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A Recruiter's Tips on How to Get Your Résumé Noticed

job interview

Photo Credit: Zivica Kerkez/Shutterstock

It’s been said that a résumé has about seven seconds to stand out to a recruiter before they decide if they want to look more or toss it to the rejection pile. Unfortunately, this statistic is very true. I would know.

I’ve been a recruiter for almost a decade and have looked at thousands of résumés. Along the way, I’ve identified a few key things every résumé should have to stand out from the rest — in seven seconds or less.

Do Your Research

Recruiters are scanning your résumé for keywords that are relevant to the industry and position you are applying for. You can find these keywords by reading job postings for the types of roles that you want. It helps if these are from companies that have a culture you want to work for. Pro tip: If you want to work at a tech startup, don’t pull up job descriptions at the city water department.

If you’re over the one-page mark, make sure to take out experiences that aren’t relevant or are more than eight to 10 years old.

When you’re reading the job descriptions, jot down all of the job-specific keywords you come across. You will use these keywords to describe your skills and duties throughout your résumé to catch your future employer’s eye and to get chosen by application-tracking systems.

Summarize the Role

Using your list of relevant and marketable words, start to craft a summary of the role. This should be no more than two to three sentences. After reading this, your reader should be able to clearly understand what you did and where.

Describe Your Impact

Under the summary of the role, in four to six bullet points, describe your impact on the job. These bullet points shouldn’t read as a vague job description; they should illustrate what you accomplished in the role, not just what you did. You want it to read as unique to only you. To do this, look to include things like:

  • Metrics: To really highlight the impact you had in the role, use measurable results to quantify your accomplishments. For example: “Increased profits by 20% in the first year.”
  • Promotions: Make sure to mention any promotions that you earned during your time in the role.
  • Tech Skills: Include any specific software or computer programs that you used, especially if they are frequently used in the industry. It’s good to let the hiring manager know that they won’t have to spend time training you on the programs they use.
  • Leadership: Have you taken on a special project or led a task force? Do you manage a team? Did you develop a new initiative? Make sure this is known to the reader. Recruiters and hiring managers aren’t just looking for someone who can do the job — they are looking for leaders to join their company.
  • Trainings: Remember that super long training you went to and felt like you wasted a whole day? It might be important to list some of those now.

Keep It to One-Page

Your résumé should be as easy as possible for the recruiter to read; adding pages complicates that. If you’re over the one-page mark, make sure to take out experiences that aren’t relevant or are more than eight to 10 years old. This helps the recruiter zero in on what is absolutely crucial for him/her to know about you.


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