The sad truth is that different employers want different things and it depends on a lot of factors. Wow what a non-answer. Well it is the truth. What employers want is as difficult a question to answer as what employees want to stay with a company. It depends on the employee. There are however a number of things that you can do as a candidate to put yourself in the best position possible to be successful in getting a position.
What Employers Want in a Resume – Your Resume Story
The first truth about employers is that employers want a resume that is easy to read and tells a story that makes sense. Depending on the marketplace and the economy, employers will get anywhere from dozens to hundreds or thousands of resumes submitted for a position. Your resume needs to stand out from the rest and tell a story. That story should be easily understood and clearly laid out on the resume.
What do I mean by a resume story? Simple, your resume tells an employer about what type of employee you are and it tells a story about what kind of employee you will be. Good or bad it is a story. Here are a couple of examples. If you have a resume that shows continual expansion of responsibility and a chronological growth in skills, the employer will view that as a person who seeks challenges and has career ambitions. That is great for a growth position or a company that seeks individuals who have ambition. For a company that wants someone to do their job and not make much noise, that person would be disruptive. Even if they have the perfect skill set.
Another example, might be a resume where the person has worked for 20+ years as a skilled tradesman and only been with 2 companies through that period of time. This means the person is probably skilled at their trade, shows up on time and generally is a valued employee. That is great for some types of positions but not others.
In today’s technology driven marketplace, automation has taken hold of the resume sorting business. Recruiters and hiring managers us keywords to seek out candidates for positions. Often they are not that creative in searching out good candidates.
Example, your current title at your company is a supervisor. You are trying to apply for a position at another company where it is called a department manager. A recruiter is probably going to do a keyword search for department manager or just manager. Your resume may get missed if you don’t have the keywords in your resume.
Solution? Make sure your resume has a number of the correct keywords from a given job description before you apply. There is a balance because you don’t want your resume to be too long and wordy so you need to tailor it to the job. Don’t lie or overstate but make sure you have a good number of the keywords from the job description.
What Employers Want in an Interview.
Again, this is a big question and there is no real answer that can best prepare you for an interview. There are a number of resources on the web that can tell you what questions you should be able to answer and how to answer them. There are interview sites that help you dress for success or create rapport with your interviewer. You can find those all over the web and some of them are also here on this site. The message I want to leave you with is the following, think of the interview from the perspective of the company and what the company needs to be successful. After all you are trying to convince them to invest in making you their newest employee.
Three Reasons for Employees
Whether you know it or not employees are expensive. A good rule of thumb is that any employee you hire will cost you about about 50% over and above the wages. These costs include, benefits, employer paid taxes, state and federally mandated workplace programs. In some places where they have wage laws, sick pay laws, mandatory health care requirements it can be much higher than 50%. This does not include the overhead costs of rent/utilities/business supplies/ etc.
What this means is, if you are a sales person being paid $50,000 a year and you make $75,000 in sales gross profit for a year, your company has probably lost money on you. In fact the average sales person needs to generate 3x their salary in sales before a company breaks even.
This lesson in business economics is so you understand what employers want from potential employees, they want to make a profit. There are basically three reasons a company needs an employee, either they make money, they save money or they improve an operation or process. Your job is to figure out how you do one or two of these and communicate in those words to your potential employer. Talk in their language