How do hiring managers read resumes ?

At the time of looking at the job description, it feels perfect. And you submit the resume. And then you wonder, how do managers read resumes? What are they looking at?

For recruiters and hiring managers who deal with hundreds of resumes, it is difficult to sort to the information overload. Some resumes are nothing more than a recitation of work history. With others they will be looking at a document that was written to focus on a specific target job, or perhaps hide a problem. Resumes get longer and more complex as there is more experience to draw on, and at the same time their very structure varies to accommodate the twists and turns that happen in every person’s half-century-long work life.’

The most challenging part of writing a good résumé is tell people an interesting story about yourself that the reader wants to take in.

While writing your resume, remember that you are addressing a wider audience. Given that active sourcing being a key method of hiring, it is important to have people on your network wanting to read your resume. At the very least there are two desks the resume has to cross for a successful outcome – the headhunter and the hiring manager.

How do Headhunters read your resume

According to an eye tracking study done by a recruitment website, a recruiter a headhunter reads through CV is less than 10 seconds. The first points of interest to him/her is the current company you with, the previous company worked for, the years of experience you have, and is there anything in your current profile that makes you fit for the job at hand.

Second point of importance is the educational qualifications. They have additional points for ascending levels of qualifications – Bachelors, Masters and MBA levels with brownie points for reputed institutions. They also look at your current location to figure if relocation is a requirement.

Things that work against you in a CV: A bad photo in your resume (in countries where photos are required) and a photo in the documents (in countries where photos are not correct). Having spelling or grammar mistakes. Nothing should smack of desperation because they have to question why and they generally do not like wasting time on such questions.

How do Hiring Managers read resumes?

In an organizational scenario, the first impression matters. It is important for the resume to be neat, professionally formatted and the information presented in an easy to read manner.

Similar to the recruiter, the hiring manager also focuses on the last job held, educational background and skills. A varied career graph equips you with different skills and those skills give you an added advantage like specialized computer skills or language skills. The rest of the scan is an investigation on how the candidate displayed or exhibited skills like leadership, initiative, problem solving, teamwork, and responsibility.

No matter how the resume is structured, everyone seeks to list their achievements as a way of demonstrating how well they performed for previous employers. Statements of achievement almost always relate to productivity: earning money, saving money, and saving time. Most hiring managers carefully scrutinize these achievements as sometimes they ring as too good to be true, in most cases they probably are exaggerated.

Pay particular importance to achievements like money earned for the company and money/time saved for the company. Hiring managers generally flag such action verbs like achieved, streamlined, managed, and implemented for further examination. For example, when using a word like managed the immediate questions that spring up are – How would this person define management: management of a process, a project, or people?

How does the candidate see the difference between management and supervision? How long has he or she been in management, at what level, and how many people were managed? Did this person hire, fire, and perform salary and performance reviews?

Your resume should answer most of the questions about you as well as leave the recruiter/manager wanting more information. Have a strong profile at the beginning of the resume, which clearly articulates your skills, your experience and what you offer to your prospective employer as unique value.

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