What Most Employers Want to See on Your Resume

In today’s extremely competitive job market, there are many applicants for the same jobs. Many hiring managers make a decision about an applicant in a matter of seconds, just by scanning your resume. In order to make it past the first step, the review of the resume, and make it to the second step of an initial interview, applicants need to understand what it takes to grasp the attention of prospective employers, or more specifically, what those employers want to see on your resume. According to resume writing experts SolidEssay, failure to put into writing what the employers are looking for could mean that the most eligible candidate for the position does not even make it to the interview portion. Below we will provide insight as to what employers want to see on an applicant’s resume.

Contact Information

While this may seem to be an obvious thing for an applicant to add to a resume, it is absolutely necessary that the applicant ensures their contact information is recent and up to date, any email address added to the resume should be one that is checked on a regular basis, and now many employers are looking for links to the applicant’s social media sites, such as LinkedIn, which allows the employer to research the applicant further if they choose to do so.

Summary Section

Research has shown that many hiring managers make decisions about potential employees in just a matter of seconds based on the appearance, quality, and content of their resume. It is for this reason that many experts suggest beginning your resume with a summary section. The summary section should be an attention getter for the hiring managers. This summary should be tailored and focused to reflect how you, as the candidate, have skills that fit the particular employer’s needs.

This summary section can be scripted in a few ways. If you are a recent college graduate with relatively little work experience, it is recommended that a more substantial summary section be the strong opening of your resume. Include your list of particular skills and attributes that match the skillset that the employer is looking for. If you have been in the same career for 15 or 20 years, a bullet statement summary touching on the highlights of your talent and accomplishments will be sufficient in the summary section.

Work Summary

Prospective employers want to know the potential employee’s work experience. This work experience should be in reverse chronological order. Major accomplishments and skillsets that match what the job description should be focused on when providing a work summary. If you have been with the same employer for a substantial period of time, it is not necessary to list all employers that you have worked for, unless those employers have skillsets that match the prospective employee’s hiring criteria. Use actual measurable criteria when describing accomplishments rather than word fluff.


Education should be listed with the highest earned degree listed first, and each subsequent degree listed in reverse chronological order, based on the highest earned degree. High school graduation should not be included on the resume unless that is the highest education level accomplished. Educational affiliations should be included on the resume.

For those graduates who graduated with a non-technical degree, they should include their GPA on their resume if it is over 3.5, but they should include what scale it is on; for example, a 3.7 GPA on a 4.0 scale. For those graduates with a technical degree, they should include their resume if it is over 3.2. Again, these students should include what scale it is on, a 3.2 on a 4.0 scale.

Volunteer Work and Other Relevant Activity

Many applicants are coming straight out of college, or have not been a part of the workforce due to issues such as rearing children, an illness, or other reasons for being out of the workforce for an extended period of time, this time is not considered lost time in terms of gained talents and skills. For many people, the skills that they learn volunteering could be exactly what a prospective employer is looking for. For that reason, it is necessary that those candidates with little work experience or those who have been out of the workforce for a significant period of time list the skills and life lessons that they experienced and translate those skills and life lessons into tangible skills that prospective employers could use.

What Not to do on a Resume

Do not add fluff words, or common, cliché phrases unless you have the statement in the resume to support the statement. For example, do not add the phrase “strong leadership skills”, unless later in your resume you can prove those strong leadership skills through duty responsibilities such as “served as the lead of a team of 20 to complete a project ahead of schedule and under budget”.

Do not embellish your accomplishments or take credit for the work of an entire team. Remember that the resume is just a way to get your foot in the door. The prospective employer is going to follow-up beyond just the resume. Embellishing your skills and talents will come back to haunt you later in the hiring process, as the prospective employers will ultimately validate the items that you have listed on your resume.

Today’s job market is not what it was in the past. Today’s applicants have to be cutting edge, forward thinking, and multi-tasking, outside the box thinkers in order to achieve success. These applicants have to have the ability to sell themselves and ensure they stand out in order to rise above the other potential candidates applying for the same position. They have to market their abilities to ensure that the hiring manager gives the resume more than just a simple glance. Once they make it to the interview portion of the available application, the rest is up to them.

Author bio: At SolidEssay.com Ben teaches students how to write resumes and different types of essays. One of his recent articles is on how to write an essay in Chicago style.

share this