Resume Optimization: Think Like A Hiring Manager

    April 11, 2003

I have a couple questions for you. I have never had a problem getting a job I have applied for IF I get an interview! I interview very well and (without sounding like I have an ego problem), I am also a very hard worker with the skills, competency and drive to do my job. The problem I always have is getting the interview! I usually have to send out so many resume’s before I even get one single one!

I have had to assist in hiring employees in the past so I know that it can be a tedious job reading resume after resume and that’s why I try to do my best in coming up with a creative cover letter, but it still doesn’t seem to do the trick. So what is a hiring manager looking for in a resume and what are some things that I can add to make mine stand out above the rest? Any advice would be great! Thanks!


PS. I’m a Web Designer in case you needed to know!

Hello Jill,

There are many possible scenarios to explain your lack of interview success — in terms of your actual documents (resume and letter) and strategies implemented for generating interviews.

What resume formats are you using — web, MS Word, ASCII, etc.? Are you a near perfect/perfect match for the advertised positions — or are you under- or over-qualified for the positions? Are you including all the skills, keywords, etc. to show that you are a match in meeting the requirements of the position? Do you research the company and send your resumes to the actual hiring manager?

Hiring managers want to see how you match their needs — through skills, experience, training, education, industry background, accomplishments and more. If your resume and letter address these key points in the appropriate format with relevant keywords, then your interview ratio should go up — as long as you are combining this with effective search methods. In other words, don’t concentrate on the advertised job market (it’s a no-win situation in today’s market). Include developing contacts and targeting employers of interest to get an audience with the department head that your position would report to — not human resources. Keep in mind that only 5 or so out of every 100 people will find their next job through newspaper ads, recruiters or online ads/posting.

Best wishes,
Louise Garver

Louise Garver, CMP, CPRW, JCTC, CEIP, MCDP, has assisted senior executives and management clients worldwide in all aspects of job search, interviewing and negotiations, development of resume and marketing letters, career transition and career management since 1985. President of Career Directions, LLC, she is an award-winning, published and certified career coach, professional resume writer, outplacement consultant and former corporate recruiter. For help in winning the career your deserve, visit

Louise Garver Answers Career Questions: Click Here For Free Answers