Everything you ever did matters to hiring managers

Job seekers often wonder whether something they did matters to hiring managers. Does it matter that I attended an elite college? Does it matter that I didn’t? Does it matter that I volunteered for the UN? Does it matter that I chose advanced algebra over advanced calculus?

The answer to all of these questions is always “yes”. Everything you did in the past matters to hiring managers. For them, you are the sum of your past decisions. Everything they know about you shapes their opinion of you consciously or unconsciously. It also matters whether you disclose this information. Putting your Eagle Scout achievement on your resume is a signal but so is omitting it.

Now do any of your past decisions impact hiring managers positively or negatively? That’s difficult to say. It’s like asking what people like in their partners. Different people value different traits just like different hiring managers value different accomplishments.

There are certainly trends. It is usually better to attend an elite university than to an unknown state college, but some hiring managers prefer the School of Hard Knocks. It is usually better to have some internships under your belt before applying for a full time job, but some hiring manager never did internships either and don’t care. Some hiring managers prefer hackathon participation. Others prefer you spend your Sunday mornings at the local soup kitchen. Some hiring managers are freemasons. Play your mason membership right and you may get the secret handshake and an instant offer to join the company.

Every decision you have ever made matters to hiring managers but for any particular hiring manager it’s a crap shoot. If you don’t know about the hiring manager’s values, put accomplishments on your resume that you are proud of and hope they resonate.

Everything you ever did matters to hiring managers

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