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What Employers Want and Don’t Want

There are many tools to help people write a resume, but first it is useful to learn what employers generally want and don't want to see.

What Employers Want

  • Present a convincing case that you are the person to solve a problem the company has and/or can help them with the bottom line. Projects or situations encountered in a previous or part time job, at college, or as a volunteer might be described to illustrate the desired competencies.
  • Highlight relevant qualifications that are easy to find - in the top half of the page. Employers will stop reading rather than search for them.
  • Create a concisely written, error-free resume - this will demonstrate good communication skills. There can't be even one mistake.

What Employers Don't Want

  • A focus on what you want rather than that of the company. Employers are concerned with what they need to make the business profitable and customer friendly. You should ask yourself, "Am I a person who can help them achieve their goals?"
  • Not having the specific qualifications that were outlined in the job description. There are many qualified people who do have the required degree, a particular computer skill, or fluency in a foreign language. While training is often available to workers once they are on the job, not having essential competencies can disqualify a job candidate.
  • Sending a resume that has not been customized to their needs. Sending out hundreds of resumes and neglecting to target and personalize them will be immediately obvious to hiring managers, and the chances of such a resume being read more than a few seconds are minimal.
  • Strange colors, hard to read fonts, or cutesy graphics that are distracting. There are differing philosophies about what can and should be done to make a resume stand out. Get advice from career counselors or other professionals before sending out a resume that includes unusual colors, fonts or graphics is recommended.
  • Not following specific instructions about how to submit a resume. If a resume is mailed rather than placed online as was requested, it will likely not be read. Employers want to know that job seekers can follow directions.
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