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You've just spent the last forty-five minutes answering questions from a hiring manager. You gave it all you had. You think you did okay. The hiring manager seemed to smile and nod a lot when you were speaking. Then, suddenly, she asks, "Do you have any questions for me?" While you initial instinct might be to quit while you are ahead and say, "No. I'm good," the right thing to do is ask a set of strategic questions designed help you stand out and get the job. [Pssst. Be sure to read all the way to the bottom, I have a special offer for those who do so.]

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Your quality resume opened the door, but it’s only the first step in securing that dream job. RELATED: Need some job search advice? Watch these tutorials! Today’s HR departments have a burgeoning array of tools to assist them in the candidate-selection process. They’re crunching data on psychometrics, IQ, EQ, physical appearance and aptitude to uncover the evidence to support a merger with Brand You. Your mission is to present a persuasive performance that exposes – if not the real you – the ideal candidate for the job. It means being able to articulate how your qualifications and experience, your vocational goals, and even non-work-related activities align with the organization’s strategic focus. Google assesses, among other things, “Googlyness”: “Your comfort with ambiguity, your bias to action and your collaborative nature.” At Kraft, being an ardent fan of macaroni and cheese won’t sway the selection panel unless you’ve also got sound people-development experience, listening skills, and mental agility. But although the rules of the game may vary, most organizations focus on some key factors. Here are three things HR looks for in an employee:

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An overwhelming majority of recruiters and HR professionals invest less than two minutes reviewing a candidate’s resume, according to a survey CareerBuilder recently completed. Related: 7 Ways Your Resume Is Boring Just Like Everyone Else’s Additionally, almost 20% of the HR professionals surveyed stated that they invest 30 seconds or less. Talk about a shrinking window of time to capture the employer’s attention! So, what’s a job seeker to do?

1. Make It Newsworthy

The hiring manager will invest most of their 30-second to 2-minute scan of your resume at the top, so it’s imperative that you put the most noteworthy content first. Furthermore, don’t be vague! Use significant metrics, accomplishments, and successes—and be specific. As you continue writing the resume you can go into greater detail under each individual place of employment.

2. Write For All Of Your Audiences

Resumes have two audiences: the applicant tracking software (ATS) scanning the resume for keywords, and the HR person reviewing the resume to ensure it’s a match. It needs to include the keywords ATS will be looking for when it scans your resume, but it also needs the right action verbs, accomplishments, and relevant achievements to win over the HR person. For a list of the best-ranked terms HR is looking for on your resume, check out this list.

3. Be Honest

Instances of job hopping, employment gaps, and long-term unemployment can be immediate deterrents for employers. Instead, focus on the benefits an employer receives by choosing you over someone else with similar experience. For example, your unique subject matter expertise, verifiable successes (be specific here), and unmatched experience are all great tools to substantiate your candidacy. Leverage them on your resume! Don’t hesitate to address challenges in your cover letter. Recruiters appreciate honesty and directness. If you’ve taken two years off to care for an ailing family member, there’s no shame in it; and it shows you know how to prioritize and put others first—desirable qualities in any great employee.

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Rather trust an expert with your resume development? You can find out more about our 99+% interview-winning success rate and more here. Want to read more articles like this one? Check out 3 Secrets to Interview-Winning Cover Letters PS. I’d love to meet you on Twitter here. This post was originally published at an earlier date.

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About the author

Jessica Holbrook Hernandez, CEO of Great Resumes Fast is an expert resume writer, career and personal branding strategist, author, and presenter. Want to work with the best resume writer? If you would like us to personally work on your resume, cover letter, or LinkedIn profile—and dramatically improve their response rates—then check out our professional and executive resume writing services at GreatResumesFast.com or contact us for more information if you have any questions. Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here. Photo Credit: Shutterstock