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3 Things Employers Want to See on Your Resume

By Mark Wilson, Esq. | Last updated on

Now that you know what employers don't want to see on your resume, the question is: what do they want to see? (Advice framed in the negative is useful, but so is positive advice.)

When preparing your resume, make sure that your resume includes all of these elements. And remember: Your resume doesn't get you a job; it gets you an interview. You don't need to put your entire life story into your resume.

Correct Mechanics

There's a reason why HR representatives and everyone else on the Internet giving career advice harps on spelling and grammar. It's because people don't listen. Everyone submitting a resume is on notice that the resume is supposed to be a shining, perfect exemplar to a potential employer, and yet, for some reason, errors still come in.

Candidates who submit error-filled resumes are assumed to either (1) not know they shouldn't, in which case they probably aren't aware of how a professional job works; or (2) know they should, but don't care. Employers don't want people with this attitude, either, as it leads to sloppy results and wastes the employer's time.

In case there was any question: Proofread your resume. Get someone else to proof your resume. Do it again until it's perfect.

Added Value

In our last post, we discouraged candidates from just listing a bunch of job duties. (And for Pete's sake, don't summarize your job using bullet points.) Employers want to see a summary of your time at a job that reflects what you did, and if possible, how you added value to that job. Add numbers; be specific. Metrics are all the rage right now.

If you tried over a dozen cases in a short amount of time, put that down. If you attracted several high-profile clients, put that down, too. Your job isn't to passively list the kinds of skills that you'd see on a job listing for that job you had. Your job is to convince employers to hire you based on all the cool things you accomplished in your previous job.

Relevant Skills

Also in our last post, we said don't list every single contract job you've had since graduating from law school. On the other hand, do list contract jobs that are relevant to the position you're looking for now. In fact, we'll go a step further and say you should have multiple resumes for different kinds of jobs, each one tailored with skills and experiences relevant to those jobs.

So, Microsoft Word isn't a relevant skill, but your familiarity with case management software or electronic discovery software just might be.

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