The #1 Thing That Employers Are Looking For In A Resume

The #1 Thing That Employers Are Looking For In A Resume

The #1 thing an employer is looking for on your resume… Can you guess what it might be? Related: How To Create A Resume That Captures The Hearts And Minds (And Job Offers) Of Employers A title that matches the position they need? A certain school? Perhaps their alma mater? The name of an impressive past employer? Wrong. Wrong. And wrong. Sorry. The most important thing an employer is looking for on your resume, whether they're the recruiter or the hiring manager, is... ROI. More specifically, return on investment. No matter what industry you're in, or where your expertise lies, every hire is an investment of time and money. Every employer wants to see a return on that investment and they want it to far exceed the amount invested. If you think this only applies to hiring sales people or executives, think again. Every position brings value to the company that can be measured monetarily. How else would they be able to determine your salary or justify you on the books? To make sure you show ROI on your resume, you have to understand the bottom line returns the employer is seeking for the posted position.

How Do I Affect The Bottom Line?

It's easy to see how sales positions affect the bottom line simply because that role is to literally bring money in to the company. But every position plays a role in generating revenue. For example: A Facilities Admin keeps track of utility bills, orders supplies, and sends bills to Accounting. Accounting pays the bills, the electricity stays on, and the office supplies get delivered to employees. Having electricity and supplies enables those employees to do their work. That work includes sales, distribution, fulfillment, consulting, and all the other functions that actually bring cash into the company. So, the admin's work is necessary for the company to have revenue.

How Do I Show ROI On My Resume?

Most often an employer is filling a position in order to solve a problem, make money, save money, and/or increase efficiency. Making sure you can show your value in that area requires a few steps:
  1. Understand the job description
  2. Research the company
  3. Identify the “pain point" the position needs to address
  4. Create a compelling case that you solve that pain point.

Understand The Job Description

Reading the job description carefully is key to presenting yourself effectively. Not every job description is created equal. Beyond the basic requirements, look for clues as to what the underlying need might be. Do they ask for expertise in specific systems? Chances are they've invested in an enterprise system but don't have the right people to manage it. Does the description highlight a specific ability? They may want to grow their business in that area. Understanding the job description goes beyond seeing the basics. Look for clues that identify the real need.

Research The Company

You know you need to research a company when preparing for an interview, but you should actually research before you submit a resume. Questions you should be able to answer include:
  • What does the company do?
  • What industries do they serve?
  • Are they subject to government regulations, and if so which ones?
  • How large is the company? How many offices, employees, and/or customers do they have?

Identify The “Pain Point" The Position Needs To Address

A “pain point" is a buzzword in marketing used to describe finding your customer's pain or the problem they need to solve. Your resume is essentially a marketing document, so understanding the pain point makes sense. Look at the job description and your company research. Think about what you know about the job and the industry, and try to figure out what the real problem is that needs a solution. What is the thing that the hiring manager will tell the boss that they'll get with this hire? And don't cheat and say, “We need to replace Bob." Figure out what problems “Bob" was responsible for solving. What are the reasons for re-filling that position after Bob leaves?

Create A Compelling Case That You Can Satisfy That Need

Use what you've learned to understand what the job description requires and what the company's true pain point is. To get attention and win you the interview, your resume must make the persuasive and compelling case that you can solve the problem and produce an ROI that is higher than your competitors for the same position. Update your resume with quantified accomplishments, action-verb descriptions, and clear and relevant experience. Create powerful number-backed examples of how you've satisfied the need in your past experience and produced results for past employers. And show me that ROI. Do you need help transforming your resume to showcase accomplishments with numbers and create a stronger ROI case? I have been writing resumes professionally for 20 years and can help!

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About the author

Michelle Dumas founded Distinctive Career Services, LLC (formerly Distinctive Documents) in 1996, one of the Internet's longest-standing resume writing, personal branding, and career marketing firms. As one of only a handful of multiple certified professional resume writers, including the prestigious NCRW, CPRW, CPBS, CEIP, and JCTC credentials, Michelle is widely respected as an authority in the resume writing and employment services industries. Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert.
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