What recruiters look for in a resume (and what you might be doing incorrectly)

We all know that formatting and layout are critical for today’s resumes. When applying on a website or job board, your resume might get blocked by technology. Complex algorithms can stop your resume from being seen. If you stand out from the crowd with a well formatted resume, will it then pass the recruiter “first glance” test? (You have about 15 seconds to get my attention)

How candidates and recruiters view resumes can be completely different.

What candidates think is important:

  • Having many years of experience
  • Listing all of your skills
  • Detailing all of your job responsibilities
  • Including an objective or personal statement
  • Listing education first

What recruiters think is important (and why):

  • Listing all job titles at one company
    • This shows career progression
  • Detailing achievements, not experience
    • Quantify your accomplishmentsto tell how you made a role, job, project, or assignment better and you need more than one page to demonstrate it effectively, that’s time (and space) well spent.
  • Using job ad keywords
    • Make it past applicant tracking systems, keep formatting simple, tailor your resume to the job, and include the right keywords to ensure you make it past the first step of the application process
  • Not having typos or grammatical errors
  • Keeping your CV under 2 pages
    • Length does play into the overall perception of you as a candidate--can you convey essential knowledge quickly, do you know what is and isn't essential, etc.?--and that overall assessment is hugely important.
  • Online Presence - adding URL links to Twitter and LinkedIn pages
    • Be careful of what you add, and clean up anything you can that may not create the impression you want. In today's online world, it's not only your resume and interview that contribute to a hiring decision

Your resume needs to do double duty – pass an applicant tracking system, but also appeal to the human reader who will make the next decision steps. Be thoughtful when constructing your resume, the goal of your resume is to start a conversation – peak my interest!