As someone with an HR background, you probably know the hiring process like the back of your hand. But being familiar with the HR side of hiring doesn’t make you an expert in being the candidate. It’s easy to forget all of the things you’ve noticed candidates doing wrong in the past.
In other words, if you think you don’t need any help getting hired as an HR manager, you should reconsider. From ATS to modern design, resumes and hiring are changing fast. As someone who’ll be expected to manage those processes, the expectations for your application will be sky high.
Fortunately, this guide has all the information you’ll need to meet and exceed those expectations.
This guide will teach you:
- How to get started with resume template examples
- What you can do to overcome ATS
- How you can better appeal to recruiters
- How to properly format your resume
- What your education section should look like
- How to list your skills and which ones to consider including
- How to include a powerful objective or summary
- Why you should include certifications if possible
- How to target your resume for each application
- How to prepare for a job interview as an HR manager
- Why a resume builder is an essential tool
Human Resources Resume Template Examples
A mistake many human resources managers looking for new positions make is to assume they’ve got a good feel for what their resume should look like. But checking out high-quality examples is invaluable. Instead of just writing your resume without thinking, it forces you to consider how others have done it and how you can improve.
So, start your resume creation process by looking at these expertly curated examples and listing which elements you like (and which you don’t). Pay attention to the design, the format, and the way the content is written. Now, instead of starting with your old resume or a blank page, you’ll have a list of good ideas.
How to write a human resources manager resume that will get you the job
There’s no getting around it, standing out with an HR manager resume is hard. You can expect your competition to be experts at applying for jobs. That’s why for your resume to stand out it needs to get all the details just right. But before you stress out, we’ll take you through all the steps.
However, if your resume is going to get you hired, it first needs to overcome the hurdle most resumes never make it past.
How to get your resume past ATS
Chances are you’re already quite familiar with Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). But even if you’ve worked with them before, you may not know just how they work and therefore what you need to do to get past them. So before you assume there’s nothing to worry about, let’s run through exactly how ATS work and what you need to do to be prepared.
ATS scan resumes looking for specific keywords and experience before assigning the resume a score based on how well they match the job requirements. That’s the part you probably already know. But you may be less familiar with what needs to happen on the applicant side. So we’ve broken it down into 4 key points:
- Ensure your resume is in the right format. This one is simple, submit your resume as a pdf, doc, or docx.
- Make sure that format is ATS friendly. Getting this right is also pretty easy. Your best bet is to use a resume builder that’s specifically designed to work well with ATS rather than worrying whether your formatting might be the problem. For example, things like headers, footers, or tables can all create problems in docs you create yourself.
- Use keywords and standard phrasing. ATS might not realize that “I love working in a collaborative team environment” and “works well with others” mean functionally the same thing. That’s why you need to phrase your skills and experience as closely to how they’re phrased in the job ad as possible. The same applies with titling your sections, keep it simple and avoid something like “My Past” instead of “Work History.”
What recruiters will look for
Here’s where you should be the most prepared. You’re likely very familiar with what recruiters look for because you’ve been involved in hiring. That said, you need to be careful here. It’s easy to just assume a recruiter will look at the hiring process the same way you do. The key is to consider the perspective and needs of that specific recruiter. Consider what the company will be looking for in an HR manager, are they looking to hire because they’re growing, because they had a problem with the previous HR manager, etc.
This may require some research, you can use your personal network along with Google to try and get as much information about the HR needs of that employer as possible. Then, write your resume with those needs in mind. For example, if the company is growing rapidly you may want to emphasize working well under pressure, a flexible schedule, and the desire to experience an exciting and growing company environment.
How to format your resume
If you’ve had to look through resumes at any point in your career you know that poor formatting is very frustrating on the employer side. But have you ever considered what makes formatting poor?
It largely comes down to how you structure your information. You need to be strategic about which information you want to convey in what order. Doing this allows you to craft the narrative of your resume and how its information is contextualized. This is why your resume should start with an objective or summary (more on how to write those later).
It also shows why you should carefully go through the sections from top to bottom and ask yourself what questions may arise and how you can address them. For example, if there’s a gap in your work history, make sure it’s explained before it’s noticed so you’re in control of the narrative.
How long should a human resources resume be?
As a human resources manager, you have plenty of experience to fill up two or three pages. The question you should be asking yourself is whether that space will be well used. You want your resume to be as short as possible while also including all of the valuable information it needs. The most effective tool for nailing this balance is to evaluate each section and piece of information by asking yourself whether it’s making your resume better. If it’s not adding value, it’s taking it away so it should be removed.
Which sections are best to include?
Be sure to consider the best mix of these sections for your own skills and background. Avoid throwing everything in because this will make your resume long and unwieldy.
- Resume objective or summary
- Work experience
- Licenses and Certifications
- Hard skills
- Soft Skills
How to list your education
This small and seemingly simple section has plenty of traps you still need to avoid. The main mistake even HRs will make with their education section is including information that isn’t relevant. Considering you’re applying for an HR manager position, your resume should rely on your work experience far more than your education. While an HR related degree is worth mentioning, save the space for real-world experience and examples.
A short education section should look like this:
MA in Psychology
University of Wisconsin at Madison
What skill to mention and how to do it correctly
Your skills are a prime area to get strategic on your human resources manager resume. You need to ensure that your resume reflects the skills mentioned in the job ad for the sake of ATS and to make it easy for a recruiter to know you’ve got what it takes. That said, to really stand out there’s more you have to do.
You should know from your HR experience that “having a skill” and being able to use it effectively are often two very different things. That’s why including concrete examples will make your skills far more impactful. To see this in action, let’s compare two examples.
Nothing wrong with simply listing a skill like this, but it could be better.
-Negotiated a 12% annual fee reduction with ATS provider
You don’t necessarily need to include a lot of details, but a short example makes all the difference. This will give a recruiter far more confidence in you as a candidate. It’s also something to talk about in an interview (more on that later).
The best hard skills to include
- College recruitment
- Familiarity with OSHA regulations
- Familiarity with relevant employment laws
- Developing training programs
- Employee retention
- Payroll management
- Exit interviews
- Talent management software like TalentSorter, ADP, or Workforce Now
The best soft skills to include
- Contract negotiation
- Managing disputes
- Works well under pressure
- Detail oriented
- Written communication
- Verbal communication and presentation
- Problem solving
How to emphasize your accomplishments
Whether you’re including a separate accomplishments section or listing them under your work history, the way you frame what you’ve done is essential. By being specific and focusing on accomplishments related to the main challenges of that potential employer, you’ll create a sense of confidence in you as a candidate.
Responsible for hiring at Inova Ltd.
Frankly, this “accomplishment” would be the same whether you were critical to the company effectively scaling or whether you were fired for incompetence. That’s a problem. Look for how you can include specific information about what you did (sometimes contacting a former employer may be helpful for getting their perspective and data.)
Led the 8 person HR team which grew Inova Ltc. by 35% in one year, helping to both scale and transition the company culture from that of a startup to a mature market player.
While not everything in here can be quantified (as an HR no doubt you’ve spent plenty of time trying to quantify company culture) but you get a strong sense of what was accomplished here.
Why your resume should start with a summary or objective
Above we mentioned the importance of controlling the narrative and context of your resume. That’s where an effective summary or objective comes in. Instead of thinking about this as a place to literally summarize your resume, think of it as a place to make a first impression.
There are two good ways to approach this. One is to consider what information about you as a candidate is most relevant and put this in an objective or summary. This way, you’re emphasizing your best qualities.
Another approach is to use this space to convey information that doesn’t easily fit elsewhere on your resume. Perhaps you’re returning to the workforce after an absence or there’s a specific reason you’re interested in working for a company. This is your place to mention these things. Let’s look at a few examples of how this can be done effectively.
How to write a resume objective
The key here is to fit as much information into just a few words as possible. Think about the few most important things a recruiter should know about you and how to fit them into one easy to read sentence.
An experienced and certified HR professional with the skills needed to effectively run your HR team.
Consider what this resume objective chose to emphasize. It mentions experience, a certification, and skills but doesn’t add any details. As a result, it reads as vague pride instead of a targeted set of compelling facts about you as a candidate. Let’s compare that to a more effective version:
CPLP with 8 years corporate HR experience looking to use recruitment experience to effectively scale KCYN Software.
Here we know what the certification is, how many years of what type of experience they have, and exactly what their goal is. This tells a recruiter that you’ve researched the HR needs of the company and have tailored your resume just for them. That action speaks as loudly as the words themselves.
How to write a resume summary
Just because a resume summary is longer than an objective doesn’t mean you should write yourself a short biographical novel. The space on your resume and the recruiter’s time are just as important, so be sure to value both.
After taking 2 years off to raise my first child I’m reentering the workforce and hoping to reenter the workforce as an HR manager at your company. I’m confident my work experience will help me succeed in this role. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.
While this summary does explain a workplace absence, it makes a few other mistakes that harm its effectiveness. First, the overall tone (including being written in the first person) is too informal. Next, it wastes space with phrases like “Please feel free to contact me with any questions” which don’t need to be included here.
SPHR-certified human resources manager with 10 years experience divided between corporates and startups focusing on finding niche development talent for AI, Logistics, and App development. Extensive experience in identifying candidates which balance technical talent with the soft skills needed to implement team visions.
This example uses the resume summary to make a strong case for this person as a candidate. In a few sentences we know a lot about their experience and where they see their specific strengths. Some of that information will be in the rest of the resume, but this summary quickly forms a strong first impression. That impression will lead a recruiter to view the rest of your resume in a more positive light, putting you in a strong position to get hired.
Why you should consider including certifications
Certifications in HR serve a few functions. The most obvious is to simply prove that you have a specific set of skills. But the real message they send goes beyond that. An HR certification tells a prospective employer that you went out of your way to demonstrate your skills. It quickly distinguishes you from the resumes that communicate the candidate simply does the bare minimum by listing responsibilities and not accomplishments.
In addition, those letters next to your name undoubtedly add some sense of professionalism. They will be the first thing a recruit reads right alongside your name and therefore allow you to make a strong statement about your qualifications right from the start.
Lastly, if you’re looking to re-enter the workforce, a certification is an excellent way to refresh your skills and put you on a more even playing field with other candidates.
The best human resources manager certifications to include
- Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR)
- Professional in Human Resources (PHR)
- SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP)
- SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP)
- Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP)
How to target your resume for each application
As an HR professional, no doubt you know how important this is. That said, we can all be a bit lazy sometimes and it’s tempting to skip the hard work of customizing a resume for each job. However, with HR manager being such an attractive career, you need a way to stand above the competition.
Beyond studying the job description and researching the company to better understand their specific HR needs, you need to communicate that you will fulfill those needs early and often. If you can frame yourself as someone who will help the recruiter reading your resume solve some pressing problem in their job, you’ll be in a strong position to get hired.
How to make your resume stand out
The best way to make an HR manager resume stand out is quickly. You know recruiters don’t have unlimited time to look over your resume, so you need to find ways to make an impression in seconds.
One way to do that is with clean modern design. Submitting another doc file isn’t going to make anyone say “wow.” You need a resume which uses good design that’s easy on eyes that have been scanning resumes for hours and projects professionalism. The key to that is finding the right resume builder (more on that below).
Good design combined with an effective objective or resume will allow your resume to stand out and create a strong first impression in seconds. That impression is what will get a recruiter to take the time to read through the rest of your carefully crafted content.
How to prepare for a job interview as an HR manager
The best resume in the world isn’t going to prepare you for a job interview. Well, that’s the conventional wisdom. However, if you’ve followed our advice and included plenty of specific examples of your skills and accomplishments then you’ll have plenty of cases to discuss in an interview.
In addition, by thoroughly researching the company and its HR needs to customize your resume, you should have some idea of the answers they will be looking for to interview questions. You’ll want to be prepared to discuss all of the HR challenges the company has in detail.
Which questions are likely to be asked during the interview process?
Beyond specific questions about your resume or the HR challenges facing the company, some of the most common questions asked for HR managers are:
- How would you describe your management style?
- How do you affect company culture in an HR manager role?
- What’s your approach to firing someone?
- How do you evaluate candidates?
- As an HR manager, how will you improve X at our company?
- What would you do if you discovered unethical behavior in the company?
- How do you approach workplace conflicts?
How to follow-up on your application and interview process
Before you even submit your resume, you should research the company and use tools like LinkedIn to establish connections with current or former employees there. After using these connections to gain insights into the company’s HR situation and needs, you can hold onto them for following up after your application has been submitted.
Fortunately, you’re speaking as one HR professional to another. That said, you can check-in occasionally but should be respectful of the company’s hiring process. After all, you’re applying to be an integral part of that process, so trying to go around it or dismiss it isn’t going to make a good impression.
Why a resume builder is an essential tool
You may be a seasoned resume expert, but that doesn’t mean you have unlimited time. You need tools to streamline the process of creating custom resumes for different positions, give your resume top-notch design, and ensure it’s ATS-friendly. That’s why resume builders are an essential tool for anyone who’s serious about landing their dream job.
Resumebuild.com offers powerful tools to enable you to do more in less time. You have access to expertly crafted resume examples and an intuitive builder that avoids the headaches of trying to get Word formatting just right. So skip the hassle and create a modern and effective resume today!
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