Whether you’ve been in the workforce for ten years or two—chances are, you quickly realized that scoring your dream job isn’t as easy as copying an old resume and sending off an introductory email into the great hiring abyss. Nope. There’s actually a whole lot more strategy involved in crafting your resume to meet hiring managers’ greatest expectations and hiring dreams.
Hiring managers looking for standout employees likely have a long list of criteria to help them find their ideal candidate. But how do you anticipate what they’re looking for in a prospective hire before they even review your resume? Before including each and everyone of your unique skills on a single page resume—stop! You’ll want to tailor your resume and skills exactly to the job you’re applying for.
What does that look like? Using the job description and desired skills posted by the hiring manager, adjust your resume to include skills that are relevant to the job you’re applying for. For example, if you’re applying for a Marketing Director position, you might not need to include your lifeguarding experience from your first job in high school. Instead, highlight the skills and experience you gained from your marketing internship, or in your role as a social media manager.
Not sure which skills to prioritize? Read on for some insight on the top skills hiring managers love to see on a resume.
What Skills Do Hiring Managers Look For?
1. Career progression
Did you get promoted from Office Assistant to Project Manager at your last job? Or maybe you took on some additional responsibilities in the interim of a transitioning staff member. Hiring managers love to see any signs of career progression on your resume. This lets managers know you’re driven and capable of excelling in your current position, and growing within the company in the future.
Highlight any promotions, new responsibilities, and opportunities you’ve been given in previous roles, and provide examples if there’s space to do so on your resume. If your resume is maxed out with relevant experience already, don’t sweat it. Just be sure to incorporate these examples at your in-person interview to stand out from the crowd of other applicants!
2. Exponential thinker
Are you the type of employee to take the lead on a project? You’re the one with the out-of-the-box ideas and vision for growth? If so, you’ll definitely want to mention exponential thinking on your most recent resume. Hiring managers are always looking for new hires that help move companies and projects forward. They want someone that not only sets goals, but completes them.
Demonstrate this skill by including data on different projects you’ve worked on, as well as examples of long term goals you’ve set and met.
3. Collaboration skills
Maybe group projects weren’t your favorite part of college, but if you’ve been in the working world for even a New York minute, you know that teamwork is essential to getting stuff done. When glancing at your resume, managers want to see if you have experience working on a team, as well as evidence that you’re able to collaborate and work well with others.
Even if your job is relatively autonomous, like a writer, for example, you might still be working in an office or on the occasional team project. No matter where you work or what your profession is, you’ll probably need to collaborate with others at some point in your career, which is why this is such an important skill for managers to see on your resume.
List a few successful group projects you’ve worked on in your professional or academic career to demonstrate not only that you can work with others, but that you excel in a team environment, and are willing to share credit and success upon project completion.
ProTip from Jeff Arnett, CEO of Arnett Credentials: ”Include numbers in your resume to show how many people you worked with on your team, what project you accomplished, and how successful it was. Data like this gives hiring managers more context to evaluate how strong your skill set is!”
4. Leadership experience
Hiring managers look for leadership experience for a few different reasons. For one, a candidate that demonstrates leadership skills is likely a self-starter that can take on a new job with determination and know-how, with little to no intervention from upper management (practically a dream-hire)! Secondly, this skill lets managers know that you’re not afraid to take initiative and that you’re happy to share your knowledge and expertise with others.
If you have any experience managing a team in a previous role, taking the lead on a project, or even coordinating a group outing for your company, mention it! Not sure if you have any leadership experience?
Here are some examples you might include on your resume:
- Training new employees
- Event planning
- Managing a team
- Provided project direction
- Acted as the point of contact on a project
- Delegated tasks
Whether you managed a staff of fifty or just coordinated a few meetings here and there, no leadership experience is too minor to mention on your resume.
5. How you’ve achieved your skills
In addition to getting to know your strengths and professional skill set, many hiring managers will pay close attention to how you learned and put these skills into practice. Generally, there are three categories you can attribute your skills and experience to: education, certifications, and work experience.
- Education: List your academic experience including your degree and high school education (if appropriate), any relevant courses, and extra-curricular programs if they’re applicable to the position you’re applying for.
- Certifications: If you have any specialized certifications relevant to the industry, be sure to highlight them on your resume. Additionally, if you’ve received any awards in your certification program, you can highlight those here as well.
- Work Experience: Learned everything you know while on the job? No problem. List the skills you learned and refined as part of your work experience.
ProTip from Brian Kelley, VP of BCCU: “Resume looking a little bare on the certification side of things? See if there are any free online courses available in your field—and get ready to spice up that resume!”
Once you’ve determined which skills and experiences are most important to include on your resume, follow these tips before sending off your final draft!
- Be concise: Ideally, your resume should be able to fit on a single page.
- Make it scan-able: Hiring managers may only have a few seconds to look over your resume. So, make sure it’s easy to read and organized.
- Be specific: Don’t just say you have project management experience, show it. Give specific examples of your purpose, accomplishments, experience, and skills.
- Edit, edit, edit: One careless mistake and your resume could end up in the “toss” pile. Always review your work, and if you can, have a friend read over it too!
Follow these tips to help you craft a resume that answers hiring managers’ short list of skills, and you’re well on your way to landing the job of your dreams!
This guest blog was written by Emily Banks. She is a Bay Area Native who got tired of SF’s cold beaches and decided to move to San Diego. She is currently the editor for the HR section of 365 Business. When she is not typing away on her office keyboard, she can be found eating street tacos in the sunshine.