12 Things Hiring Managers Want to See

Susan Hall

I love dog sports, especially agility, that sport where the handler directs a dog through a series of jumps and other obstacles in a race against time. I am this woman, who can turn any conversation into talk about improving start-line stays and adding speed through jump sequences. But I see people's eyes glaze over (my son's not as polite as most people about being bored by it all), so I'd never put that on my resume or bring it up in an interview unless asked about my hobbies.


So this post from mysalary.com at george's employment blawg on 12 things employers want to see in your resume or interview gives me pause. The rest of the items seem important. But rather than 12, maybe make it 11, by nixing info about your hobbies. (Hiring managers, please chime in about this.)


Here are the 12 things:


1. Results-Can you cite specific accomplishments, not just duties? I've written that hiring managers want to see the impact you made, not just that you held a job. And VMware recruiter Loren Bryand Boyce made the point yesterday that companies want to see a clear distinction between projects that were your sole responsibility and those that you did with the help of others.


2. Figures and numbers-How did you improve the bottom line? How productive were you? The trick is putting that into numbers. This post at getinterviews.com can help. It might seem that not all achievements can be quantified, but this post offers advice on finding the right metric.

3. Awards and accolades-Have you been recognized as a success in any way, from employee of the month on up? If you're the current custodian of the traveling ugly office trophy, I'd try to find some humorous way to phrase how you won it. Industry organization or user group awards are even better.

4. Blog or website-Do you have one with a professional subject, tone and content? Personal branding specialist Dan Schawbel predicts that job seekers' online presence will replace the traditional resume in 10 years.


5. Staying power-If you've held multiple jobs with less than two years' tenure, that tends to raise a red flag with HR.

6. Up-to-date skills and education-Have you had any relevant continuing education and training? IT pros tend to be savvy about updating their skills. In a poll by Global Knowledge and Tech Republic, more than three-fourths of respondents took some kind of training last year.

7. Ideas and initiative-How can you show the potential to generate good ideas and be a self-starter? In federal government especially, it takes not just good ideas, but real drive to make them reality. Employers want to see that kind of determination.

8. Attitude-How can you show you will stay positive and flexible and not be a whiner?

9. Leadership skills-Can you think of situations or activities in which others have followed your lead? In the Hay Group's Best Companies for Leadership study, the standout companies require all employees to lead, regardless of their position or title.

10. Growth potential-Can you show you have done more than expected in past jobs, have moved up, and that if hired, you will seek to learn and do more, beyond the position you seek? HR consultant Peter Weddle says we workers have to be like the iPhone team, always upping our game to stay ahead of both our competitor's capabilities and employers' expectations.

11. Creativity-Can you think of examples of creative problem-solving? Creativity means different things for different jobs. For a graphic artist, this represents creativity. In IT, creativity can mean looking for new solutions to problems or like Dr. Hank on "Royal Pains," being the quintessential MacGyver, able to not only diagnose the problem, but also to fix it with just a mirror, duct tape and a few pennies.


12. Hobbies-I'd wait to be asked about that.

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