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What Are Employers Really Looking for During the Hiring Process?

Sometimes, common perceptions don’t quite tell the whole story. There are plenty of bits of “common wisdom” you’ll hear when developing a resume, like “never, ever go beyond one page” or “don’t use color in a resume.”

Today’s HR staff and recruiters have moved beyond many of these myths and are using a whole new set of criteria to evaluate job candidates. Today, it’s less about whether you used a purple header and more about whether you show you add value to an organization. So let’s debunk some myths and explore what’s really true in the hiring process today:

The Myth: “I should include every job I’ve had on my resume.”

The Truth: Some jobs don’t need to be included.

You may have been coached to include every job you’ve ever held on your resume, regardless of relevancy. However, for older jobseekers or those who have held many positions, this advice may not ring as true. You should try to include the last 10 years of your work history – anything that happened before that can be discussed during an interview or listed out briefly. If you’re a relatively new jobseeker and have some irrelevant jobs (like babysitting or after-school tutoring), consider either including them and updating your descriptions to make them more relevant to specific jobs you’re applying to, or leave them off your resume.

The Myth: “It’s okay to fib a bit or pad my resume.”

The Truth: Today’s employers are using a screening service.

You might think, “Padding my job title for a position I held five years ago isn’t so bad.” However, today’s savvy employers know that many resumes arrive padded. To verify that they’ve got accurate information, employers typically conduct background screening checks prior to employment. When it comes to your resume, honesty is the best policy.

The Myth: “I only need one resume to apply for jobs.”

The Truth: Tailoring resumes boosts your results.

In years past, one resume listing your previous positions and accomplishments might have been enough. Today, however, customized and tailored resumes have become the norm. While keyword searches in HR software are responsible for much of this change, that’s not the only reason. Tailoring a resume allows you to highlight different aspects of different positions you’ve held in the past. Plus, sending a hyper-tailored resume shows that you’ve paid attention to the job description and company culture – something that many employers like to see.

Understanding what employers are looking for can help you better understand how to tailor your resume to meet their expectations. If you’re looking for a job, make sure your resume fits the bill. Being prepared for the hiring process today means going above and beyond yesterday’s myths, and using today’s truths to guide you.

 

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