Your resume is often a recruiter’s first impression of you and a determining factor in whether you get a call for an interview. In other words, it’s one of the most important pieces of the application process.
While you could fill a resume with all of your amazing accomplishments since birth, understand that recruiters only have a few minutes to read your resume. That’s why shrewd job seekers take on a recruiter’s mindset when constructing their resumes. It’s a surefire way to stand out in the crowd.
The following tips will help you look at your resume through a recruiter’s eyes and increase your chances of being shortlisted for the job:
1. Spark interest with your introduction. Some resumes never see the light of day, largely due to the first interaction between recruiter and applicant. Make them want to open your resume with a well-crafted email. Highlight those skills relevant to the job. Keep it short and succinct, while being personal and professional in your exchange.
2. Practice a little brevity. Padding your resume with unnecessary or irrelevant details makes it hard for recruiters to determine whether you have the pertinent skills for the job. Detail your skills and experience in brief, precise sentences, and break up text into short paragraphs or bullet points. Also, clearly title sections to make scanning easier for recruiters.
3. Answer the “whos, whats, and whys” of recent roles. Oftentimes, recruiters want to understand the context of a role in relation to the employer as a whole. Clarify who you worked with at the company and how your position fit into the organizational structure. Detail what you were actually doing at that company and why the work was critical to the business.
4. Highlight your background with keywords. Most of the time, recruiters work within certain parameters set by their clients. Use the job description to find the key terms or phrases a potential employer is looking for in a candidate. If a company is looking for a candidate skilled in marketing, collaboration, and leadership, those words better be on your resume. If not, you won’t get past the first round.
5. Stress numbers where necessary. One of the more effective ways of winning a recruiter over is to put a numeric value on your experience. If you led a team, make sure to explain how many people were part of that team. If you cut costs for an employer, make sure to share exactly how much. By attaching numbers to your skills, you will look more confident in your ability to tackle the responsibilities of a role.
6. Explain any gaps in your experience. Rarely will recruiters take issue with gaps in your experience — as long as you have a reason for those gaps. Be upfront and honest about why you weren’t working at the time. It’s the absence of an explanation that’ll raise a few eyebrows.
7. Proofread. Proofread. Proofread. It’s surprising how many job seekers submit resumes without taking the time to give them another onceover. Even if it’s a simple grammatical mistake, that error may be reason enough to send your resume into the trash bin. Make sure every claim on your resume can be supported by your skills and experience. Have another set of eyes review your resume to ensure it’s perfect from top to bottom.
If you understand exactly what a recruiter is looking for in a candidate, your resume will more likely find its way to the top of the list. Just make sure to keep it up-to-date so you never miss out on an opportunity. Looking for additional resume resources? Check out our other resume tip sheets.
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