Are you looking for a new job? Whether you’re entering the job market for the first time or attempting to make a career change, a little research can help ensure your search is a success.

While you may think you know the qualities and attributes hiring managers seek, the truth might surprise you. Let’s take a look at some of the top factors managers consider when making that all-important decision of whom to hire.

Attention to Detail

With the greater number of job boards and one-click application processes, it’s not uncommon for hiring managers to receive hundreds of applications for the same job. One thing that helps your cover letter stand out from the pack is a meticulous attention to detail.

Job seekers often make the mistake of being too casual in their correspondence with hiring managers. Most applicants send a perfect cover letter, but many forget to double and triple check any follow-up correspondence.

Additionally, first-time applicants may use language more appropriate for text messages than professional emails. Using appropriate language shows that you’re detail-oriented and helps ensure your letter stands out for the right reasons.

If you’re fortunate enough to score an interview, make sure your professional demeanor comes across in person as well. Hiring managers are interested in how you treat everyone in the office, from the CEO to the lowliest intern. Remember that you have just one chance to make a first impression and demonstrate your exceptional people skills from day one.

Grade-A Resume

If you’ve ever applied for a job before, then you probably know how important it is to have a top-notch resume. However, you may not be familiar with the following tips and tricks to make your resume stand out.

One common mistake among applicants is not showcasing their accomplishments at various jobs. When crafting your resume, remember to specify what you achieved in a position that another employee might not have. Try to use strong verbs like “built,” “earned,” “developed” and “organized.”

Additionally, you should utilize short, informative bullet points instead of large blocks of text. Remember that hiring managers are looking to locate the salient ideas quickly without having to sift through paragraphs of information. When they are wading through tons of resumes, a flood of text will surely be passed over.


Have you ever embellished your qualifications on a resume? Telling a little white lie about your job experience may seem insignificant; however, the consequences can be severe. Remember that GPA you bumped up a few notches on your resume? The company might ask for your college transcript, then you will be caught in a white lie.

A recent Forbes article discussed the case of former Yahoo! CEO Scott Thompson, who resigned after a Google search revealed that he had lied about his education on his resume. According to the writer (who is also the CEO of her own online filing services company), “Your resume and cover letter are putting the best possible version of you forward that there can be.” Applicants should be careful not to sabotage that reputation by being dishonest.

Team Player

Are you a team player? According to a recent Houston Chronicle article, CEOs agree that being able to work with others is an essential skill for employees. As more and more companies do business on a global scale, the ability to communicate with different types of people is increasingly important.

Alexandra Levit, business and workplace consultant, says that today’s CEOs “want candidates that understand business is conducted differently in different cultures,” and that senior management candidates in particular should possess a global perspective. Highlight your study-abroad, extensive travel and any overseas business experience to give your resume a leg up and to demonstrate your interest in adapting to new cultures and rules.

Strong Writer

Think your writing skills don’t matter for that engineering or tech job? According to CEOs, one of the toughest qualifications to find among Gen Y employees is the ability to write well. These days, a great deal of business is conducted over email, and employees need to be able to express themselves in a way that’s clear, cogent and correct.

Additionally, many hiring managers believe that good proofreaders will be more diligent in other aspects of their job as well. iFixit founder Kyle Wiens observed in a recent article that “people who make fewer mistakes on a grammar test also make fewer mistakes when they are doing something completely unrelated to writing—like stocking shelves or labeling parts.” If you’re having trouble landing a job, consider brushing up on your basic writing and grammar skills and creating a portfolio of writing samples that you can include along with your resume or cover letter.


No one expects you to sing and dance in a job interview; however, a little enthusiasm can make a big impression on hiring managers. Jeffrey DeLucia, manager of talent acquisition at The Judge Group staffing agency, suggests that applicants demonstrate a genuine interest in the company.

“We love good questions,” says DeLucia, who recommends that candidates inquire about differences between the company and its competitors. Asking well-researched questions shows you took the time to learn about the company and that you genuinely want to work there.

Social Media Savvy

You’ve probably heard the warnings about potential employers scouring your Facebook account for incriminating photos and information. However, aspiring employees may not realize that social media can actually work in their favor. According to a recent article, an astonishing 37 percent of hiring managers review their candidates’ social media profiles, and a positive online presence can help you impress hiring managers. Highlight your blog on your resume, and make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date. If the position you are applying for involves any marketing or branding, consider beefing up your Twitter following and your Klout score.

It’s also a good idea to connect with your old college friends and former coworkers online, as they can verify your skills and even alert you to job openings at their companies. Many businesses would rather hire someone that an existing employee vouched for than take their chances on an unknown candidate.

The hiring process can be incredibly stressful for both employers and potential employees. Understanding what hiring managers are seeking can help you succeed at every stage of the application process and ultimately score your dream job.