When a potential employer reads your resume, they often have a checklist of items they’re looking for. They may want to see that you have the right certifications or degree, that you have a certain number of years of experience under your belt or they may be looking for a particular set of skills. But even if you qualify on paper, the employer may still have a few lingering questions they’ll need answered before they can decide to move forward with your application.
Below, nine business leaders from Young Entrepreneur Council list a few of those questions and explain why your resume should always address them. Consider their advice to ensure your resume has the best chance of impressing your potential new boss.
1. Are you loyal?
I believe that resumes should portray a candidate’s loyalty to their previous companies. This can be portrayed by “resume tenure” or, more simply put, staying with the same company long term. When I interview candidates, I’m looking for someone who wants to become “part of our family” and become part of our company long term. The reasoning is simple: I believe that hard work and learning have a compounding effect. There is certainly a direct correlation between the length of time that a team works together and a world-class work product. – Christian River, The Ecommerce Accountants PC
2. How can your experience help the company?
One thing a resume should always address is how a candidate’s experience can benefit your company. Every job candidate should always highlight how they would be an asset to an organization. Organizational leaders should not treat resumes as pieces of history, but rather as living tools to help them assess job candidates’ skills and capabilities. A resume should present a candidate’s skills, but more importantly, it should present their fit for the role. This is why many recruiters prefer to call the candidates who can best answer this question. – Kelly Richardson, Infobrandz
3. What is your passion?
A candidate’s resume should offer some indication of their passion and of the idea that fuels them. That could be an answer like “fixing things” or “taking care of people.” It gives me a sense of the values and vision behind the piece of paper and lets me see the heart there. Salespeople might talk about a competitive edge or their love of building relationships. Once I have a sense of what drives someone, I begin to understand how that can fit into my team. It might prompt me to expand the conversation into other roles or give me a better sense of their future at my business. – Tyler Bray, TK Trailer Parts
4. Will you work to improve?
I believe every resume should cover earned certificates, like online course degrees. I find this information helpful because it shows me that the applicant is interested in growing personally and professionally. When it comes down to it, it answers the question, “Will this person actively work to improve their skills while they are with our company?” – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights
5. Can you quantify your successes?
A job candidate’s resume should always give a clear and specific statistics. In jobs where results are important, somebody who can quantify their accomplishments stands out far better than a generic application. If a resume can show how an aspiring employee improved processes or increased sales and customer engagement with specific numbers, it always catches the attention of hiring managers. Show results in figures and, if possible, have references to support your claims. Always show past success as related to the job you are applying for. This will help the hiring manager gauge your long-term feasibility and productivity regarding the specific role. – Brian David Crane, Spread Great Ideas
6. Would previous employers recommend you?
I expect applicants to include professional references on their resumes. This information answers the question, “Would previous bosses and co-workers recommend you to our company?” The key here is the word “professional.” I’ve had people try to include their siblings and partners as references. The truth is, these people are not good references. I want to hear from people who worked with you every day and know how you are as an employee. – John Turner, SeedProd LLC
7. Why are you the right fit?
We are not out there to hire the “best” candidate but the “right” candidate for a position. I want to see evidence that the candidate understands the role and knows what relevant skills of theirs will help them to succeed in that role. It shows me that the candidate is serious and has given considerable thought to the role and their skills. I always had a more meaningful interview discussion with those who had customized their resume for the role. While we did hire the “best” and the “right” candidates (supply-demand gap), the right candidates have consistently performed better in the long run. Lower attrition is also seen among this cohort. – Vinay Indresh, Spacejoy
8. Are you actually interested?
How do I know that you’re actually interested in this position? The resumes that stand out to me are the ones that are customized. If you’re sending the same template to every single employer, you don’t want to work for any of them—you just want a job, and that’s a major turnoff for most positions. Every resume should be tailored to the company you’re applying for, address the job requirements listed and demonstrate the value you’re able to add to the business. Even if a cover letter wasn’t requested, kick off your resume with a personal letter summarizing how the rest of your resume ties into the current position and what value it adds. – Karl Kangur, Above House
9. Why should we hire you?
A candidate’s resume should always answer why we should hire them. This single answer covers a lot of cardinal information that a hiring manager needs to know and tells a lot about the candidate in a more actionable way. There are many questions that a potential candidate should always pre-answer: Do they have the required skills? Do they have the required challenge-solving experience? Have they produced results for previous companies? Are they a committed, responsible team player? Can they handle high-pressure situations? These are the linchpin areas behind the right hire. As decision-makers, leaders have a responsibility to hire smartly, and the answer to “Why should we hire you?” makes a candidate easier to understand and analyze. – Candice Georgiadis, Digital Day