What Do Recruiters Look for in a Resume?

How do you ensure that it’s your resume that lands at the top of the pile?  In mid-sized companies to large corporations a human resources representative will be the 1st line of screening.  They literally sift through thousands of resumes, so it can be difficult to stand out from the competition.  They only spend a few seconds glancing at each resume to decide if they should read further.  So what are they looking for exactly?

  1. Personalize Your Resume to the Position You’re Applying For

Avoid sending an identical resume to every employer.  Review the job description and tailor your resume to that particular position.  Only include career highlights that match the position for which you are applying.  Avoid statements like:  “Good Communication Skills,” and “Team Player,” unless you can expand on each of these statements and prove your worth.  Highlight your skills and experience that are closest to the skills highlighted in the job posting.

  1. Use the Right Keywords

It is imperative to include the right keywords.  It is impossible to fit your whole career story onto one or two sheets of paper.  Employers look for keywords that stand out.  For Example:  Sales roles, keywords can be sold, quota, negotiation and so forth. Your resume should clearly state, “This person cares about the role they are applying for.”  If a company uses an ATS System to scan your resume or if an online resume search is used, relevant keywords will ensure your resume rises to the top of the pile.

  1. Ensure Positive Language

Show motivation in your language.  Tailor your language to show enthusiasm toward the role you’re applying for.  Include awards and recognitions.

  1. Sell Yourself

Recruiters only have seconds to glance over your resume, so you need to grab their attention right in the beginning of your presentation.  Include a short summary at the top of your resume keeping it relevant to the position at hand. It’s often this first section of the resume that decides if the recruitment manager is going to forward your application to the hiring manager.  Ask yourself, “If I only had one sentence to grab the attention of a prospective employer, what would I say?”  This is your opportunity to shine!

  1. Be Specific

Your accomplishments are your key selling points.  Recruiters want to see facts, figures, dates and numbers. If you don’t show this on your resume, the next guy will!  Specifics can tell a far greater story than half a page of a job description.

  1. Keep it Simple

Don’t get too wordy.  While details will get you noticed, too much information will bore your reader. If there’s too much to digest, the time-restricted human resources representative will quickly move on to the next resume.  Unless you are applying for a technical position, where specific language is important, refrain from using a long word when a shorter word will do.

  1. Is it Clear Why You Want this Job?

Does your resume say:  This person wants the job?  Remember:  Keep it relevant, keep it simple, and let your enthusiasm for the role shine through.

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