18 Ways to Make Recruiters Fall in Love with Your Resume

Monday, October 30th, 2017 - Resume

Just as there are best times to send emails, there are best times to focus your job hunt. You should be networking year round, but keep in mind that companies are most likely to hire new employees during September, October, January, and February, according to Monster.com

You can up your odds of landing your dream gig by being proactive early in the day. Research shows that people who apply for jobs between 6am and 10am are five times more likely to get called in for an interview than those who apply after 4pm. 

If you haven’t looked for a new job in while (let’s say, prior to 2016), your résumé (and Linkedin profile, for that matter) might need not just an update, but a substantial overhaul. It is, after all, the one page–yes, still just one page–that plays the biggest role in getting you in the door.

Here’s how to avoid the dreaded, “thanks for your interest, but…” email:

Do…be brief.

There is a range of views on this topic, but I’m a firm believer in the single-page résumé. At our content marketing company, Masthead Media, we receive hundreds of resumes each year, and we tend to de-prioritize those that spill into multiple pages.

Sell yourself briefly, or beware: not every recruiter is going to flip the page to check out your accomplishments on page two.

And don’t…include your college internships (when you graduated a decade ago).

Your past experience got you to where you are now, but it looks pretty outdated to include your role as an editorial assistant when you are now applying for a managing editor spot Use your best judgment…unless your best judgment has you listing your teenage babysitting duties.

Do…include keywords.

The pile of résumés that HR is sifting through–very often with the support of scanning technology that can recognize key phrases–is real. View the recruiter as Google, and your résumé as a blog post. It should be rich with keywords relating to the job position, and be written with answering the following question in mind: “Why should I hire this person?”

But don’t…litter it with buzzwords

That’s great that you’re a “best in breed” “team player” who “disrupts the status quo,” but seriously…show, don’t tell. Replace any buzzword or cliche you want to use with a concrete statement of achievement. Trust me: recruiters are over hearing about synergy.

Do…include KPIs

Were you responsible for sales growth? Hit an impressive number of eyeballs in a social media campaign? Quantify it! You want to stand out from the fakers, and real, provable numbers to back your achievements add an air of legitimacy.

But don’t…bullet out your day-to-day duties

You lost me at “ordered office supplies.”

Do…keep it updated.

Even when you’re not looking for a job, your résumé should be updated yearly, at the very least. To start, it’s easier to remember your professional accomplishments if you note them as they happen, and an updated résumé can be a great “cheat sheet” to reference during performance reviews or bonus evaluations.

But don’t…leave it on the office printer.

As obvious as this sounds, don’t print it at work. Splurge the 35 cents at Kinkos, because it’s easier to find a job when you have a job.

Do…send it to your peers for feedback.

Your accomplishments and work history is clear to you because you lived it. Make sure that your résumé description of it is clear by running it past peers who are familiar with your line of work, but not intimately knowledgeable of your day-to-day. Ask them what stands out, and adjust as needed.

But don’t…include a headshot.

Unless specifically requested–or unless you are applying for an on-camera position–including your headshot is just weird.

Do…proofread.

Or better yet, have a friend act as a second pair of eyes. No matter how impressive your accomplishments, it’s hard to look past the bullet on how you pay attention to “detial.”

But don’t…send as a Word doc.

Those hours you spent formatting, designing, and making sure your entire professional history fit on one neat page? Yeah, all that goes out the window if the recruiter doesn’t have your fonts of choice installed, is operating in a different version of Word, or (worse) is reading in a different word processing program altogether. PDF it…and then proof it one more time.

Do…show your growth.

It’s tempting to go the easy route and list just your most senior position at a company. However, a quick bullet on your trajectory from manager to senior director demonstrates how your company valued you, and how you were able to grow.

But don’t…list your salary requirements.

Talk about presumptuous! It’s way too early to be talking about salary and benefits in this pre-interview stage.

Do…tailor your master résumé for each job.

It’s ok if your work experience crosses fields: Many companies value a well-rounded candidate. However, you want to make your skillset that pertains to the job you’re applying for pop. Rearrange as needed to put your relevant experience toward the top, and add in bullets showing how less relevant work experience may help in this position.

But don’t…state the obvious.

You’re proficient in Microsoft Word? Congrats: so is the entire workforce. Avoid listing programs or skills like this that should be a no-brainer on your résumé.

Do…show your skills.

This is especially important in design jobs. If you are applying for a designer position, probably best to avoid the standard résumé templates found online. This is a natural opportunity to show your stuff–surely you can turn your work experience into an infographic.

But don’t…get too cutesy.

This is a résumé, not a wedding invitation.

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