Resume Advice From Your Next Boss

What do companies look for when they read a resume? Recently, I asked that question on an online business site. Replies came from 18 hiring and department managers working in colleges, electronics companies, banks, sales, engineering, and human resources among others. Related:5 Mistakes Job Seekers Make On Their Resume Overwhelmingly (11 out of 18), they first checked the resume to make sure the skills and experience met their needs as outlined in the job description. No one wants to hire a brain surgeon without a medical degree or a chef who’s never worked in a kitchen. Often, the responders defined “experience” as number of years in the field. Does this mean you can submit a laundry list of skills and job titles and get hired? No. After that first glance, most of the people responding looked for accomplishments or achievements. Your resume has to explain what you did with your skills. How did the company benefit? Did you develop a new report, increase sales, interact well with your peers and managers, lead a team, volunteer in the community, meet deadlines, streamline a process, help make a project successful, complete a class, give a presentation, serve on a committee, receive praise from customers or earn a promotion? The way you used your skills to benefit your old company tells your new company what to expect. They know whether you’ll be a valuable addition to their team. This post was originally published on an earlier date.


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I recently worked on a pro bono project for a friend, and it reminded me of a time early in my career and how lucky I was then to get such great advice from the more seasoned pros around me. Advice that ultimately saved me from some major pitfalls. I made mistakes here and there over the course of nearly 20 years of projects, but with each hiccup came a lesson. Here are some takeaways from my lessons learned and all that sage advice.

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