19 Resume Experts Share One Thing On A Resume That Guarantees Someone An Interview.

Oh hi. You want a job with us? We're going to need a resume. But it can't be just a normal list of your accomplishments. We'll need a detailed infograph showing your growth since age 4, a flashy design why don't you pop in a little illustrated version of yourself? and as many of the following buzzwords as possible: accolade, catalyst, charisma, problem solving, negotiation, network, blah blah blah. Oh, and don't forget your cover letter and portfolio!

Applying to jobs these days can feel like a full time job. With increases in competition in the labour market, demands have skyrocketed, leaving my prospective applicants deflated and defeated.

These resume experts are here to help. They all answered the ever-pressing question: What do you look for that says "let's get this person in for an interview" even if they don't have direct experience in that field?

Check it out, folks, and share with someone who could really use this.

1/20. Personal projects. Portfolio. Proof that they work on their craft during their own time.

2/20. Add something that shows your personality. Going through 200 odd resumes can be really boring and occasionally that flash of personality can really help you to stand out. We had one candidate who attached a Polaroid of herself dressed as Supergirl to her rsum, it was a nice change to the generic applications we had been trudging through.


3/20. Copy/paste what they ask for. Not directly, but use the terms they use.

90% of applications go through tracking systems first and they get a ranking based on the words you use and the frequency of the words and the similarity of your resume to the job description. There's plenty of time to be creative in the cover letter and also in person once you do well in the tracking system and get sent on to the manager.

4/20. If you're applying for an entry-level game design position, we don't care where you went to school, and we probably don't care what you're doing now, but if you are either a) completing mediocre-at-worst games in your spare time or b) one of the best in the world at a game someone on the team has played, we'll at least call you for a chat.


5/20. Have a friend who hiked the Appalachian Trail for a year. She puts it in her CV, always gets brought up at interviews.

Continue to the next page to read more.

6/20. A phone call!

I have been in positions where I have to sift through 100+ job applications, and the people who call to introduce themselves immediately get about a 10x success factor - because while they are on the phone I pull their resume out of the pile and read it properly, and also because making the call shows initiative.

Turning up in person to introduce yourself can sometimes be good as well, but there's a risk that it's too forward. Not everyone will like that.

The best approach I can recommend is to call the person hiring a week or so before applications are due, introduce yourself and ask them how exactly they would like you to format your application, if there's anything in particular they are looking for in the perfect applicant, or ask to get a bit more information about the job.

Even if you're not 100% qualified, this is how to boost your chances of an interview. Call the right person and say: "This position sounds really exciting, but I only have 4/5 of the requirements that you've listed. I definitely think I could learn the other 1/5 though, so I just wanted to introduce myself and let you know I'm really serious about this."

Your chances of getting an interview will skyrocket.

If you're not sure who the right person to call is, call reception and ask: "Hi, there's a job posted at the moment for XYZ position. I'm really excited about applying, but I just have one or two questions about how to improve my application. Who's the best person to speak to about that?"

7/20. Hard evidence that they not only actually read my job description but their resume speaks directly to the things I'm asking for (with little focus on things I didn't), usage of terminology that I used (customer care vs. customer service, etc.), free of grammatical/spelling errors, and a less-is-more approach.

8/20. If everything on their rsum has a time frame over a year it shows some sort of commitment. Cool things like hot dog eating champion don't hurt chances either.


9/20. Two things.

  1. At least three years at the same organization over the course of their career. I need to know we won't invest in training them if they view us as a stepping stone.
  2. Interesting stuff in the "special skills" section. It shows they're a well rounded person who will be interesting to work with and has enough time management skills to maintain a hobby. And that they have a life outside of work so they won't burn out.


Continue reading on the next page.

10/20. I worked in teaching and if we hired you and brought you into the community, for continuity's sake, we really hope you're in it for the long haul and want to move up the chain.

Not all schools/districts are as good as mine was about promotions but if you're ambitious you'll be given more responsibilities and higher pay every year you stay with us. In the elementary school, being the chief curriculum officer of your grade was about the best it got, but I also did some work for the middle and high school and there were a lot more opportunities to grow as an educator there. Eventually you could move up into the administration if you were power hungry.

The last thing we wanted was somebody who was going to come for a year or two and then move on to a bigger city or charter school. It's disruptive to the people they worked with and to the student body.

11/20. Customer service. I worked in the Registrar's Office and software is different no matter which university you work at so I didn't need someone who "knew the software." I just needed someone who is still an upbeat person after being yelled at for the tenth time on a bad day. A positive coworker does wonders on those hard days.

Also, a well written resume. Grammar and spelling was a huge plus for me. It shows that you took the time to be professional. Sometimes you get students or faculty or staff members or parents who are extremely angry with you and you have to make sure that you are communicating correctly.

Lastly, languages. Working in a university and knowing more than one language is a huge plus. You will always be an asset.

12/20. I take half of the resumes I'm given and throw them in the trash. I don't want unlucky people working in my department.


13/20. Here's an example for people who do CAD, but can be applied for most skills:

Bad version: CAD Skills: Solidworks

Good version: CAD skills: solid modeling, assemblies, and drafting prints for fabrication using Solidworks

The reasoning why one is better than the other: one tells me nothing about what you can do with solidworks, and everyone in the industry has at least heard of it so throwing it on your resume means next to nothing. Saying specifically what you can do is much better.

Continue reading on the next page.

14/20. I want to see the resume looking very organized. Even if they've been working at Walmart, I want to see it explained clearly. I want to be able to find information I'm looking for easily. When I was in college I was taught that my resume should never under any circumstances be more than one page long, and it's at 4 pages now, about to be 5. I like if someone else isn't afraid to break the rules and have a bit longer resume.

I like if it's concise, and not super talky.

I like if the job descriptions are somewhat tailored to show how the experience there applies to the current job, if applicable.

If the person is looking for kind of a career change, I look for a cover letter saying why. I'm in for helping a smart person make a career change if they really want to be working with me for some reason. I'm not in for giving an ordinary person a job because they're spamming their resume to everybody on two legs.

15/20. Any mixture of high GPA, participation in student societies, and examples of technical competence. That's the triple threat. Don't have that? Its never too late to acquire skills and assets to make yourself look boss.

As far as what to include on a resume without actually bettering yourself as a person? Many people completely undervalue the 'interests' section of your resume, especially as a young person or graduate. My wife and I got our first jobs out of uni with interviews where we reached talked about trumpet and SCUBA, respectively, for 20 minutes. For me, it eased the tension, made me relatable, gave me more face time and opportunity to explain what kind of person I am.

Don't forget our community at /r/resumes either, where you can post your resume or CV and get it critiqued by pros and people like me who think they're pros.

16/20. I work in a highly specialized field (CYBERSECURITY). I look for evidence of strategic growth, such as:

-Worked in industry groups, standards bodies, projects
-Has been published in anything (book, magazine, newspaper, well known website)
-Has spoken at events, conferences, etc.
-Has good writing skills
-Is well connected


17/20. Any resume that doesn't impart confidence in me that the candidate has a comprehensive command of the English language, and can structure a coherent and well formed sentence goes straight in the bin. It's not so much the errors themselves, it's the fact you couldn't spend a whole ten seconds running a spell check. That just screams laziness, ineptitude, and no pride in your work - which aren't flattering attributes.

So a lack of basic spelling errors is the first step, before I even review any of their skills/background/etc

Getting that right is the first green tick against your name.


18/20. I don't use tracking systems, I don't use databases or word finding software I actually hold the page in my hand and READ resumes. I look at formatting, I look for obvious lies, I look to see how long it too a person to get from a high school education to a job where they were comfortable if it's for a job that doesn't need a degree, if education is necessary I will check HS grad year to when they were out of school and if the timelines don't add up I'll ask. I don't go into an interview process with a person wanting them on their heels right away but I will have answers ready from your resume where I'm looking for you to answer honestly and with confidence. I really don't care if you were laid off/sick/having kids but I will look to see if you are going to brush that time off as embarrassment or own it and just move on. A lot of what I have done for hiring in the past have been for two reasons. One for when a company is opening a new branch and they need an initial group of employees to get a shop up and running so I hire everything from admin to sales. I also work with companies that are bleeding money for whatever reason and help them get people in positions where they will help the company stop the bleeding money bit.

It is just me but I don't give a shit if you say 'team member' instead of 'employees' or if you are using corporate lingo. What I want to see is how much you have accomplished in time frames. I can look at your resume and see that in 3 years you went from junior sales at a shitty franchise to a lead sales position in a multinational it will say a whole lot more to me than the next guy that was stuck at some mid level position for a decade because to me it shows that you're driven and do not want to stay at a certain level in your career.

So after reading some of the other people that answered here, take from what I wrote with a grain of sand I guess. I hire for fairly energetic industrial companies (Oil&Gas, Forestry, Manufacturing, Mining, Trades) so we might be looking at this in different ways.

Side note, don't be afraid of just putting your everything into a resume for a job that you really want but may not meet the credentials. Never know if it's someone like myself reading it with the goal of fining trainable passion and not HR guidelines. I have taken risks on passion more than I can count.

19/20. I've gotten flown in for an interview at a major company in my field due to a totally unrelated business I started. The job was a writing position, but they loved my business sense. Initiative and business sense are most important in all fields, since you're not going to get hired unless the company thinks they will make money by hiring you.


20/20. IT hiring manager here:
I want to see some evidence of advancement.

If I have two guys, one who got promoted three times in he retail industry and passed the MCSA on their own, vs. one who stayed as a junior sysadmin for 5 years with no promotion, I'm more interested in the candidate with a proven history of advancement.


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