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Resumes that Catch the Recruiter’s Eye

Posted on: October 15, 2009

I can honestly say I have reviewed so many resumes in the past 3 weeks that my sight is blurry and my eyes are red or read.  Yep, I am back in the recruitment game, looking for talent to fill a variety of different positions.   I recently posted a few jobs on Monster and Workopolis and was totally blown away by the response, which by the way leads me to write this Blog.  Lots and lots of resumes – many bad resumes – most likely not intentional.

If you are in-between successes and submitting your resume online or via email please  take head to the suggestions below:

1.   Don’t apply to the positon if you’re not qualified for the job.   Recruiters review your information very quickly and it only takes us one click to dispose of the resume.    Yes, I know you are thinking the recruiter will see your great experience and even though you are not qualified for this job maybe it will trigger a thought or a connection to another job.  Good thought but 9 times out of 10 we are concentrating on the “job” at hand and it is just easier to “click” over to the next resume.

2.   Whenever possible include a cover letter which links your skills to the skills required for the job.   Personally, when I see this type of cover letter it leads me to review the resume for more detail.

3.    Always include a “Skills Summary” or “Summary of Qualifications” on your resume at eye level.  These are the skills used to grab the recruiter’s attention and promote the desire to read more.  Eye Level – right there below the Heading.

4.   Whether your resume is chronological, functional or a combination of both, be sure to use action statement.  State what you did, how you did it and the results.    Recently I reviewed several resumes of Industrial Millwrights for a Maintenance Mechanic position – talk about brief –  bullet points, i.e. “preventive maintenance” – that’s it no more, so what does this mean?  Performed preventive maintenance, wrote an article on the subject, what?  Remember, the resume is designed to get you the interview not the job.  List your  key accomplishments – what you did, how you did it and the results of your actions. 

5.   Don’t list hobbies on your resume unless you know the person who will be reviewing it.  Sad but true, hobbies can be held against you – people are only human and sometimes impose their own subjective thoughts based on what they read.   Better to be safe than sorry – besides the resume is designed to be a professional document to depict your business, school and work experience – it is not the right place for personal items about yourself unless it directly relates to the type of job you are going after.

6.   Your resume should be no more than 3 pages – in fact 2 pages is just about right.  I mean come on now do you really believe a recruiter is going to read a 6 page resume? Nope, not even a 4 page resume – like I said earlier my eyes go to the “skills summary” section and if I don’t find what I am looking for my eyes go no further.

7.   List your education toward the end of the resume, unless you are a student who does not have prior work experience.  Why?  because while the recruiter is jumping over to the “education” section something may catch their eye to encourage more reading.

8.   Don’t include a lot of graphics on your resume – remember resumes are usually scanned or uploaded into a database and graphics can distort the way the data is presented.   Hence my earlier statement about “bad resumes” – I’m betting the sender did not intend for the resume to look this way – so beware and take care.

Remember, think like a recruiter when submitting your resume.   Design your resume to “catch the eye” of the person reviewing it.

Until next time, keep smiling and remember take one day at a time because you never know what tomorrow may bring.

 

Lee Koren is certified as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR).  She specializes in recruitment, selection and career transition.  Lee is certified as a Master Trainer in behavioural interviewing.

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