Resumes & Cover Letters

7 key resume tips from hiring managers

Written by Michael Hoon

Putting together a strong resume can be tricky. No one knows this better than hiring managers, who see job candidates make a lot of the same mistakes on their resumes over and over again. So who better to let you know what errors to avoid when making your own resume than the people in charge of hiring? Here are 7 tips from hiring managers that will ensure you avoid the biggest resume blunders.

1. Tell the truth.

There’s an old assumption that everyone lies a little on their resumes. Don’t buy into that cliché, and rise above this silly misstep that’s sure to catch up with you. Lying about your experience on your resume can land you in a job that simply is not for you…or worse yet, lead to quite a bit of embarrassment if the hiring manager uncovers a lie. Don’t end up embarrassed or out of your depth because you stretched the truth on your resume.

2. Take care of the details.

Hiring managers pay close attention to the tiny little parts of every resume section. Misspellings or grammatical errors on a resume are red flags that a potential employee might also make sloppy mistakes on the job. Be equally careful when composing emails when following up on your resume and in your cover letter.

3. Skip the objective.

The objective is a classic resume element. It’s where you state your ultimate career goal. The thing is, your career goal will often have absolutely nothing to do with the particular position for which you’re actually applying. The resume space you set aside for your objective can be put to better use, so it’s probably wisest just to eliminate it altogether. It’s a bit outdated and no hiring manager is ever going to miss it or knock you down a peg if it’s not there.

4. Get (and list) relevant experience.

Being well-educated may be crucial to get a particular job, but hiring managers also want to know that you’ve actually held down a job before. Recent graduates often make the error of thinking their educational accomplishments are enough, and fail to include work experience on their resumes. Never leave out work experience, even if you have to list menial part-time jobs, unpaid internships, or volunteer work on your resume.

5. Don’t forget your accomplishments.

Hiring managers want to know where you’ve worked in the past, but that’s not enough to provide a clear picture of what you’ve accomplished. So for each work experience entry, also note what you accomplished or how you were outstanding in that particular job. Be brief, but specific.

6. Don’t trumpet your strengths.

Are you a strong leader or a “people person?” Good for you! But save descriptions of yourself for your interview. There shouldn’t be anything but your work experience, accomplishments, degrees earned, and contact information on your resume.

7. Don’t forget the cover letter.

Okay, so you have a ton of relevant work experience, you’ve earned a higher education degree, and your accomplishments are many and marvelous. Your resume is impeccable. But simply shipping off a resume in response to a job opportunity won’t get you the job—no matter how fabulous your resume is. You also need to submit a cover letter. This is where you can allow a bit more of your personality to shine through and explain why your experiences, education, and accomplishments are relevant to the particular job for which you are applying. Treat your cover letter with all the care you put into your resume, avoiding the misspellings, grammar errors, untruths, and other common mistakes that could make you seem like a less-than-ideal candidate.

About the author

Michael Hoon