When job seekers step onto the market, an avalanche of advice tumbles toward them from all sides. Every well-meaning friend, family member, mentor, and internet website tends to rush forward with speculation about what hiring managers do and don't want, what they care about and what they ignore, what makes them light up, and what turns them off. But the truth doesn't usually live up to the drama, and at the end of the day, hiring managers are all human beings with unique preferences and needs that candidates can't be expected to predict.
If you're searching for work and you're presented with rumors and myths like the ones below, take them with a grain of salt and do your best to stay in control of your own destiny.
1. Managers don't review resumes: computers do.
It's true that in the age of the internet, national job boards tend to attract a larger resume pool than old fashioned classified ads. These resume submissions are sometimes funneled into a large databases, where managers use keyword searches to draw out the best matches. But this doesn't happen in every case, and it almost never happens when the resume pool falls within a few dozen applicants. Go ahead and include keywords in your resume, just in case…but know that your document will very likely be read and reviewed by human eyes.
2. Managers resent resumes and look for any excuse to toss them.
There's a familiar trope that circulates around the culture of the job search: a grumpy, irritated hiring manager forced to sift through a pile of resumes, skimming the first line of each one before hurling it into the trash. There's one major problem with this scene: It just doesn't happen. Most managers (at least the good ones), appreciate every candidate who respects the company enough to apply. They would thank each one of these applicants personally if they could. They don't resent their own candidates, and they certainly don't approach each resume with a sour face and an angry attitude. That makes no sense.
3. Managers laugh at unqualified candidates.
Like the myth above, this might happen sometimes, but not among experienced managers who care about the success of their own companies. When they come across a resume that lacks the minimum requirements for the job, they just set it aside. They don't break into cruel cackling like witches over a cauldron. In fact, most managers respect confident candidates who are willing to aim high and take risks (even if these risks don't work out).
4. Managers will knock themselves out for a candidate who fits the bill.
Sometimes—rarely—managers will get truly excited about a candidate after reading over her resume and cover letter. This usually happens when she possesses a vital and hard-to-find skill set that isn't common in the general population. But for the most part, managers take qualified candidates in stride. They won't get desperate, they won't double the salary budgeted for the position, they won't hire candidates without meeting them in person at least once, and they won't be devastated if they make an offer and their candidate says no. This happens all the time, and experienced managers know that no aspect of the hiring process is personal… It's just business. Candidates should recognize this too.
No Drama: Just Work, Success & Forward Motion
As you look for work, stay steady at the wheel and remember that if some aspect of the process seems too good, too terrible, or too dramatic be true, it probably is. Turn to MyPerfectResume for cool-headed guidance.