What Recruiters Look At On Your Resume
By now you must have heard that recruiters spend only about 6 seconds on each resume. Within those six seconds, recruiters have already decided whether or not to hire you, or to just throw your resume into the junk. Now, you must be wondering that six seconds are nowhere enough time to actually read and analyze a resume, and that it’s not fair that the resume over which you have been agonizing for days is so easily dismissed. You’d be right on both accounts of course. But, sadly life is not fair, and this is the truth of the industry.
So, what does this mean for you? It means that your resume has to be so good and so eye-catching to be able to attract the attention of the recruiter within those six seconds at least so much so that they want to read the whole resume. But how do you do this? Most recruiters look for certain things on your resume which align with their belief of who would make the ideal employee for that position. All your resume has to go is hit all of their checkpoints. This is of course easier said than done.
Here are some of the things that recruiters look for on your resume, and things that you should include in yours:
Clear and concise format
Since you have only six seconds to convey all the important information that you can, that information needs to be presented in a clear and concise matter. This means that your resume should follow a formatted pattern. It should be neat and not appear clustered. It should be easily scannable so that whatever the recruiter is looking for should be immediately available. The resume should also look presentable rather than just a hodpodge of words.
Use bullet Points rather than Paragraphs
Where ever it is possible, use bullet points rather than paragraphs. Bullet points are easily scannable and tend to show the most relevant information by using the least amount of words possible. Reading through a paragraph is time constraining and one has to look through the entire paragraph in order to look for the relevant information. A recruiter, who sees dozens or even hundreds of resumes a day, just doesn’t have time to decipher every single paragraph on every single resume. Hence, it is more likely that he will just deem your resume at unworthy of their time and just toss it aside. Something you do not want to happen.
Include primary information
Most recruiters look at certain primary things and immediate decide whether or not to give you a chance or not based on these. These things include: your name, current title and company, current position start and end dates, previous title and company, previous position start and end dates, and education.
Hence, looking at the resume these things should be immediately and clearly visible, so that they can be seen within the first 6 seconds. If the recruiter has to search for that information, chances are they would have lost interest by then and already tossed your resume away.
In addition to using bullets, one should also incorporate all the relevant keywords. Keywords tend to show the most direct information and tend to center all the descriptions. Plus with the onset of technology, which means that nobody looks a paper resumes anymore, they are all digital, many recruiters or hiring managers tend to do a keyword search in the resume. The keywords often describe the ideal candidate that the recruiter has in their mind and/or the skills they believe the candidate should have. The resumes which have their keywords tend to often move onto the second round, whereas others do not make the cut.
This of course does not mean that you should stuff your resume with unnecessary keywords, but it does mean that you should look at the job description, which often tends to have the keywords that the recruiter uses to describe the candidate they are looking for. In addition to using those keywords, also use other relevant keywords that you think would be relevant to the position.
Use numbers where ever possible to illustrate your point. Numbers are easier to prove than just vague descriptions. Numbers also show that you are achievement oriented and actually note figures. The management prefers to look at numbers and if you show them good numbers then they are more likely to hire you than another candidate whose history is not so clear cut.
This is not a requirement, but it does help in certain fields such as sales and marketing, or development, whereas in other fields it would seem out of place. You could mention the number of people in your team or sales of the company. However, you would have to make a judgment call as to whether or not those number help or do they actually seem out of place.