What Hiring Managers Think About Your Resume

It’s something we’re all itching to know. What goes on behind the scenes once you hit the ‘submit’ button for a job posting? The average time hiring managers spend deciding on a resume is five to seven seconds, which is understandable given that on average, 65 percent of applicants are unqualified for a given job.

So what can you do to defeat the statistics and capture the hiring manager’s attention? The key is to look at your resume the way you would if it were your own company and you needed a position filled within two weeks. Below we’ve got a few tips and tricks that we’ve seen make resumes stand out amidst a pool of applicants.

Take advantage of the job description

For each job you apply for, you may need to retool your resume to align with the requirements of that job. Hiring managers know exactly what they need for the position, and if they don’t see the skills they are looking for within the first few seconds, it’s bye-bye resume and hello “not a fit” folder. Make sure this doesn’t happen to you by studying the description and highlighting exactly what the company is looking for in your own past work.

Put everything in the same tense

A sure way to confuse a hiring manager is to constantly switch tenses in your resume. While this is okay if you are talking about a past experience versus a current one, be clear about the time you are describing. For example, if in a description you write both, “oversaw budgets for projects,” and “leading a team toward success,” one is happening in the past and one in the present, even though both are for the same job. Make sure your sentences run consistently with each other, as this is a key mistake that applicants often miss.

Get rid of overused language

Nothing is more boring or uninteresting to a hiring manager than having to read the same exact words in every single resume. Common language like “utilized,” “strong attention to detail,” and “professional expert” make hiring managers yawn, and don’t describe the qualities that are special about you.

For this problem, online thesauruses are your best friend. Once you’ve written your resume, highlight the dull words and look up their synonyms to put more personality in your CV. The language you use to describe yourself can really make all the difference when applying for a job.

Make it easy to read

The layout of your resume should be easy for a third party to navigate. Remember, you’ve only got seven seconds, so don’t organize your resume as if you have a half hour. Keep it clean and simple, and put the most important information, i.e. your skills and experience where the hiring manager will see it first. Don’t jumble everything up with irrelevant information or full paragraphs describing your life down to every minute detail. Resumes should be short, but compelling enough to make the hiring manager want to pick up the phone right away and find out more about you.

Get a second and third pair of eyes

After spending hours on your resume, it’s all too easy to miss spelling errors, varying tenses and tired language, especially if you’ve made big adjustments to it.

Always get a second and third opinion from a friend or colleague (preferably one good at writing or with hiring experience) to review your resume before you submit it to the job you want. There are also plenty of online forums you can refer to where real editors will review your resume for content and grammar, like Editor World and Wordy.com. Either way, it’s always good to get feedback from a fresh set of eyes.

Now that you’ve seen the resume world from the perspective of a hiring manager, you can use these tips to apply effectively and wow the next hiring manager who looks at your resume! 


Looking now for more insider tips on the interview process? Check out How to Ace Your Next Phone Interview, 4 Questions Not to Ask During a Job Interview and more on our Scoop Blog!

For a list of our currently open positions check out our jobs page and submit your resume to us today!

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