Most recruiters get dozens – if not hundreds – of resumes for every open position. They have stacks of resumes to review, and only seconds to look at each one. That means that your resume needs to pack a punch in a short time – and a small amount of space.
To move onto the next round of the hiring process, you want to include the information recruiters are looking for, in the format they prefer. But what exactly do recruiters want?
Below is a list of 20 things recruiters want to see on resumes, and how you can implement them for better results in the job hunt.
1. Clear contact information
List your name and contact information clearly, at the very top of the page. If the recruiter or hiring manager can’t easily contact you, they’ll move on to another applicant before you can say “Next!”
2. Your location
In addition to your name and contact information, be sure to list your geographic location. Recruiters often look for job candidates in the same area, and if it’s not readily apparent that you’re local, you could get passed over.
3. Your career objective
After your contact information, list the specific position you’re applying for, as it’s stated in the job description. It’s the first thing recruiters will look for when scanning your resume, and it’s an easy way to ensure that yours gets put in the right pile.
4. A short and sweet summary
Grab recruiters’ attention with a short and sweet overview that outlines what you have to offer, in 50 words or less. Think of it as a two-sentence summary of your accomplishments and your goals that will make the recruiter want to keep reading.
5. Accurate information
The number one rule of resumes? Don’t lie and say you did something if you didn’t. If a recruiter finds out that the information provided on your resume is inaccurate, you won’t have a chance at of landing the job – and you run the risk of developing a bad reputation in your industry.
6. Meaningful language, not clichés
While some industry buzzwords are helpful, be careful not to overdo it with the clichés. Instead, use smart, meaningful language that will truly tell a recruiter about your character, your work ethic and your professional experience.
7. Words, not pictures
Unless you’re applying for a position based on looks, don’t include a picture of you on your resume. Save the photos for social media, and focus on language that describes you and your accomplishments.
8. The benefits of hiring you
Don’t just make your resume a list of positions held and duties accomplished. Frame your work history and skill set as benefits for the company hiring you – whether they’re quantitative, like increased sales, or qualitative, like great leadership.
9. Conventional formatting
Creativity is great, but resumes aren’t the place to go wild with colours, fonts or backgrounds. Stick to white or beige paper, normal font types, and basic resume layouts. Note: Creatives (graphic designers, etc.) have a bit more wiggle room.
10. Consistency and neatness
Use the same consistent pattern and formatting for spacing, bolding and highlighting throughout your entire resume. It will make it easier for recruiters to scan it quickly and pick out the important parts.
11. Correct spelling and proper grammar
Proofread, proofread, and proofread again. Ask someone else to read it, too, to catch any errors you might have missed. Spelling, grammar and attention to detail say a lot about you, and they can help you make a great first impression with your resume.
12. Subheadings and bullet points
Resumes with subheadings and bullet points for each section, company, job, and accomplishment are easier to read than long paragraphs describing skills and work experience.
13. Active words, not passive words
Avoid passive phrases like “supported,” “aided” or “was responsible for,” and go with active phrases like “took charge of,” “headed up,” or “managed.” Use solid, active verbs that define exactly what you did and emphasize your role in doing it.
14. Academic achievements
Academic achievements are important, especially if you’re recently out of school. Recruiters are almost always interested in education, hands-on training and other projects – and academic achievements can help boost your resume if you don’t have a lot of work experience.
15. Past experience
List your work history for up to 12 previous years. More than 10-12 years of past work experience isn’t necessary, and will only waste a recruiter’s time.
16. A list of accomplishments
Recruiters are interested in knowing what you did and how well you did it – with specific evidence when possible. Listing your achievements and responsibilities individually makes them stand out more.
17. Continuous employment history
It’s crucial to check your resume for anything that might look like chronic job-hopping or habitual flakiness. Though a few career switches are fine, most recruiters want to see a somewhat consistent work history with at least a few long-term positions.
18. Relevant qualifications
List your qualifications in order of relevance to the position you’re applying for. If you’re applying for a web design job, for example, don’t list your former lifeguard position first.
19. A match with LinkedIn
Most recruiters check out candidates on LinkedIn, so keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date and consistent with your resume. Don’t have a LinkedIn profile? Now’s the time to create one – it’s a must-have in today’s job market.
20. A lasting impression
Recruiters will go back to the resumes that leave a lasting impression. To create a lasting impression, highlight your skills and achievements, relate them to the position you’re applying for, and show exactly how the company can benefit from hiring you.