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Five points hiring managers look for in a resume

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By Leslie Bonagura
DBM offers tips to help you succeed at work. Bonagura is Managing Consultant for DBM in Stamford, Connecticut.
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  • Whether you're currently looking for a job or are satisfied with the one you have, you should always keep your resume up-to-date. You never know when the perfect new opportunity might come along for you, and you want to have your most important marketing tool on hand when it does.

    Your resumes should speak directly to the hiring manager reading it. You want to highlight your skills and achievements in ways that are relevant to the position you're applying for.

    A recent DBM survey asked hiring managers what they look for in a resume. Here are the top five points they mentioned:

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  • 1. Relevant skills. Hiring managers want to see you have skills that make you the most qualified candidate. Highlight your skills by qualifying and quantifying how you used them successfully in the past.

    Your skill set is what defines your marketability. Be sure you represent it clearly and accurately on your resume. Also mention any specific licenses or certifications you have that are important for the position.

    2. Functional experience. What have you done in the past that relates to the position you're applying for? Hiring managers want to know you are prepared to handle situations that might arise within their organizations, and that you have been successful in dealing with them in the past. Look at the job description and duties for the new position and address those responsibilities in describing your experiences with past employers.

    3. Employment history. Who have you worked for in the past? This information helps employers determine your professional culture preferences and how well you would fit in their organization.

    4. Industry experience. Having industry experience is important to hiring managers; however, it is not necessarily a deal-breaker if you do not have it. If you can demonstrate on your resume that you understand the dynamics of the industry, by noting successes you've had in solving problems like the ones they face, you have a good chance of overcoming this hurdle.

    Remember, the goal of your resume is to secure an interview, not to fully convince the manager to hire you. You'll have a chance to further demonstrate the transferability of your skills during the interview process.

    5. Measurable accomplishments. Hiring managers want to know how you contributed to the success of your previous employers. Even if your entire department had a bad year, they want to see that what you did was better than the average and that you made a positive contribution to the company. Use concrete measurements to define your accomplishments, and when applicable tie in dollar figures or percentages.

    Your previous job titles and location are interesting to hiring managers, but they are not among the top five points they look for in resumes. If you focus on the information above, you will have a strong chance of making it to the next round of the job-search process — the interview.

    Your resume is meant to catch the eye of the hiring manager, and make him or her want to meet you. By addressing the issues they look for most, you will boost your chances of success.

    About Leslie Bonagura and DBM

    Leslie Bonagura is Managing Consultant for DBM in Stamford, Connecticut. DBM is a worldwide firm that provides strategic human resource solutions in employee selection, development, retention and transition. DBM works with organizations to help them manage the human resource challenges that go hand-in-hand with today's business cycles and volatile markets. Visit DBM.

    Copyright (2002) DBM, Inc. Printed by permission.