Have you ever considered what a hiring manager or an HR representative is really looking for when trawling through and screening hundreds of resumes daily? It will be a combination of things but some of them recur for every position they recruit for. It’s easy to miss the basics so here is a list of the top 10 traits that will get you on the radar of the reader.
1. Communication Skills
Communication skills are hugely important for anyone dealing with people on a daily basis. Speaking to IT guys can be drastically different to speaking with HR. Your ability to communicate is the number one factor for you career progression so you need to show initiative here. Example: “I joined Toastmasters 2 years ago and I am currently working towards my advanced speaker certification”.
This means openness to new ideas, new processes, new people and so on. As corporations are ever changing entities, your ability to change with it is crucial. You will have to demonstrate how you adapted in the past and how you can do it again. Example: “I tested the new email system quickly learned how to use it, then helped to roll it out across the business and taught it to others across the company”
This is your ability to engage in non-linear thinking or thinking outside the box to use a nice cliché. An employer needs people that not only point out what is wrong in a process for instance, but can also come up with a better way of doing things. Example: “I spotted an opportunity and developed a new order process and reduced lead times by 20% across my department”.
4. Cultural Experience
Denotes what experiences you have had with people from other countries and cultures. You will want to include any language you speak, any time you have spent in a foreign country, any connections you have abroad etc. This can come in handy when a company needs to deal with and even negotiate with international partners. Example: “I lived in Germany for 2 years and speak fluent business German”.
Everyone wants a force of positivity on their team. It’s difficult to include this on a resume but you can do your best by using upbeat language and dropping hints of what a happy camper you are in the office. Example: "Working with this team was a fantastic experience, I still keep in touch with all of the great members and I am glad they have all got promoted and wish them all the best".
This is your chance to show how you get involved in the corporate culture and really try to live and breathe what your company is all about. Example: “I have carefully studied the company’s vision statement and refer to it almost daily when I need guidance on daily and longer term tasks”.
This is all about what lengths you go to in order to further your career. Extra curricular activites can benefit your potential new employer. Example: “I joined the local chapter of the Chamber of Commerce Networking Group in order to build up my network of industry peers”.
You would think it should hopefully go without saying that you have the integrity required for customers and co-workers to trust and work successfully with you. In order to reiterate this point you could write what others’ experiences of you have been. Example: “When my manager needed someone trustworthy to look after the new office, she picked me out of 8 internal candidates”.
9. Team Spirit
We can assume that you are a team player, everyone that works in an office is required to be or they would get the axe sooner than a Frenchman can spell esprit de corps. Team spirit is more than simply playing, it’s actually taking the initiative and activating a group of people and creating closer bonds. Example: “I organized a paintball day out for junior staffers and the top executives, in order to create a sense of belonging for the newbies”.
10. Community Service
Everyone claims to have a big heart but only a few can actually quantify what their charitable accomplishments are. This is about you making a difference and being able to tell the world how you did it. Example “I organized a muffin bake off in my team and we raised over $2,000 for the local homeless shelter”.
There we go, 10 features that you have to include somewhere on your resume. I hope this gives you some ideas and that your resume is better off with these tips. What is your experience of these 10 features on a resume? Do you think they help and if so why or why not? Feel free to share your experience in the comments.