3 Essential Resume Tips From a Recruiter

Could your resume actually be hindering your job search? Hear straight from a recruiter the resume tips that can make a real difference in putting your best foot forward.

Every day, I receive many resumes from candidates, so I’ve seen it all: the good, the bad and the ugly. If you’ve wondered, “What do employers look for in a resume?” I know the answers. Here are three key resume tips to follow:

1. Oh no, not type-ohs! Slow down before sending.

You may think proofreading is such a basic concept, but you would be shocked at the percentage of resumes I see in a given day that are riddled with simple typos or grammatical errors. From incorrect usage (there, their, they’re) – to random capitalization of words (“Support a large Group…”) – to issues with punctuation (SO many commas!), the list of errors goes on and on. To me and the vast majority of managers I work with, typos are a sign of carelessness and will often help land your resume in the circular file as opposed to help move you along in the hiring process. 

Solution - Using a spell-check is simply not enough to catch some of these mistakes, so I recommend you have at least two or three people proofread your resume before sending out to a recruiter or hiring manager. A fresh set of eyes will often catch things that get passed over after you read over your resume a few times.

2. Don’t let your document get lost in translation.  

I know it can be tempting to make your resume look “cool” by adding all sorts of formatting and effects that we have access to with today’s software. Unfortunately, that green box, fun column or bold graphic you inserted may be wreaking havoc on the document as it travels through various web platforms and applicant tracking systems. Many companies have turned to these systems to make it easier to pass candidates along internally throughout the hiring process. However, there are many instances where the special formatting used on resumes cannot be read by this software and the document ends up looking nothing like what was originally sent through. 

Solution – When submitting resumes online or emailing to a hiring manager directly, I recommend sending a clean Word document with as few added features as possible. This will ensure your resume is easily read and reviewed by the intended audience, and passes seamlessly through any tracking system that they may have in place.

3. Aim for dynamic achievements over listing a static job description.

As someone who reviews at least 100 resumes in a week, the truth is there is not a ton of time for a candidate to jump off the page and impress me. If you want to move to the top of the pile, make sure you are highlighting specific examples of accomplishments or successes in your past employment and not just bulleting your daily duties.

What is the difference, you might be asking? Consider the following simple example:
• Schedule all travel for executive team
• Arrange all international and domestic travel for 8 executives, totaling 36 trips in July 2014

Solution - With just a couple of tweaks, this line goes from a generic task to a quantified example showing this candidate’s true ability, and it will set him or her apart from other resumes in the stack. Be sure you are thinking of all aspects of your previous experience with this mindset and soon you will bring life to your resume and show recruiters why they need to pick up the phone and give you a call.

What is the best advice someone has given you after reviewing your resume? Share your tips with others below.

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