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What Do Recruiters Look For In A Resume?

Recruiters looking at a resume on the first glance spend an average of just 6-seconds on each application.  What you read is correct, just a mere 6-seconds is spent on each resume that a recruiter opens and looks through.

Recruiters, especially at bigger, more well-known companies, receive hundreds, if not thousands, of resumes for a position every day. 

I once sat with a friend who was head of recruiting at a major telecommunications company and he showed me their internal portal where the resumes received landed.  It was a disaster.  There were thousands of unopened resumes and applications.

People from all parts of the country and around the world were applying for these positions.  And 99% of them would never even have their applications opened.

So, how can you stand out in 6-seconds?

You need to take a proactive approach with every application you send.  We know it’s more difficult.  We know it’s more time-consuming.  But really, the only way to increase your chances when hitting submit on that online application is by curating your resume to the position.

So, here are five tips from recruiters on your best shot at increasing your chances at landing that interview.

Utilizing relevant keywords on your resume will substantially increase your chances of landing an interview.  Besides passing the applicant tracking system, recruiters will specifically look for these keywords on your resume when considering your application.  If they do not see these keywords, they will move on to the next application.

How do you overcome this issue?

  • Read and reread the job description and look for 10-15 keywords which are relevant to the job
  • Now, take those 10-15 keywords and add them into your own resume. Don’t just sprinkle them around.  Actually use those keywords within a coherent sentence which shows off your skillset.
  • Finally, make those keywords bold on your resume. Your job is to catch the recruiter’s attention and bolding those specific words will do the trick.

Have A Consistent Story

For the most part, you should have a consistent story when it comes to previous experience.  If you’re looking to become the Director of Marketing, your resume should follow in chronological order.  For example, you would want to have experience as an Associate Marketing Manager, to a Senior Marketing Manager, to a Manager of Marketing.

This consistent, chronological story shows that you’ve been working towards your goal of becoming a Director of Marketing for some time now.  On your resume, you want to downplay or remove work experiences which don’t help with your overall story.

Use Action Verbs

Recruiters want to know what you did.  What actions you took.  And how you directly helped the company.  They’re uninterested in the mundane.  What actions did you specifically take and what were the overall results?  That’s what they care about.

Use the below action verbs when describing your experience for best results.  We’ve broken the verbs into entry level and managerial level experiences.

Entry Level

Achieved

Administered

Assembled

Conducted

Coordinated

Created

Demonstrated

Devised

Edited

Ensured

Evaluated

Explored

Formulated

Functioned

Gained

Gathered

Handled

Obtained

Organized

Oversaw

Participated

Performed

Planned

Prepared

Prioritized

Processed

Promoted

Recognized

Researched

Revised

Scheduled

Set up

Simplified

Targeted

Worked With

Wrote

Managerial Level

Accomplished

Advised

Advocated

Analyzed

Audited

Authorized

Balanced

Clarified

Communicated

Completed

Consolidated

Consulted

Convinced

Counseled

Delivered

Designed

Determined

Developed

Directed

Discovered

Earned

Elected

Eliminated

Employed

Enabled

Encouraged

Engineered

Established

Expanded

Facilitated

Forecasted

Generated

Heightened

Implemented

Improved

Increased

Instituted

Instructed

Interpreted

Interviewed

Launched

Managed

Marketed

Maximized

Mediated

Modified

Motivated

Negotiated

Operated

Presented

Produced

Ran

Realized

Received

Recommended

Reconciled

Recruited

Reduced

Represented

Reviewed

Saved

Supervised

Transformed

Quantify Your Achievements

Now that you have your action verbs, you’ll want to quantify them with something.  This means you need to show exactly how you improved the situation or made a decision that led to an overall improvement.

Your goal here is to show improvement.  The best way to do that is with number and percentages.  You can say, “I grew the email subscriber list” or you can say, “I implemented 3 initiatives to drive new email subscribers, resulting in an overall lift of 43%.”  Which one do you think sounds better?

Follow The Correct Templates

You’ll want to tailor your resume dependent on your position, experience, and work history.  A seasoned, experienced, industry veteran would want to display different information than someone straight out of college.

  • For new or straight out of college resumes
  • Focus on highlighting your internship experiences, the classes you took which relate to your career choice, and any extracurricular activities and skills.
  • For experienced professionals
  • Focus on your actions and activities at your previous roles. Highlight impacts you made directly and any leadership and team skills.

Conclusion

Following the right template and resume wording is tough in the beginning.  But if you practice and look at resume templates online, you’ll find it gets easier.  Always show how your actions led to growth and a positive outcome for the company.  Also, for additional help, feel free to check out our free resume help.

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