Think Like an HR Manager When Reviewing Your Resume

By Martin Buckland - Executive Career Management Professional

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No resume is perfect; even I don’t profess to write perfect resumes (though I think I’ve perfected it over my 20+ years)! Why? Reviewing a resume is a very subjective process and each hiring manager has their own preferences and strategy. It also costs a company thousands of dollars to hire and train a new employee so selecting the right candidate lands squarely on the shoulders of HR. There are, however, some basic themes hiring managers look at when reviewing a plethora of incoming resumes. So put on your “HR hat” and assess your resume using the following tips.

HR Managers look for:

Readability: Use a font that can be read as easily on mobile devices as it can on a desktop PC and keep design enhancements to a minimum. Avoid inserting a picture, graphic, or text box. If your profession requires a high degree of creativity, create a blog, website or video bio and include the URL in the contact portion of your resume.

Professionalism: The quickest way to be eliminated is to send a resume that includes: your employer’s email address, a Hotmail address, or an unprofessional customized email address; grammar and spelling mistakes; references; or my favourite – no telephone number.

Keywords: This can be a combination of the hard skills acquired through education and experience in addition to the innate soft skills you possess that may help the HR Manager determine your cultural fit.

Related experience and tenure: HR Managers typically spend an initial 10 seconds or less reviewing resumes and areas they scan include your job title and length of employment at each company. They want to see industry specific career contributions, not your job tasks or duties. They also zoom to the Education section looking for related education, professional development and industry affiliations as career differentiators.

Proven accomplishments: The best resumes are those that go beyond portraying your career experience and seduce the reader with quantifiable career accomplishments – what I call the STAR stories of your career.

Resume and cover letter aligned to the job position: HR Managers can receive 50, 100, and sometimes over 1,000 resumes per available job. They have a keen eye for knowing when an applicant has applied to every job using the same resume and cover letter. Good bye!! The applicant who shows ambition by taking the time to customize their resume and cover letter to each job – proving why they are the perfect fit – is the candidate that advances within the selection process.

Think like an HR Manager and review your resume before starting your 2015 job search. Give the HR Manager a reason to invest in your candidacy.



Martin Buckland, President of Elite Resumes, is a leading resume writer, career coach and job search strategist with a global clientele. Martin currently holds the following certifications: Certified Professional Branding Strategist, Certified Professional Resume Writer, Certified Employment Interview Professional, Job and Career Transition Coach, Certified Job Search Trainer and Co-Pilot Executive Coach. Visit my website at

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