Microsoft's head of recruiting on her No. 1 resume red flag: ‘We’re not looking for know-it-alls’
Your resume is often the first impression you will make with a hiring manager – and with the average employer spending just six seconds reading a resume, it's important to put your best foot forward.
Lauren Gardner, the head of global talent acquisition at Microsoft, has reviewed thousands of resumes throughout her 31 years working for the tech giant.
When Gardner is assessing a potential hire, there's one "red flag" that she always looks for: Candidates who are "singular in terms of their experiences."
Your resume should demonstrate a willingness to learn or take professional risks, "even if you've held the same job throughout your career," Gardner tells CNBC Make It.
Hiring managers don't want to see a "resume of perfection," she adds. "We're looking for folks that are motivated to constantly learn and grow," she says. "We're not looking for know-it-alls, we're looking for learn-it-alls."
Even if you've held the same job title – or stayed at the same company – throughout your career, it's important to show that you're always looking to develop new skills, and what new strengths, or lessons, you've taken away from your experiences.
You might have similar responsibilities from job to job, but you should be volunteering to lead new projects, taking advantage of working with different teams or even getting involved in an employee resource group, for example, Gardner says. It's helpful to include specific keywords like "growth" or "learning," she adds, when describing work experiences on your resume to draw a hiring manager's eye to them.
There's another "green flag" Gardner looks out for in a candidate's resume in addition to demonstrating a growth mindset: an "interests" section. This can include a short sentence about your values, a bulleted list of hobbies or five words that describe yourself, to name a few examples.
"We are hiring the whole person, so we are truly looking for people who have interests outside of their immediate role as a student or an employee," she says. "That's really important to us – at Microsoft, we're looking for people who not only bring a set of skills and experiences, but show us what they bring to the table as human beings … people who tell us how they can make a positive impact here and add to our culture."
3 crucial questions to ask yourself before jumping into a job search
10 skills you need to land a top job in 2022, according to Glassdoor
When Kevin O'Leary sees this resume red flag, 'I simply put it into the garbage'
Sign up now: Get smarter about your money and career with our weekly newsletter