What Most Employers Want to See on Your Resume

job interview mistakes spelling errors

Sloppy work sends you directly to the NO HIRE pile

In today’s extremely competitive job market, there are many applicants for the same jobs. You are not alone!

Many hiring managers make a decision about an applicant in a matter of seconds, just by scanning your resume. In order to make it past the first step, the review of the resume, and make it to the second step of an initial interview, you need to understand what it takes to grasp the attention of prospective employers, or more specifically, what those employers want to see on your resume.

According to resume writing experts SolidEssay.com, failure to put into writing what employers are looking for could mean even if you are the most qualified candidate for a position, you may not make it to the interview phase.

Below we will provide insight as to what employers want to see on an applicant’s resume, but first lets start with a few things you absolutely, positively shouldn’t do on your resume – or else you can expect a quick trip to the “No” pile.

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What Not to do on a Resume

  • Do not add fluff words, or common, cliché phrases unless you can really back it up with proof. For example, do not add the phrase “strong leadership skills”, unless later in your resume you can prove those strong leadership skills through achievements such as: “served as the lead of a team of 20 to complete a project ahead of schedule and under budget”.
  • Do not embellish your accomplishments or take credit for the work of an entire team. Remember that the resume is just a way to get your foot in the door. The prospective employer is going to follow-up beyond just the resume. Embellishing your skills and talents will come back to haunt you later in the hiring process, as the prospective employers will ultimately validate the items that you have listed on your resume.

There are other mistakes your should avoid, but those are two of the most common we see, and the most frustrating for hiring managers.

Now let’s move on to the must have’s.

Contact Information

While this may seem to be an obvious thing for you to add to your resume, it is absolutely necessary that your contact information is recent and up to date. If you can’t get this right, no employer will trust you to become part of their business. Before you dismiss this as rudimentary advice, I can tell you at least 10% of applicants make this mistake.

I once had a prospective TV reporter misspell their own name on their demo reel, as you can probably conclude, they didn’t get hired.

Any email address added to your resume should be checked on a regular basis, and always remember to include links to your social media sites, such as LinkedIn, which allows the employer to really feel comfortable with you as a person and candidate.

Bonus Tip: Make sure you keep your social profiles looking good, you will be researched by employers.

Summary Section

Research has shown that many hiring managers make decisions about potential employees in just a matter of seconds based on the appearance, quality, and content of their resume. It is for this reason that many experts suggest beginning your resume with a summary section.

The summary section should be an attention getter for the hiring managers. This summary should be tailored and focused to reflect how you have skills that fit the particular employer’s needs.

This summary section can be scripted in a few ways.

If you are a recent college graduate with relatively little work experience, it is recommended that a more substantial summary section be the strong opening of your resume. Include your list of particular skills and attributes that match the skillset that the employer is looking for.

If you have been in the same career for 15 or 20 years, a bullet statement summary touching on the highlights of your talent and accomplishments will be sufficient in the summary section.

Work Summary

Prospective employers want to know the potential employee’s work experience. This work experience should be in reverse chronological order.

Major accomplishments and skillsets that match what the job description should be focused on when providing a work summary. If you have been with the same employer for a substantial period of time, it is not necessary to list all employers that you have worked for, unless those employers have skillsets that match the prospective employee’s hiring criteria.

Bonus Tip: Use actual measurable criteria when describing accomplishments rather than word fluff. Actual success data and metrics are more convincing than power words.

No one else can explain to an employer why you should be hired. Sell Yourself! Click To Tweet


Education should be listed with the highest earned degree listed first, and each subsequent degree listed in reverse chronological order, based on the highest earned degree. High school graduation should not be included on the resume unless that is the highest education level accomplished. Educational affiliations should be included on the resume.

For those graduates who graduated with a non-technical degree, they should include their GPA on their resume if it is over 3.5, but they should include what scale it is on; for example, a 3.7 GPA on a 4.0 scale.

For those graduates with a technical degree, they should include their resume if it is over 3.2. Again, these students should include what scale it is on, a 3.2 on a 4.0 scale. 

entertainment job search

Seriously, do people sit like this when interviewing?

Volunteer Work and Other Relevant Activity

Many applicants are coming straight out of college, or have not been a part of the workforce due to issues such as rearing children, an illness, or other reasons for being out of the workforce for an extended period of time, this time is not considered lost time in terms of gained talents and skills.

For many people, the skills that they learn volunteering could be exactly what a prospective employer is looking for. For that reason, it is necessary that those candidates with little work experience or those who have been out of the workforce for a significant period of time list the skills and life lessons that they experienced and translate those skills and life lessons into tangible skills that prospective employers could use.

Today’s job market is not what it was in the past.

To achieve employment success you have to be cutting edge, forward thinking, multi-tasking, outside the box thinkers. It is your job to sell yourself, no one else knows your skills, attributes and advantages better than you do. A properly constructed resume is the first step of making a lasting impression.

Author bio: At SolidEssay.com Ben teaches students how to write resumes and different types of essays. One of his recent articles is on how to write a high school resume.

About Brian Clapp

Brian Clapp has worked in the broadcast media for over 14 years as a writer, editor, producer & news director. After beginning his career in Atlanta at CNN/Sports Illustrated, he switched coasts to Seattle to work at Fox Sports Northwest. In 2010, Brian began pursuing a new found passion on the digital media side, launching a successful website and then taking on the role of Director of Content for WorkinSports.com & WorkinEntertainment.com.

Recently Brian has become addicted to Google+ and LinkedIn so add him to your circles and make him a contact. No seriously, you should.



  2. What I do not understand is how hiring managers need things that should not even exist. As an owner co-owner, one of the first PD’s at Xm radio 2001-2009 and also an owner/GM/hiring manager at a station I co-owned from 1989-1997 and made it number one in the Binghamton, NY market. My next phase is to create the right eclectic internet channel and since I was never laid off from any radio company from which I worked (except Sirius radio who laid off the best XM PDs) time for me to pick up and continue in my quest for excellence this time on Internet radio. Hired as a newscaster then from news to music at FM 107 (morphing to Rock 107) continuing on subsequent Rock stations settling in at WKGB-FM where I applied to build an FM station and made it number one 1989-1997 only to apply as one of the first PDs at XM Satellite Radio and sell myself as an eclectic PD 2001-2009 only to begin an production house at Smithsounds Production 2009-Present. Next up a wonderful eclectic and unique radio channel soon to debut! Ben

  3. My son David graduated with electronic media and broadcast degree And lacks one class for degree in graphic art from Zfreed Hardeman in tennessee about 2 years ago. He is living in Nashville now and can’t get hired n his field. He want to work for a television station. He did his internship on the commercial side in Jackson Tenneessee. This is his dream so what would he need to do? There are a lot of people there looking at the same jobs.
    Thanks from a concerned Mom

    • My suggestion Becky is for him to find out what the stations really want as far as skills go – are they looking for people with editing skills? Audio skills? camera work? You can find this out by studying job descriptions on our site. Then he can match up what skills he has, with what stations want…if he finds out everyone wants non-linear editing skills and he doesn’t have those, well, it’s time to get them! (you can learn online for example) -Hope this helps, Brian

  4. I am a successful hairstylist and makeup artist for a little over 18 years now and I have done a lot of wardrobe and body type face shape, color analysis for hair, skin and eye color consulting over the years and many freelance jobs on the side for wedding and events etc. but I want to be behind the scenes of television, movies and music production for hair, makeup and wardrobe for the actors and musicians and would like to know if there are any types of positions on this site to find a job for something like that and if so where should I look and if not do you have any suggestions to what direction I could go to find something like that for my field of work?
    Thanks for any advice you may could give.


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