September 09, 2015

10 Things HR Notices About Your Resume and 10 Things they Ignore

10 Things HR Notices About Your Resume and 10 Things they Ignore
HR directors and their staff members spend a significant amount of time reviewing resumes. Have you ever wondered what they are looking for? Better yet, have you ever wondered what they ignore, or what they would simply prefer not to see at all?

Do you think your resume includes the right information?

First, let's take a look at the 10 things HR directors look for when they receive your resume.

1. Companies You've Worked for in the Past

This is a big one for many reasons. First, it lets them know if you've worked for or with some major players in your industry. It's also an indication of the type of work environments you've experienced

2. The Title of Your Last Position

This is an indication of your most recent experience, which is huge. It is also an indication of how long you have held that position

3. Keywords

Most HR staff hits CTRL F the minute the open up a resume. What they are looking for are keywords that are relevant to the position they are seeking to fill.

4. Gaps in Employment

These won't result in immediate disqualification, but HR does find them concerning if there is not explanation.

5. Spelling and Grammar

If you cannot take the time to use spelling and grammar check or proofread your resume, this is a big red flag.

6. Location

HR staff looks at this for several reasons. Will they have to offer you a relocation package? Will they have to help you secure a VISA?

7. Your Internet Presence

If you have a personal website, Twitter, or other social media account that you believe has content that is relevant to your skills and qualifications, by all means include this information.

8. Career Progression

Has your career been on an upward trajectory, or have you been making lateral moves for the last few years? If you have worked in the same industry for years, but have not moved up the ladder, this can be a concern.

9. Resume Delivery Method

This is more about the ability to follow instructions than content. If your resume arrives via the appropriate channel, addressed to the appropriate person, with the requested subject line, HR staff is going to love you just a little bit even before they read your resume.

10. Sequence and Organization

Is your resume organized in a way that makes sense for the position you are seeking and the qualifications that you have? HR staff doesn't want to spend a lot of time backtracking to find relevant information.


Now, let's look at ten things that HR ignores or finds problematic when reviewing a resume.

1. Personal Details

HR staff doesn't want to know if you are divorced, disabled, have children, how tall you are, or how much  you weigh. These details are awkward at best, and at worse can put HR in a precarious legal position.

2. Education

You should include this information. After all, if a degree is required to qualify for a position, you definitely want to include yours in your resume. However, don't overestimate the importance of the section. Unless you went to an Ivy league school, HR isn't going to spend more than a few seconds on this.

3. Resume Templates

Using a Word template that is publicly available and that has been downloaded by thousands of people is not going to make your resume stand out.

4. Objective

You can omit this altogether. Also, unless you are recognizable in a few industries such as marketing and design, calling it a 'Branding Statement' doesn't make it anything other than an objective.

5. Writing in the First Person

This can make resumes awkward to read. It is almost always better to stick to the third person.

6. Sending an Infographic Instead of a Resume

Linking to an infographic in your resume, on the other hand, is great.

7. Linking to Irrelevant Social Media Websites

HR loves to click on links when they lead to websites that represent you as a professional. They don't need to see your 'friends and family' account.

8. Overblown Titles

If the title you put on your resume doesn't match the duties you performed, HR will note that. If you've lied about a title altogether, HR will find out when they do their initial background screening.

9. Irrelevant Work Experience

If you are pursuing an entry level position, by all means include whatever work and volunteer experience that you have. If you have a few years experience, on the other hand, leave off the job you had in high school bagging groceries.

10. Dubious Awards

If you are going to include this in your resume, stick to awards that are directly related to the industry that you are in, educational awards, and community service awards.

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