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2007 Employer Resume Survey of ALL Employers-March-2007

This survey includes questions related to resumes and employers from all industry categories were surveyed. The results are as follows:


  • 1230 Employers Surveyed
  • Received 128 Responses-10.4% Response Rate (very low indicating a weak employer database)
  • Online survey utilized
  • Emailed employers via eRecruiting and gave them a web-link for the survey
  • Click here for a pdf file of this report

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Question 1-What sample resume do you like the best? (121 responses)
A. Professional and Developmental-90 employers 74.3%
B. Skills Based-16 employers -13.2%
C. Related Experience -15 employers -12.3%

Question 2-Do you like to see "academic classes" or "relevant coursework" listed on a resume? (125 responses)
A. No-59 employers-47.2%
B. Yes-66 employers-52.8%

Question 3-Do you prefer to see the category "computer skills" on a student resume? (126 responses)
A. Yes-88 employers-69.8%
B. No-38 employers-30.1%

Question 4-Do you find it helpful when student/applicants place a "summary" or "profile of skills" at the beginning of a resume? (123 responses)
A. Yes-57 employers-46.3%
B. No-66 employers-53.6%

Question 5-If you are a healthcare organization, do you like to see a complete description of a student's clinical experience or would you rather see a short listing of their clinical experience? (114 responses)- (21 healthcare responses-percent based on this #)
A. Complete description of clinical experience-6 employers-28.5% of healthcare responses
B. Short listing of clinical experience-15 employers-71.4% of healthcare responses
C. Not applicable-93 employers-81.5% of total responses

Question 6-Do you like to see keywords-buzzwords used in a resume? (122 responses)
A. Yes-41 employers-33.6%
B. No-81 employers-66.3%

Question 7-Do you find the use of an "Objective" helpful on a resume? (123 responses)
A. Yes-88 employers-71.5%
B. No-35 employers-28.4%

Question 8-What are some of the most common mistakes you encounter on a resume? (126 responses-in order of occurrence)
Grammatical/spelling errors: 75/126= 59.5%
● Applicant did not thoroughly proof-read: 60/126= 47.6%
● Too much wording: 25/126= 19.8%
● Not changing the objective to be job specific: 20/126= 15.8%
● Students are not as cautious about formatting of a resume,
(This shows an attention to detail that's important in our business): 25/126= 19.8%
● Gaps in experience unexplained: 18/126= 14.3%
● Too much information: 16/126= 12.7%
(Scale it down to the most important items and you can elaborate in the interview)
● Resume that is not geared toward the position that the individual is applying for/using the same cover letter for every resume they send out: 15/126= 11.9%
● Incorrect Dates: 15/126= 11.9%
● Students do not list GPA or put education in the resume: 5/126= 3.9%
● Realistic salary range: 5/126= 3.9%
● Not putting accomplishments within job held: 4/126= 3.17%
● Format of the resume- Past/Present tense: 3/126= 2.38%
● Spelling in email sent with resume: 2/126= 1.59%
● Wrong phone numbers and addresses: 2/126= 1.59%
● Inappropriate email addresses! (Ex. cuddlekisses@hotmail): 2/126= 1.59%
● Two page resumes: 2/126= 1.59%
● Student doesn't list graduation date or major: 2/126= 1.59%
● Do not put your picture or use color: 1/126= .7 %
● Do not including dates of employment or using a full year (ex. 2000-2001) instead of months and year (ex. Jan. 2000-Dec. 2001): 1/126= .7%
● Failure to provide full work history: 1/126= .7%
● Not communicating how candidate will positively impact new organization
(should be in place of a generic objective statement): 1/126= .7%
● Resumes that are not unique: 1/126= .7%
● Overselling yourself: 1/126= .7%
● Boring resumes: 1/126= .7%
● "Often students put far too much personal information in a resume. It is good to know personal activities and achievements...but information about their "personality" is best left to their MySpace pages. Personal qualities will emerge during the interview process-- the resume is to get a professional foot in the door." 1/126= .7%
● "Not enough detail. I hire teachers so I want to know the grade level/subject area they are seeking to teach and I want to know about their student teaching and/or prior teaching experience in terms of grade level, whether the coursework was advanced or special education or regular ed, the number of students in the class, whether the person had primary instructional responsibility, etc." 1/126= .7%

Question 9-What is the ONE thing you look for in a resume?
Responses  /126 responses
• Experience 20 15.9%
• Education (Degree) 15 11.9%
• Skills 7 5%
• GPA 6 4.8 %
• Accomplishments 5 4.0%
• Extracurricular activities 5 4.0%
• Gaps between jobs/school 5 4.0%
• Internships held 4 3.17%
• Neat and easy to read 4 3.17%
• Relate prior experience 4 3.17%
to the industry
• Relevant objective 4 3.17%
• Clear objective statement 3 2.38%
• Consistency 3 2.38%
("I look for
people that can hold a
job/commitment over a
long period of time.")
• Accuracy 2 1.59%
• Ambition: work history 2 1.59%
• Career driven 2 1.59%
• Clear communication 2 1.59%
• Credential criteria 2 1.59%
• Detailed objective that 2 1.59%
matches the position
• Detailed work history 2 1.59%
• Leadership experiences 2 1.59%
• Organization of data 2 1.59%
• Uniqueness 2 1.59%
• Activities 1 .7%
• Academic work load 1 .7%
• Applications of how 1 .7%
education was used to
better performance
• Attitude/desire 1 .7%
• Bulleted accomplishments 1 .7%
with action verbs
• Clear contact information 1 .7%
• Commitment – 1 .7%
“Is the student able to
balance school and be
involved in extra-curricular
activities at the same time?”
• Correct spelling & consistent 1 .7%
layout. "If a student can't do
this on their resume they
certainly won't do it at a job."
• Relevant Coursework 1 .7%
• Enthusiasm 1 .7%
• Evidence of a self-starter 1 .7%
• Facts - Numbers 1 .7%
• Flexibility in new grads 1 .7%
• Greatest Strength 1 .7%
• Integrity 1 .7%
• Involvement on campus 1 .7%
• Longevity at previous job 1 .7%
• Major 1 .7%
• Positive Attitude in cover letter 1 .7%
• President of a successful club 1 .7%
• Professionalism 1 .7%
• Qualifications 1 .7%
• References 1 .7%
• Results- 1 .7%
(For example-percentage of increase in sales)
• Outgoing, team player 1 .7%
• Tenure 1 .7%
• To be only 1 page long 1 .7%
• Volunteer Work 1 .7%
• Well rounded people 1 .7%

Question 10: What is your preferred way to receive resumes?
Responses /126 responses
• Email 71 employers 56.4%
• Web based system 25 employers 19.84%
• Postal Mail 24 employers 19.05%
• Hand delivered 13 employers 10.32%
• Fax 1 employer .7%

Question 11: What problems do you have with electronic resumes?
Responses /126 responses
• The format is altered 50 39.7%
• The use of web services rather than Word 15 11.9%
• Errors opening the attachment 13 10.32%
• Attachment errors (forgetting to attach) 10 7.9%
• Must be in Word Format 6 4.7%
• Software incompatibility 6 4.7%
• Template problems 5 4.0%
• Cover letter missing 4 3.17%
• Wrong file attached 4 3.17%
• Unprofessional email addresses 3 2.38%
• Incomplete data 2 1.59%
• No follow up call 2 1.59%
• Filtering systems block information 2 1.59%
• Too informal 1 .8%
• Sometimes overlooked 1 .8%
• Applicants don’t follow up with phone call 1 .8%
• Grammar and spelling mistakes 1 .8%
• Sending a generic resume 1 .8%
• to multiple employers
• Should include contact info in email 1 .8%
• in case problem occurs with attachment
• Forgetting to attach the application 1 .8%
• Applicants assume they can be 1 .8%
• sloppy in email
• No interaction 1 .8%
• Fancy fonts become messed up 1 .8%
• Comment: "If I receive a resume without a cover letter, phone call or other personal communication I don't even read the resume."

Question 12: Do you prefer “References Available Upon Request’ listed at the bottom of the resume or a separate “Reference Page?”
Responses /126 responses
• Separate reference page 56 44.4%
• Ref. Available upon request at bottom of page 51 40.5%
• Other 16 12.7%
• Comment: “I DO NOT like to see References on Request on a bottom of a resume it is a page filler or space waster as far as I am concerned. A separate reference page should be available for employers who make an offer only.”

Question 13: What kind of resume-application system do you have?
Responses /126 responses
• Standard Filing System-Paper-based 63 50%
• Web based 39 31%
• Personal Database (created by IT dept.) 20 15.9%

Question 14: If you are an educational organization, do you utilize Credential Files from College Career Centers?
Responses /20 responses
• Yes 12 60%
• No 8 40%
• Not Applicable 93 73.8% of total

Question 15-Comments, Questions and Suggestions:
For students who do not have any relevant work experience I would recommend putting either a summary or profile in the beginning.

Anything a student puts on a resume should be something they are able to talk about.

I spend about 2 or 3 minutes looking at resumes, but I rely more on the interview. We all know that you're only going to tell us great things on the resume and come up with creative ways to say that you are great with customers and that you have managed people. We also know that you're only going to put references on there that are going to say great things about you or worst case, neutral. The biggest things I look for from our interviews are if the student has a plan. Where do they want to be in 3 years, 5 years, and 10 years? Are they looking for a job or a career? I also ask what they know about my business already, and you'd be surprised to hear how many don't know anything. So basically they are applying to work for a company that they don't really know anything about and I'm suppose to hire them to represent me. The ones I normally hire are the ones that show up early, are prepared with knowledge about my company, and can hold a conversation with me.

If you want more details or any more information please feel free to contact me. I also think it's a great idea to ask area businesses about resumes and what we look for.

We are moving towards a much more user friendly 'front end' to our careers portal. Candidates will soon be able to 'test drive' our available positions based on their career goals and experiences. Coming soon..............!

We are accepting increasing numbers of applications/resumes electronically.

Most resumes read alike. To stand out a resume must have specifics about what that candidate has accomplished. e.g. Obtained a 3.8 GPA in my core curriculum classes. A better statement would be, "Earned an A in Business Management by Contrasting Generation X behaviors and corporate needs". However, if you put a statement like this on your resume you should be prepared to answer questions about the topic in an interview.

When you clicked on sample resumes to review, you lost all name, etc. information previously keyed in when you clicked BACK.

Internships show employers that the student is setting him/herself up for success.

Applicants should research application procedures to meet requirements of potential employers.

Upon receipt of a resume, I am impressed and influenced by the applicants that call me as a follow-up to their resume. It shows sincere interest, efficiency and thoroughness.

I posted a job with you and the quality of applications received was VERY LOW. The idea of a graduating student sitting at a computer and mass emailing their resume with no personal touch turns me off. I was hiring for a marketing position and not one applicant attempted to "market" themselves. If they want to get a job they need to work for it. Send a resume in the mail with a personal, signed cover letter.

Follow-up the resume with a phone call. Not this web-based system you use. Feel free to call me with any questions.

As a candidate gains real life experience, if there is a gap in employment, it is essential the candidate makes a note on their resume of the reason for the gap or talk about it in the cover letter. Cover letters are also nice ways to make an introduction and express an interest in the company and the position. Candidates should ALWAYS find out about the company they are interested in and include something in the cover letter. It tells the recruiter the candidate has done some research.

I would say that 95% of the resumes I received from the last job fair were very well written with limited spelling errors. They really took the time in preparing for that job fair

A better comparison of the resume samples could be done if the resume was for the same applicant but presented in a different format

We do accept references from college placement credential files, but the student/applicant has to arrange for them to be sent to us.

We use Career Builder. I save responses in a file in my Outlook. If the resume is submitted by mail or in person and the person is not a viable candidate, they are notified in writing and their resume is retained for 6 months - then shredded.

If a student sets up an interview time the student should show up for the interview or call/email to cancel. This has been the most common problem I have noticed.

The students from Salisbury are very professional and well prepared for interviews.

Thanks for requesting the input! I see resumes of every description on a daily basis, and if this helps students and graduates better prepare for professional life after school, that's fabulous!

I don't think there is one correct or best method. It should be flexible and customized to the individual strengths & weaknesses of the student, and the position desired.

It is also beneficial for out-of- state applicants to indicate which Praxis they have taken and the score, if available. Also, as regards the "Relevant Coursework" section...this is beneficial only in cases wherein the vacancy requires specific knowledge/skills e.g. Teacher of Television Production, or Teacher of Accounting.

A great way to win a interview is to put your resume on Resume Paper. Most likely The Ivory, It stands out more.

Keep resumes to no more than 1 page..have a detailed cover sheet.

Students should be encouraged to format visually appealing, clean, formatted resumes using a left or center justified heading format, their education information should be at the top of the document, they should not use a summary statement and they should have a brief, specific OBJECTIVE. They should list relevant coursework and computer skills, study abroad and any college activities and certainly should be encouraged to complete an internship in their field for experience.

Would not mind sitting down with an instructor or class showing what I look for and explain the importance

Graduates need to be realistic and open to salary levels and requirements.

Thank you for having us. We really enjoyed the experience!

When grads blindly send resumes when no job has been posted I don't have time to read and respond.

I think it is great you are trying to find out what employers prefer on resumes.

Attention to detail is very important; if the resume is not accurate and professional looking - I will not consider the candidate

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