be tricky to figure out how to make a good resume when you don't have as much experience. Thanks for sharing your tips, Andy – cheers!

  • Rich Bontrager says:

    I hate doing resume work, but these tips help Thanks BOSS

  • isitebuild says:

    Great tips ..would have been great for my son who recently graduated from college and spent a long time searching for the right job

  • Alis Svietlikova says:

    Hi Andrew,
    Thank you so much for your videos! You opened my eyes 🙂
    I have a question though. I've had a lot of different job experiences in the past few years (due to several reasons) and now I want to apply for a completely different position in a big company and build a career there. My education and skills match the requirements (as I've learned a lot while doing those different jobs, I also like to study at home all the time). I usually put Relative job description of every position on my Resume. However, what do I put in the summary as professional? I believe, when employer sees that I've changed so many fields it gives him an idea that I can't last long-term. Is there any way to change this perspective using CV? Thank you!

  • augi3 says:

    Enjoy your channel! The profile/summary at the beginning of the resume is brilliant. My challenge is two-fold: 1) translating my years of "seasoned" teacher and building administrator experience into hard numbers and "improving my company's bottom line and 2) determining what transferable skills I have (want a career change). Thoughts? Thanks.

  • RVersity says:

    It is always good to think about what kind of job you are applying for and tailor your resume to match. I always look at a job application from both sides. 🙄 I am interviewing them as much as they are me. You should have questions about the company and this is probably more for a cover letter, but think what would they want in a potential employee and How can I WOW them! 😮 I actually pay attention to those pretty non normal resumes people send in. They grab my attention 🤓

  • Tim P. says:

    Awesome stuff. Great tips to use to keep thing in perspective when trying to sell yourself. Removing "Objective" from my resume now, let's go "Summary". How do I avoid cliches in the "Summary" hook? Things like "self-starter", "Strong work ethic", but still want the reader to know "Hey you have a gem here!"

  • J R says:

    Damn it. Watched so many of these types of videos. It's been over 7 years since I have had to deal with it. Everything is geared towards White collar. I'm a highly skilled tradesman. What I can do is dying. Yet, I need to sell myself. I used to just show up and talk my way into a job. Resume, what is that? I have a college degree. 3.96 GPA. Pretty sure no one cares. They just want to know if I can fix their shit. Well, I could 10 years ago, but now I've got paper to prove it. It's stupid to me but, I got it. You have a video for guys like me? Seriously, I make more money than most people with bachelor degrees. Don't think for once I didn't earn it. I spent years learning my trades. Yes, trades. I'm a journeyman in ,3 different trades. So, how about something for us guys. I'm done finding work from hanging out in a bar or just stopping by a construction site and asking if they are hiring. I actually quit a $22hr job one day and was driving 4 hours back home and got a $47hr job. World doesn't work that way anymore. Tell a highschool gas station worker how to write a resume. That would actually pretty much end your career.

  • Kevin Kaczynski says:

    As a tradesperson, who changes jobs every few months in my industry. How should i make my employment history without making it long to keep under two pages?

  • David Nichols says:

    ANDY, THANK YOU SO MUCH. REGARDS, DAVID NICHOLS

  • Constance Bahrami says:

    Andrew, you are a Guru! Thank you!

  • Karthick Durai says:

    Hi Andrew ,
    I had watched couple of your vedio which are really informative . I need a suggestion whether I can put certification logo just below the name

  • Study Zen says:

    I was writing my resume as I watched this.

    Before the video, I was a wreck. After applying these tips, I feel like I have a really strong resume. Thank you!

  • Mohammed Al-Khayyat says:

    Andy, this is really confusing here 4:33, I watched several other videos of you saying that education should be at the bottom even if you're a graduated student. Can you clarify this please ?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *