Resumes are necessary to get you in the door. They are like a key, you need one to get into the process. In this Five on Friday, our Hiring Manager Advisory Council talks about what hiring managers look for on resumes.

How long do you scan a resume when you first get it, and what are you looking for (good or bad)?

In one of the most obvious outcomes ever, you’ll note that bad grammar and mis-spellings are eliminators, for the most part. Make sure your resume has no errors! The cover letter is your chance to show your personality some…..

Phil: After Education, Position and Execution “Volunteer or Community Involvement”. As a negative – one spelling mistake bottom of pile, two spelling mistakes in the garbage. Cover Letter with accomplishments, simple easy to read format and NO SPELLING MISTAKES. Also, I look for Groups or Associations, high overview not too descriptive. I don’t care about political affiliations more about community.

Sydney:  I usually read the whole thing, unless it’s so poorly formatted that I just chuck it. I make the read/toss decision in about 10-20 seconds. Not sure how long I take to read…. I look for:

Transferable things – Does this person have experience that indicates they can learn this new position? They don’t need an exact match, in fact, I probably don’t want an exact match or they’ll be bored. But do their experiences mostly line up with things we do, or would like to do?

Evidence that the candidate learns and grows. Is there career progression? Or interesting laterals? Are there degrees / certificates / professional accomplishments?

Do I see purpose / drive in this resume? Is this person passionate about something? On a mission? Driving their career? Are they a person who makes things happen, or a person that things happen to?

Absent relevant experience, is there education? When hiring tech support, sometimes you find people with great technical skills, but they have been working in hospitality because that’s where they could get a job. If the resume indicates significant skills, even without paid experience, they are probably worth a phone screen.

Andy: I look for any recognizable competitors/ suppliers/ customers. This helps me to categorize the candidates.

Bruce: Things I like to see: It really depends on the position level. Deep technical resources – Relevant experience, background and certifications. Manager or higher – a cover letter that ties the posting not only to my requirements – but to the industry and bridges with well thought out components of our products and mission/vision (all readily available on our website). TAILOR THE RESUME TO THE JOB. What I hate to see – typos – or bloated accomplishments – If I get interested in a resume – I google search and hit LinkedIn – with more than 1,500 connections that I know (I don’t accept blind invites) I likely know people who know the applicant – If they, for example, worked in the same department as Mike Sixel – and worked there for more than a year or two – I know something about them — because let’s be real – two years of working with someone like Mike is an (ahem) experience 🙂 — I don’t however ‘out the applicant’ by calling (i.e. Mike) – that would be unprofessional.

Aimee: I always look for grammar and formatting first. Shows attention to detail. Then it depends on the position. Entry level – work experience, what did they do in college etc. Experienced – usually looking for specific skills and where they worked. How well do they describe what they did and what they contributed.

My answer: I usually just glanced at resumes. By the time I saw them, they had been through HR, and I knew the people were minimally qualified. Like others, I looked for some hint of their personality in the writing. Mostly I looked at resumes with an eye to the interview….what 2 or so questions would I ask about them, based on their resume, to figure out more about their approach?

In summary, what hiring managers look for on resumes is not a real surprise. They want to make sure that the details don’t disqualify you, and then they worry about the actual content, and how that relates to the job being applied for.

What do you look for in a resume? Let us know in the comments, or email us. We’ll create a post from the best answers so everyone can see them.