Making a Good First Impression: What Does Your Resume Say About You?

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As humans, we’re wired to pursue and build relationships with other members of our species. Think of your best friend, your partner, or anyone else you’ve met—there was a time you didn’t know them and had to judge them based on your first impression. When it comes to a job search, however, you don’t have time to build a relationship with the hiring manager before they decide if you’re a good fit for their company. All you have is your resume: That’s what you have to rely on to make a first impression.

Leaving a good first impression with your resume is not only important but critical. Without a strong resume, you won’t make a good impression, and you won’t get the job. Ultimately, you can’t control what the hiring manager does, but what you can control is how you craft your resume to make the right first impression. There are never any guarantees when it comes to the job search, but leaving a good first impression puts you miles ahead of the competition. Not sure how to do that? Let our resume experts help you!

A bad first impression

You never want to leave a bad first impression as that would defeat the purpose of your resume, which is to land you an interview that will ultimately lead to a great new job. However, you may be leaving a bad first impression without even realizing it. These simple mistakes can get a lot of great applicants thrown out of the race. 

Lack of flexibility

You may have found the perfect job, one that ticks all the boxes apart from its location. You love it where you currently live, so you might apply for the job but ask for a remote position or try to negotiate an arrangement that allows you to stay where you are. This tells the hiring manager you’re not willing to be flexible and may take you out of the running entirely. 

If the job is important to you, make it clear you’re willing to relocate. In case you don’t want to move house, don’t apply. It’s fine to still apply and try your luck at negotiating a remote arrangement as long as you understand that you probably won’t get the job, but in that case, it might be better to focus your energy on another opportunity.

Lack of commitment

What if your employment history looks like a revolving door of new jobs, and you haven’t stayed in one place for more than six months? That’s a problem because employers tend to value loyalty more highly than qualifications. If your resume shows you working at four different places in the last two years, the hiring manager will question your ability to commit to their company. 

If you quit your main job and hopped from one place to another for two years, you can provide a brief description explaining the sabbatical from your main job and leave it at that. You don’t need to list every little thing. The key is to show that you’re willing to commit to the company, and a ton of short-term jobs implies the opposite. 

Lack of qualifications

Are you qualified for the position you’re applying for? As you look at a job description, consider whether it falls within your realm of expertise. It’s fine if you’re not the best-qualified person for the job, but you should at least meet most of the requirements and demonstrate that you’re willing to learn. 

Be careful not to submit your resume from a previous job application. If you keep sending out the same one, you won’t be demonstrating your suitability for that specific job. No one wants to hire an apathetic candidate who may have applied for 50 other jobs with the same resume. If you need help updating yours, reach out to a resume expert.

A good first impression

The goal of a resume is to leave a good first impression, which takes planning and effort to achieve. You don’t have the opportunity to talk to the hiring manager and answer any questions they may have about your resume, so you have to make sure it is good enough to secure you an interview. 

One way to do this is by preemptively answering any potential questions on your resume when you write it. Let’s see how you can leave a good first impression. 

Proof of strong work ethic

It’s one thing to say you’re a hard worker and another to prove it. Whether in your education section, work experience section, or professional summary, demonstrate clearly how your hard work has resulted in success. What did you accomplish in your previous jobs? What awards have you received for your academic or professional achievements? These are the results hiring managers look for on your resume. Show, don’t tell. Look for ways in which you can distinguish yourself from the crowd and prove beyond doubt the various skills you’ve listed.

Proof of constant learning

On the one hand, you want to show employers you have the knowledge to do high-quality work for them, but on the other hand, you also want them to know that you’re constantly learning. You should always be willing to learn more about your field. Show them that you’re constantly learning and growing by listing the promotions you’ve earned or the new skills you’ve acquired at a job. A hiring manager wants to see that you’re willing to take on new challenges and are always looking to improve professionally. 

Proof of professionalism

Professionalism on your resume starts with the little details, such as formatting and linguistic accuracy. Yes, it’s a big deal—don’t overlook these things. In a fiercely competitive job market, a single typo could be the deciding factor between you and another candidate. Have you taken the time to make sure your resume looks professional? 

Another mark of professionalism that may get overlooked is the email address. If you’re still using the email address you set up as a teenager, it’s time to get a new, more professional one, ideally one that has a form of your name and uses a custom or Gmail domain. 

Finally, don’t take any section of your resume lightly. Spend ample time on each one, making sure you have fully demonstrated your qualifications. Your level of professionalism on your resume tells the hiring manager how you would fit in the workplace. In this sense, there’s a lot more to your resume than the words on the page. 

Leaving a good first impression on hiring managers may be challenging when you can’t talk to them in person, but learning how to master the art of resume writing can help you land the job you desire. Don’t cut corners with your resume—that is what you have to impress your prospective employer. Want to know what kind of impression your resume leaves? Ask a resume expert today!

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