Everything Recruiters/Employers Look For In Your Resume
by Riia O’Donnell
For most job seekers, a resume has mere seconds to attract the attention and interest of a recruiter.
The sheer volume of resumes that cross the average recruiter’s desk makes it impossible for them to comb through every word, so it’s important to provide what they need quickly and effectively.
You can hedge your bets with most hiring professionals by following some basic guidelines on creating a resume that’s compelling:
- Write your resume from the point of view of the reader.
- Provide what they need to make a determination about your suitability for the job in a quick and easy manner.
- Most resumes follow a basic format that provides categories relevant to every job search and position available.
- They include contact information, career objective, work or volunteer experience, education, certifications, skills, and references.
- Provide brief, concise information in each of these categories to create a resume that attracts attention.
Resumes should be neat, easy to read, and free of overly ornate formatting. Unless you have decades of work experience, a single page is sufficient.
Most recruiters will not go to page 2 of a resume unless the position is very high on the food chain or sufficiently complex.
The recruiter should be able to get the too detailed information they’re looking for quickly.
Headings are best to help direct them: once they get to these areas, provide the information they want to see concisely and professionally.
Basic contact information should be prominent and provide more than one way to reach you. Include email and phone numbers to assure the recruiter is able to connect with you quickly and effectively.
Make sure your email address reflects your professionalism: weedhead@gmail may be funny to your friends, but will probably not land you an interview outside the cannabis industry.
This may not be the first area a recruiter reviews but it is important to include.
Provide a short blurb of overall professional goals that’s non-specific.
Include how you want to leverage your skills and experience to further the goals and mission of the company.
Don’t list specific jobs or duties: you’ll narrow the field of positions that are suitable for you.
This area will be the most reviewed by the recruiter. They’re looking for details on what you’ve done, where and when.
List work/volunteer experience in descending order (most recent first).
As a headline to each, include the name of the company, your title, and length of employment with the firm.
If you were promoted during your tenure and your title changed, include the additional titles you’ve earned.
Next, provide a brief outline of your responsibilities and duties. Don’t go into minute detail, but don’t gloss over the facts either.
A short paragraph – two to four sentences are typically sufficient – unless the work was very complex. If you were promoted, provide shorter blurbs for each level of responsibility.
Include outlines of the work you performed as well as achievements on the job.
A sales representative, for example, will include they served 100 customers across a three-state territory. They should also include achievements for sales performance during their tenure.
Even the most entry-level job should provide details that can pique a recruiter’s attention.
A retail sales/cashier position during college may seem irrelevant to your post-grad resume, but don’t discount its value.
Include you enjoyed working with the public, resolving problems, coordinating with team members, or learning/being involved with supply chain and distribution.
These skills are translatable: working well in teams or with the public are soft skills all employers are looking for. The ability to show you’ve done so is worth including on your resume.
Provide the school, years attended and degrees earned, certainly, and if it’s worth noting, include your GPA.
But there’s more to your educational experience that’s relevant to a recruiter.
If you financed all or part of your education through work, include that information: it translates you’re willing to work hard to achieve your goals.
If you were involved in clubs or organizations, particularly those who provided services, add them as well. They illustrate your commitment to volunteerism.
For some professions, credentialing and certifications are critically important.
Provide these details and include any registration numbers that are applicable. You may not consider tech certifications as relevant if you’re not looking for a job as a coder, but they are.
Recruiters are always on the lookout for tech-savvy new hires, particularly as the world of work is shifting to more automated systems.
Include additional skills you hold. Don’t bother to note you’re a talented juggler, do include you enjoy working with the public (only if you do).
Provide any technical skills and proficiencies you hold, like software literacy or the ability to utilize specific equipment or tools.
Include soft skills as well: outstanding communicator, valued team member, strong leader, etc. These qualities rank high when looking for a potential new hire.
Providing detailed reference information is typically optional for recruitment professionals at the early stages of the hiring process.
It’s nice to have all the information on a candidate in a single place, but sometimes references are lengthy.
If you can, provide a name and contact information for each position you’ve listed on the resume. If it gets too long, note that references will be provided on request.
Recruiters are looking for resumes that help them do their job well. These provide relevant information quickly and easily accessible.
A strong resume makes it easy for a recruiter to see you’re a strong candidate for the job.