And since so many factors are out of your control—like whether you’ll hear back about that perfect fit opportunity—it’s no wonder many people find themselves attempting to regain a little power by obsessing over what they can control.
But the truth is, not all job-search details are make-or-break.
To help you discern what’s worth your worry—and what’s definitely not—we chatted with two career experts to identify five easy-to-obsess-over details that hiring managers really don’t care about … and what to focus on instead.
1. How Fancy Your Resume Looks
In today’s competitive job market, it’s crucial to make your C.V. shine brighter than the hundreds of others on a hiring manager’s desk. Often, that pressure leads people to toil over the glossiest resume template—with fancy fonts, bold pops of color and custom sub-sections—in an effort to express their exceptional flair for style.
But unless you’re applying for a design position and need to showcase those skills, Alison Green, a former nonprofit chief of staff and author of the Ask a Manager blog, is giving you permission to quit obsessing.
“No employer is going to hire you just because you have a beautifully laid-out resume,” she says. “Plus, it makes it look like you don’t have a clear idea of what things really matter.”
What Does Matter … “Standing out is about the strength of your candidacy, which is something you can’t buy, fake or promote through even the most beautiful font choice,” Green says.
If you really want to prove you’re a strong candidate, create an easily readable document that prominently highlights your professional accomplishments.
For example, maybe you exceeded your sales targets for three years in a row, successfully serviced your company’s most difficult account, or were chosen to represent your department at a major industry conference—make sure these points stand out on your C.V.
One other thing to keep in mind? Stick to the facts, Green says, adding that hiring managers won’t give much weight to overly subjective descriptions and self-assessments you can’t substantiate, like “excellent management skills” or “creative communicator.”