How To Write A Resume That A Recruiter Will Notice And Love

Working with a recruiter can gain you access to vacancies that might not show up through other channels. Need to make sure your resume stands out to a recruiter? Recruitment expert Irene Kokov explains what you need to do.

Recruiter picture from Shutterstock

Generally speaking, recruiters are interested in a certain sort of candidate: the type A candidate. These guys and gals are rockstar, high-achievers. They can hit the ground running, slipping out of their current role and into a new role in the blink of an eye. In fact, you could throw them in the deep end tomorrow, attach a whole host of sinkers, and Type A would not only float but would even win the proverbial race. To find this candidate is every manager's dreams.

HR managers and hiring managers brief recruiters on their ideal candidate (enter above description of candidate Type A), so when scanning through hundreds of resumes in a candidate-rich market, they look to spot experience and qualities that they know will blow the socks off the hiring manager.

Every recruiter wants their candidate to secure the role, so they pick people who have the best chances of survival, choosing candidates whose resumes match quite closely the needs of the hiring manager.

Whether you like it or not, your resume will be used as a decision support tool. It will either funnel the reader's interests towards or away from you.

If you think of your resume as a story, like all stories, they're only of interest to a certain readership. Ultimate engagement exists when the story's purpose and content connects with the needs of the reader in that moment.

Those that receive a phone call are masters of creating this connection. They know how to funnel interest towards them. They understand the reader's needs on a deeper level, and address them systematically.

Here are some ways to tell your story in a way that is valuable, captivating and connects with the needs of the recruiter so that it converts into a phone call of interest.

The Secret To A Recruiter's Needs? Keywords

What are the recruiter's needs? Most of the time, the job advertisement gives this away. Your resume therefore has no excuse as to why it's not giving the impression that you'll slip into the role without hesitation.

It's like going on a first date. Making a great first impression dictates whether you get an opportunity for another date. There are no second chances.

You want to connect to the reader on a deeper level so they are interested enough to ask you on another date (so to speak), and the ultimate way to do this is to start taking note of the keywords that are being used, and pepper them throughout your resume (assuming you have those skills of course). The job ad and position description acts as a cheat sheet of sorts.

Although it seems like a good idea to use a thesaurus, in actual fact, the recruiter's mind is already primed to look for words listed in the job ad.

Don't make them search for evidence that you fit. They probably won't have the time to.

Time Poor Recruiters Need An Executive Summary

Your resume will likely not get more than a 5-15 second glance (especially if the layout isn't an appealing one) which means, it may not be read beyond the first page.

Including an executive summary is helpful here. It ensures that when the document is opened, the critical areas you highlight are above the fold. What are the critical areas I hear you ask? It's important that:

  1. You've articulated how you fit the role requirements and capabilities. Avoid boring, overly corporate jargon. Instead, add a dash of personality, explaining how you fit, why you care to contribute and why they should take a chance on you;
  2. Job titles are listed and are a close match to the job being recruited for;
  3. Employer names and dates are clear, with minimal job hopping (if you've had a few contracts of late, create a 'contract roles' section);
  4. You've addressed the essential and desirable attributes in the job advertisement. If they're looking for 5 years banking experience – even if it's evident to you that you have that, make it even more obvious. Write it in!

The easiest way to organise this information is via a personal profile or about me type section, followed by an employment summary.

Ticked that off? Good. Only then will readers look into the detail of your responsibilities and achievements, if they like what they see that is.

A punchy resume that gets to the point quickly, filled with relevant and well-organised content will reduce the risk of you being filtered out altogether. Adding this sort of summary makes it easy for recruiters to identify you as the right candidate. It also gives them the feeling that you 'get' what they need, subconsciously giving you extra brownie points.

What Spelling And Grammar Say About You

This is a topic you've heard before. It gets mentioned frequently, yet I'm still surprised at how often people get it wrong.

I'll spend only a few seconds ranting about this and the length of this section should not take away from the importance of the point.

Checking spelling and grammar is vital. Using the Word spellcheck tool or looking for words and phrases underlined with red and green squiggly lines does not suffice, unfortunately. Not all mistakes are picked up this way.

No recruiter wants a candidate's poor attention to detail to reflect negatively upon him or her. More importantly, hiring managers don't want employees who don't take pride in their work, which is exactly what you demonstrate with one little mistake, given this is your first impression.

Vocabulary and Language: It's All About Communication

Every word you use has a purpose – it acts as a vessel bringing the reader to the next word. Or, it has them lose interest.

We all know the saying, 'less is more' and that's doubly true with resumes. Language used sparingly is powerful.

Although you may think that the language you use has no impact on your performance at work, few hiring managers will agree. Your writing style is a sneak peek into what you're like as an employee, conveying whether you're capable of communication that engages stakeholders and colleagues professionally.

Also, take note of a potential employer's website. It will give further clues as to what their corporate culture is like, the formality of writing style used and can even suggest what their commonly used font is. Imitating small details like these can make you stand out amongst a crowd of applicants, giving the reader a sense that you already 'belong' on a subconscious level — an attractive trait for recruiters and hiring managers.

Achievements, Achievements, Achievements

Did you know that recruiters care very little about your resume if they don't see achievements?

Resumes are essentially just the tip of the iceberg, but recruiters use them as a predictor (albeit not an accurate one) of your reliability and future job performance, and based upon that will give you an interview, or not.

Your achievements help convince recruiters that you are the candidate they're looking for. Without achievements, your resume says that you're able to perform certain duties, but that isn't enough. Anyone can do that.

An achievement-less resume lacks quality information and makes it difficult for recruiters to know whether or not to bring a candidate in for interview. And typically, if they can't figure it out, they don't try to. They just move onto the next resume. After all, there are probably another 103 to go.

Quantify each achievement. Not only does it add credibility and reason as to why they should notice you, but it also clarifies the depth and breadth of your role, allows people to visualise and immerse themselves in your experience, AND is a LOT more interesting to recruiters than stock standard phrases copied from a job description.

Last but not least, your resume is essentially in a competition each time you send it out, vying for the attention of the reader, hoping to connect to a recruiter.

Recruiters are looking for that connection too. The recruiter is looking to be understood. For a candidate who gets their needs. For a candidate to make their job of finding the 'perfect' candidate a little bit simpler.

Irene Kotov helps managers and executives land jobs in exciting companies. Through online presence creation, resume writing services, and LinkedIn profile writing, Irene helps her clients stand head and shoulders above their competition during the job search process. You can catch up with her on Google+.


Comments

    Re: Keywords, what if you added 50-100 (legit) keywords to the end of your resume and used white font so that the human eye can't detect them, but their Resume scanning programs do? Dodgy or smart?

      It's up to you. Do you consider being manipulative as being dodgy or smart? You could argue either way.

      I'd advise being open and honest and leave the manipulation out of it.

        You sound like a fun guy.

        I agree with davedrastic on this one - I'd write the resume in a way that makes sense to humans, not to computers!

    "HR managers and hiring managers brief recruiters on their ideal candidate (enter above description of candidate Type A), so when scanning through hundreds of resumes in a candidate-rich market, they look to spot experience and qualities that they know will blow the socks off the hiring manager."

    I'd agree with this, but I would also add ....

    - a lot (read most) recruitment agencies will have a very cursory relationships with the client and will not be provided with a detailed brief, and will not have a strong enough relationship to allow for ongoing liaison. This is mostly due to the high commission based charges that are embedded in the industry, and the employers reluctance to pay such high fees to a recruitment agency that they don't have a long standing relationship with.

    Sure, there are plenty of corporations out there that will have PSA contracts in place and the HR Managers will schmooze regularly with the pretty folks from the recruitment agency, but by and large the majority of employer-recruiter relationships will be cursory, and that's an important thing to consider.

    - It's not just about finding the perfect candidate. Sure, perfect candidates are preferred, but they quite often don't exist. If you're a recruiter/recruitment consultant and you have 5 good applicants but none of them are truly ideal, are you going to choose to send none to the client? Of course not. If you send none you have zero chance of making a placement fee (a considerable sum in most cases). So, inevitably, the recruiter will send the best of what they have, as long as they broadly meet the clients requirements. After all, what the recruiter views as good, the employer may view as ideal. Who knows. Recruiters more often than not don't understand all the subtleties of a given industry, (and that's fine and to be expected), and would not want to risk losing tens of thousands of dollars, and potentially their own jobs, by not taking a punt and forwarding someone that may be well regarded.

    I'll wait for some recruiters to pooh-pooh this stance and belittle this approach as throwing mud expecting some will stick. And then i'll ignore them.

    "Those that receive a phone call are masters of creating this connection. They know how to funnel interest towards them. They understand the reader’s needs on a deeper level, and address them systematically."

    I agree, but at the same time you make it sound as if writing a functional resume is a magnificent task. It's not. It's incredibly simple, should take no more than an hour, and contains information that should be readily at hand to the writer.

    I don't see the point in trying to portray the resume as a Holy Grail.

    Just write a blinking resume. It's not that difficult.

    "It’s like going on a first date. Making a great first impression dictates whether you get an opportunity for another date. There are no second chances.".....and the ultimate way to do this is to start taking note of the keywords that are being used, and pepper them throughout your resume (assuming you have those skills of course). The job ad and position description acts as a cheat sheet of sorts."

    Yeah, I agree, but...

    Do you want to be the guy on the first date that does everything he can to impress the lady, or do you want to be the guy on the first date that presents himself in a nice, tidy fashion, and is completely honest about everything. If you like me great, if you don't, no problems. Plenty of fish in the sea.

    My point here is that most employers will not appreciate, and will easily be able to identify, the manipulative sales-fest that some applicants insist on, and will appreciate those applicants that are more open and honest in their approach.

    If you find an employer that likes to be bull-shitted and has time to waste, go the manipulative route. If you find an employer that wants to deal with honest people that get to the point, go the honest route.

    "Although it seems like a good idea to use a thesaurus, in actual fact, the recruiter’s mind is already primed to look for words listed in the job ad."

    There is truth in this, but it's more accurate to say that the recruiter is primed to look for skills, experience and qualifications that appear in the brief - which would also appear in a well written and transparent job advert (bearing in mind that most job adverts aren't well written and transparent).

    I can tell you that I do not pay any attention to buzz words, hyperbole and jargon that appear in either the clients brief or the candidates application. It's all fuzz.

    "Also, take note of a potential employer’s website. It will give further clues as to what their corporate culture is like, the formality of writing style used and can even suggest what their commonly used font is. Imitating small details like these can make you stand out amongst a crowd of applicants, giving the reader a sense that you already ‘belong’ on a subconscious level — an attractive trait for recruiters and hiring managers."

    Really? Isn't this all a bit jedi mind trick like.

    Why not present yourself as yourself and figure out if there's a fit or not.

    "Did you know that recruiters care very little about your resume if they don’t see achievements?"

    I disagree with this. Very much so.

    Achievements are icing on the cake. The most important aspects of your application is your experience and qualifications.

    Many roles do not lend themselves to listing achievements, and listing exaggerated achievements in order to impress can end up costing the applicant in the long run - i.e. if those achievements are not supported by a reference check.

    "Without achievements, your resume says that you’re able to perform certain duties, but that isn’t enough. Anyone can do that."

    No, anyone can not do that. Yes, for most positions there will be a high number of applicants, which means a lot of competition, and that's fine and the nature of the market. That doesn't mean that everyone can do everything, and it doesn't mean that the applicants experience means nothing.

    The applicants work experience is hugely important. It is the iceberg.

    "An achievement-less resume lacks quality information and makes it difficult for recruiters to know whether or not to bring a candidate in for interview."

    Wrong and wrong.

    Why are we scaring applicants into writing about achievements? To what end?

    If, as an applicant, you feel it appropriate to include achievements for some or all of your positions, then do - but please don't feel that it's obligatory, or get stressed if you don't feel in a position to list any.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that listing achievements is a bad thing, and i'm not saying that it won't help your application - I'm just saying that in many circumstances it will be difficult to list achievements and in not at all a requirement, and further, not as important as your experience - which is a requirement to be listed on your resume.

    I feel that this part of the article is presenting bad advice. And i'm not pointing that out to be mean to the writer of the article, it's ok for us to disagree, but because applicants do get confused and frustrated when they're given conflicting advice.

    One article says don't write more than 2 pages, someone else says list all of your relevant experience etc etc.

    I think applicants need to remember that how they write THEIR resume is up to them, and that they do need to employ some common sense in establishing what's best for them. Generally I would advise to stick to being clear, simple, honest and listing all relevant information - and if that's too much information, cut it down.

    A resume is not a novel. It's not an interview. It's not even a sales pitch (well, in some ways it needs to be - but go for the soft-sell approach).

    It's a representation of you and your work experience, skill set and qualifications.

      Hi there Dave,

      Thanks for your comment!

      Sounds to me like you're talking from your own experience here, from a recruiter's point of view?

      Regarding your point "recruitment agencies will have a very cursory relationships with the client and will not be provided with a detailed brief" - How can a recruiter do a good job this way? It baffles me to think that this is even possible. And it leads me to question what as a recruiter, their motivations are in the job they're in if this is the approach?

      If recruiters are not building a relationship with their clients and are not understanding their needs, "the best of what they have, as long as they broadly meet the clients requirements" would just come down to blind luck. Unless one is satisfying both the client and the candidate and working with them as a partner, the only motivation here is to make a quick buck (which is something that gives the industry a bad name unfortunately).

      Cursory relationships are not permanent. It's up to one to make a change. Hiring managers wouldn't turn recruiters away if they showed genuine interest by asking questions to figure out how to best help them in their sourcing efforts. In fact, they would view that with respect and would rave to their friends about it too. Which would mean more work for recruiters.

      HR managers get frustrated with recruiters who they sense don't really care, sending candidates that aren't worthy of their attention (I'm not talking about all recruiters here) because as you explained in your comment, they don't have the experience to understand the intricacies of roles. Recruiters on the other hand get annoyed that they don't get given the time of day, but unless they're focusing on relationships and the needs of the hiring manager/department, why should anyone care? Sending 5 candidates in the hope that 1 will stick merely reinforces the opinion. If I'm receiving 5 candidates from 3 agencies, I may as well put my own ad up online and save some money!

      This is not about finding the perfect candidate. It's about helping candidates phrase their experience in ways that a recruiter understands them. I can't tell you how many people I speak to who just aren't sure how to explain what it is that they do on their resume. This is because they just do their job. Every day. They don't think about it in terms of how a hiring manager views their responsibilities. Hence reading job descriptions and job ads (broadly) will help in this domain.

      I see your point about wanting to portray yourself in a "nice, tidy fashion, and is completely honest about everything" - which is exactly what I'm suggesting. Candidates also need to know what recruiters and hiring managers are looking for and reframe their experience to suit that. Not lie.

      Some candidates can do their jobs with their eyes closed and are not getting short-listed because recruiters aren't able to read between the lines because more often than not, recruiters don't understand all the subtleties of a given industry, as you pointed out. This is where keywords come in, no "manipulative sales-fests". I am encouraging candidates to start viewing their experience from the eyes of a hiring manager or HR manager. Common sense is also not always possible when you have only ever seen your own resume (and maybe your partner's). SO many people send their resumes out for months and months on end, receiving nothing but rejection letters, and never receiving a phone call.

      With regards to your views on achievements, I stand firm in non-agreement. Talk to any HR manager and hiring manager and they will tell you how important achievements are. Sure, not everybody can do their job. But anyone can write that they can do their job! However, not everybody has achievements on their resume that really have them stand out from the crowd.

      A resume is definitely "a representation of you and your work experience, skill set and qualifications". But more than that, it needs to connect to it's audience - the reader needs to understand it and know what is actually needed in order for it to elicit real interest.

      Irene

        "Regarding your point "recruitment agencies will have a very cursory relationships with the client and will not be provided with a detailed brief" - How can a recruiter do a good job this way? It baffles me to think that this is even possible. And it leads me to question what as a recruiter, their motivations are in the job they're in if this is the approach?"

        This isn't a facetious question, but do you work in the Australian market? Because if so i'm surprised by your response.

        Firstly, I agree that a cursory employer-recruiter relationship makes it difficult for a recruiter to do a "good" job (by whatever definition or classification of "good" we choose to go by). But I can assure you that it's very possible. And why wouldn't it be? All a recruiter needs to do is identify and process suitable applicants and forward their details - let's not pretend it's some epic task.

        Secondly, I feel I ought to explain why I have the view that (most) "recruitment agencies will have a very cursory relationships with the client and will not be provided with a detailed brief", which is purely based on my direct experience and general understanding of the industry, and is not able to be backed up with any research or statistics (that I am aware of). Note that I'm acknowledging room for me to be wrong, although I highly doubt that that is the case. Also note, that i'm providing the below explanation more for the benefit of readers as opposed to yourself (given that you're within the recruitment industry as far as I understand). Oh and my explanation won't be comprehensive as I've discussed this on several forums on multiple occasions and don't wish to go over it all completely thoroughly.

        Recruitment agencies (in Australia) generally work on a commission only basis - meaning that if a placement is made, the agency will receive a placement fee - which will generally be around the 15% mark of the total salary package (base+super+value of other benefits). It might be as low as 10%, it might be as high as 30%. And some companies will charge a flat rate which more often that not will be several thousands of dollars.

        Of course the total amount charged in the event of a placement will vary from recruiter to recruiter, but generally for most positions the cost of a placement fee will be $5, $10, $15, $20,000 (or more). In my mind, that's a substantial amount of money. A huge (and unwarranted) expense.

        On the flip side of that, there is no cost to the employer in the event of no placement.

        So, given this, an employer can utilise the service of multiple recruitment agencies to work on the same campaign and the employer will only need to pay the one company the one placement fee (presuming that there is only one position to be filled).

        So, that being the case, there is no down-side to the employer to use multiple recruitment agencies, and they have the benefit of more companies working (for free) on their behalf.

        So, in my experience, what generally happens is the employer that is happy enough to budget several thousands of dollars to throw at a lucky recruiter, will use all and sundry - and this generally limits the amount of time the employer wants to work with each recruiter.

        In other, shorter words, the whole process becomes a massive shit-fight, and whomever comes up trumps takes home the biscuits.

        Some corporations try to moderate this shit-fight (as I so eloquently put it) by introducing a PSA (Preferred Suppliers Agreement), which for some employers can include dozens of (pre-approved) recruitment agencies. That's never made sense to me. Limiting a campaign to 2 to 3 recruiters makes sense to me, but limiting a campaign to a dozen doesn't help matters much.

        And in regards to motivations of the recruiter, well that's a pretty simple subject to answer. The motivation is money, of course. Especially when there's a $15,000 grab-bag per placement on offer. Of course recruiters will choose to step into the fray, and will employ whatever tactic they can in order to win the day.

        This shit-fight that I speak of doesn't only negatively affect the bulk of the recruiters involved but has a high likelihood (again I'm not able to back this up with evidence or statistics, this is merely opinion and common sense based) of negatively affecting candidates in a multitude of ways. (which I won't go through here but encompass much of the frequent complaints you will hear about recruitment agencies should you be brave enough to step into such a discussion).

        It should also be noted that a recruitment consultant, the employee of a recruitment agency, will most likely be subject to monthly, quarterly, yearly targets - which will be focused on the dollar amount of revenue created by placements made. This puts a huge pressure on the individual recruitment consultant. If they get results, they will enjoy handsome commissions. If they don't get results, they will lose their job.

        People can become scared and greedy very easily, and this opens the door to corruption.

        By the way, yes I am very much in the recruitment industry, but I don't work for a company that works in the traditional ways as described above. There are alternatives out there, which unfortunately are largely ignored and misunderstood by the market, Australian management, the public and the media. It's a shame, but i'm not looking for sympathy here - although it would be nice for such subjects to be discussed in the media at some stage. I've been looking for nearly a decade and haven't read anything enlightening about the many recruitment companies that are trying to make a difference. Apart from my own writings, naturally.

        "If recruiters are not building a relationship with their clients and are not understanding their needs, "the best of what they have, as long as they broadly meet the clients requirements" would just come down to blind luck"

        I'd agree with this. Luck is very much apart of the recruitment process. I'm not quite sure I agree with "blind" luck - i'm not quite sure what you mean by that.

        You can advertise in every outlet possible. You can tap into your network or LinkedIn for months on end - nothing will guarantee that you source the right applicant.

        I'd say that a recruiter (and employer) can do their best to maximise their luck, to create their luck, but for sure you might have 10 excellent applicants, you might have zero.

        I'd say that luck is a part of the process with or without a strong relationship with the client.

        Unless, that is, that there is some magical process to guarantee perfect applicants that i've not yet heard of - in which case, do tell.

        " Hiring managers wouldn't turn recruiters away if they showed genuine interest by asking questions to figure out how to best help them in their sourcing efforts. In fact, they would view that with respect and would rave to their friends about it too. "

        I'm guessing that you don't have any statistics to back this up? You're going by your own experience, right?

        In my experience, hiring managers are aware that there are thousands upon thousands of recruiters out there, all pretty much doing the same things (that the client is also capable of doing), and (almost) all charging the same (extortionate) fees (allowing for some variations).

        In my experience, the hiring manager doesn't NEED to develop a relationship with the recruiter. They have plenty of recruiters they can choose from at any given moment. They don't need to give their time or effort to a recruiter that only has a small percentage of coming up with anything worthwhile.

        "Sending 5 candidates in the hope that 1 will stick merely reinforces the opinion. If I'm receiving 5 candidates from 3 agencies, I may as well put my own ad up online and save some money!"

        As a hiring manager, then yes, absolutely you "may as well put my own ad up online and save some money!" - and shouldn't you be doing that in the first place? Regardless as to whether or not you suffer the indignity of receiving the details of the best available applicants.

        "I can't tell you how many people I speak to who just aren't sure how to explain what it is that they do on their resume. This is because they just do their job. Every day. They don't think about it in terms of how a hiring manager views their responsibilities. "

        The correct part of the above statement is where you say "They don't think".

        Unfortunately many people don't think. They don't employ common sense. They get scared. They get confused. They're concerned that their attempt at writing a resume will somehow fall short of the high standards of the employer. This is why I feel it is important to give good advice in regards to resume writing.

        People, writing a resume is simple. Don't buy into the argument that it's a complicated process. It's not. Look at some how to write a resume guides, they pretty much all say the same things, put good information in your resume, keep it short and concise. Job done.

        Of course they know what their duties are.

        Unless you're applying for a job as writer of the most spectacular resumes in existence, you just need to put facts on paper.

        "I see your point about wanting to portray yourself in a "nice, tidy fashion, and is completely honest about everything" - which is exactly what I'm suggesting. "

        I don't think so - I think you're suggesting something else. I think that using keywords and choosing fonts and other appearance aspects on the basis of a potential employers website is manipulative, unnecessary and a little unsettling. That's my opinion, you don't have to agree with it.

        "Candidates also need to know what recruiters and hiring managers are looking for and reframe their experience to suit that. "

        I somewhat disagree with this too. I think the candidate should not worry so much about what the (individual) employer wants, and should focus on representing themselves in an accurate, clearly understood way.

        "Some candidates ...are not getting short-listed because recruiters aren't able to read between the lines because more often than not, recruiters don't understand all the subtleties of a given industry, as you pointed out. This is where keywords come in, no "manipulative sales-fests". I am encouraging candidates to start viewing their experience from the eyes of a hiring manager or HR manager.

        This is fair comment. It is important for candidates to explain their positions properly. One example of this is to mention the industry type of the company that you work for. The recruiter may not be aware that ABC Johnson and Co is a direct competitor of the company applied for. Stating the industry type will make that clear. Another example would be listing the technologies used, or stating the product ranges sold, or the territories worke d in etc.

        My point is that if clear and proper information is provided, there ought to be no need for calculated insertions of keywords. And that misplaced use of keywords can be viewed as manipulative.

        "SO many people send their resumes out for months and months on end, receiving nothing but rejection letters, and never receiving a phone call."

        That doesn't necessarily have anything to do with their resume, nor the use (or lack thereof) of keywords.

        "With regards to your views on achievements, I stand firm in non-agreement. Talk to any HR manager and hiring manager and they will tell you how important achievements are."

        Again. I'm guessing that you're not able to back this up with statistics or research, that you're simply stating your view based on your experience?

        I also take it that you mean "and they will tell you how important it is to list their achievements on their resume"

        "But anyone can write that they can do their job! However, not everybody has achievements on their resume that really have them stand out from the crowd."

        To be clear, I think that having an Achievements section within a resume can be a good thing, and in many cases, where there are genuine achievements to list, is beneficial to add. I'm disagreeing with your assertion that ALL applicants should list an Achievements section, for the reasons that I previously stated.

        "A resume is definitely "a representation of you and your work experience, skill set and qualifications". But more than that, it needs to connect to it's audience - the reader needs to understand it and know what is actually needed in order for it to elicit real interest."

        Of course. This is why I advise applicants to concentrate on presenting a clear, concise and accurate resume.

        In order to elicit real interest, the applicant needs to have suitable experience, skills, and qualifications. Jazz up the resume all you like but without that it doesn't add up to much.

        Keep it clean. Forget the fluff. Don't attempt to write a master piece. Don't attempt to squeeze yourself into a position that you're not particularly suited to.

      I have to agree, I've only been working HR for my company for a number of months and my girlfriend works in a similar position at another company. We absolutely do not look for "achievements" but rather like to ensure that their history simply displays that they fit into their position comfortably and efficiently. I just don't know where to begin with this article, being someone who deals with recruitment managers on a daily basis, I'm bewildered by how much of this resume seems common knowledge to the internet. It makes a certain sort of sense from an outsider's point of view but reads like a bunch of assumptions. Like I said, this isn't anything new, it just seems blatantly incorrect. When I talk to my recruitment manager and he tells me something different, I guess that just means we all do a terrible job, right?

        Hi losturtle,

        I hear what you're saying - a lot of what is in this article seems to be common knowledge and quite obvious to someone who works in HR or is in Recruitment.

        We, as HR professionals, know what we're looking for in a candidate. Clearly we care about their work experience and job responsibilities. They need to be there. We want a candidate to not have jumped around too much, and to have the proper qualifications. Those factors, candidates cannot control and are fixed. What I mean is candidates have either done the job or haven't. They've either jumped around or they haven't.

        If you put all that aside, what do we look at next? During my years in HR, I saw that a lot of it came down to achievements, keywords, grammar, language, and having all the information easily accessible. Might seem obvious to you, but I can tell you that I see hundreds of resumes a month, most of which make these very simple and obvious errors. It's something that I believe needs to be hammered home - as these little mistakes can alter the course of somebody's life!

        The other thing I'm keen to hear your opinion on (and anyone else, feel free to join in), is that if there's truly no focus on achievements in the market, then why do I consistently speak to people who are saying that recruiters don't stop raving about achievements and the need for them? Is it possible that there are two camps to this debate?

        Irene

          "The other thing I'm keen to hear your opinion on (and anyone else, feel free to join in), is that if there's truly no focus on achievements in the market, then why do I consistently speak to people who are saying that recruiters don't stop raving about achievements and the need for them? Is it possible that there are two camps to this debate?"

          Shocking news just in. Recruiters disagree on something.

          Part of the problem in discussions like these is that the subject is relevant to so many people that it's pretty much impossible to come up with hard rules and recommendations to suit everyone's circumstances. And when giving advice, I think it's important to bear that in mind and to make that explicit - otherwise the risk is your giving (many) people (readers) advice that is not suited to them and in so doing causing unnecessary concern.

          You might be working with applicants within a certain segment of the market, another recruiter might be working with applicants at a completely different level. Your advice might be spot on for the segment that you largely deal with, but not to others.

          For what it's worth, I deal with a very high number of applicants across a very broad range of positions and industries. That doesn't mean that my advice is the be all and end all (and to be clear i'm not saying that it isn't) but it is general advice suitable for a significant proportion of applicants out there, I would say.

            Dave, I'm ok with us disagreeing on this. Yes, believe it or not, recruiters will disagree too. Either way, recruiters aren't the only people who view resumes, and recruiters should keep this in mind because it could impact whether your candidate gets chosen for interview. As a HR manager/hiring manager, I know I would want to see achievements and have expected this in the past.

            I too work with applicants across a very broad range of positions and industries now and have in the past. I've gone from HR business partner to running my own careers business which includes resume writing as one of the services. In my own business, I've seen first hand the huge impact that a) following these above points has, and that b) having someone write a candidate's resume who follows the points above has. The impact I'm talking about is - the majority of these men and women get interviews with recruiters (and land jobs) when they never could before.

            Nobody's advice is the be all and end all. There is no magic potion that will have anyone's resume guaranteed to be noticed, however simple thought put to the points that I've raised in my article can go a long way.

            If you'd like to chat offline, feel free to contact me. Perhaps there could be a way that we can combine our opinions about this topic, to make a greater difference? irene@arielle.com.au

    "Also, take note of a potential employer’s website" - which will often tell you that despite their corporate reputation, they have no attention to detail and don't employ the rockstar high-achievers they claim.

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