Your resume or CV is the first part of you that potential employers get to see. It’s the first opportunity you have to sell yourself, your skills, and your experience, and make a good impression.

Because of this, it’s vital that your CV is the best that it possibly can be.

Of course, this means improving structure, grammar, and overall readability. But it also means doing what you can to stand out from the crowd and get noticed.

With that in mind, here’s what hiring managers are looking for in your resume.

What Hiring Managers Are Looking For

Your resume will determine whether your application will secure an interview invitation. So it’s understandable that the process of writing one can cause anxiety.

You might be hands-down the best candidate for the position, but the hiring managers will only know that from what your resume says about you. 

While expectations will vary from employer to employer, there are certain things recruitment managers will almost always give the greatest attention to when weighing a resume.

1. Readability

While this has nothing to do with your credentials, the readability of your resume does affect how recruitment managers perceive your application.

Your resume should be in a legible, reasonably-sized font. Potential employers mustn’t feel they need reading glasses because the font is tiny. Keep formatting consistent—don’t use different fonts or colors for different sections.

The resume should make the most of white spaces and sub-headings, so the different sections are distinguishable. It must have a logical, intuitive flow where the section and content that comes next is almost predictable.

2. Skimmability

Think about an open position that has attracted 200 applications.

If the recruitment team spent five minutes reading each resume, they’d require 1,000 minutes or nearly 17 working hours to go through the entire stack. That’d be just over two business days if done by one person.

Now consider that HR teams are processing applications for multiple positions at any given time and you can see how long it would take if they dwell too much on each resume.

This time pressure means you have just a few seconds to make an impression on the recruiter. Your resume must, therefore, be skimmable and help the reader navigate to the main points quickly.

3. Motivation

The language in your resume can demonstrate whether you are excited about the job you are applying for and motivated by life in general.

When presented with the choice of someone looking for any job versus someone who wants that particular job, hiring managers will go for the latter all other factors constant.

Morale is infectious and so is indifference. The energy each employee carries within them will eventually be disseminated to the rest of the team. 

Use words that show enthusiasm. More importantly, make it clear why you consider the job you are applying for so attractive to you.

Your explanation should center on the value and change you can bring to the company as opposed to what the employer can do for your career.

Read also: Are You Ready to Hire? (+ 6 Hiring Principles I’m Following)

4. Impact

It’s easy to list the responsibilities you’ve been assigned in your current and previous jobs. Hiring managers will likely see the same thing in countless resumes.

While knowing what you were tasked with is a valuable measure of competence, it doesn’t really speak to your going over and beyond your manager’s expectations. 

Let’s face it. Employers aren’t looking for someone who’s comfortable getting by with the bare minimum. They want an employee who is determined to leave an impact on all they do.

Quantifiable achievements would be helpful in this regard. For example, instead of mentioning you were in charge of your department’s expenditure, you’ll be better off stating that you reduced expenditure by 35% in 2 years.

Your resume will grab employers’ attention if it showcases your work, matches hiring manager expectations and articulates why you are the best person for the job.

And now, here five more ways you can build an impressive CV and improve your employability.

How to Boost Your CV

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1. Learn Another Language

Speaking a second language is always a useful skill. But considering the global society we live in and the large international trade, it can only ever boost your chances of getting your dream job.

Because of this, you should think about which language you’d like to learn and go and take classes. It’s never too late.

Japanese, Arabic, and Spanish are in particularly high demand, and, as such, you should consider studying one of these if you want an edge.

2. Do Some Travelling

Employers appreciate candidates with life experience, so you might want to do some travelling or work abroad for a while. Just be sure to do plenty of research before making this decision.

If you were planning to live in India, make sure that you apply for and learn how to update an aadhar card. This serves as ID but has many other benefits too.

This experience will show potential employers that you’re open to taking risks, so can put you ahead of the competition.

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3. Join a Club

Although it may sound a little odd, joining a club or picking up a hobby can massively boost your CV and employability.

After all, it shows off your soft skills, like leadership, good communication, teamwork capability, and drive.

It also shows that you’re willing to take on extra work and responsibilities and that you can manage your time well. All of these things, of course, are incredibly appealing to potential employers.

4. Gain Extra Qualifications

Gaining extra qualifications and certifications is a great way to put you ahead of other candidates, especially of those qualifications are particularly useful to the job that you’re applying for.

For example, if you were interviewing for a role in the IT industry, then taking a course in something computer-related would be of great help.

There are hundreds of online classes you can choose from, so do some research and find one that would be useful to you.

5. Complete Volunteer Work

Volunteer work, paid or not, is incredibly helpful for your employability.

After all, it gives you the opportunity to gain valuable experience in fields close to the position you’re applying for.

This shows employers that you’re willing to learn, but that you also have more skills and a much deeper knowledge than other candidates you’re competing against.

This should give you an edge, enriching your CV, and improving your employability.

Your CV is the first things potential employers see, so make a great first impression and do what you can to enrich and improve it.