I’m a retired engineering manager turned Mentor Coach for engineers, and I also lead the Engineer in Transition Network Group. One of the ways I help engineers in their job search is looking at their resume from a hiring managers point of view. While everyone is different, there are several recurring themes that jump out.
- I can’t tell what job they are looking for
- The resume is written for the jobs they had, not the job they want
- Making a resume that would get them “a” job, not “the” job
I can’t tell what job they are looking for.
This is a huge problem. There are many articles/blogs that talk about how little time people spend looking at resumes – it is absolutely true!! The section right below your contact information should be very clear – what job do you want, what you bring to the table, and why you are uniquely qualified. This section needs to grab my attention, make me want to read further. If that first section is just a bland, generic statement that could apply to anyone, I likely won’t go much further – at best a glance down.
The resume is written for the jobs they had, not the job they want.
This is especially challenging for engineers! It is so tempting to list out our job duties and be done with it. Resist the urge! What I really want to know is not just what you did, but how is it significant to the job you are applying for, what results you achieved, and how you stood out. Please do not make me figure out how your past job will apply to the one I am posting for – I don’t want to work that hard!
Making a resume that would get them “a” job, not “the” job.
So many times, I’ve talked to people that tell me that they set up their resume to, in their minds, be more likely to land them “a” job. When we get down to what the job is that they really want, their resume takes a different shape, a different tone, and the enthusiasm just jumps off the page. That is what hiring managers want – someone who will come in with drive and enthusiasm for their work, not just to come in and do a job. Making your resume about the job you REALLY want will get you to your goal much, much faster.