Ever wondered to yourself what the most critical areas are on your resume when a recruiter is giving it the initial review? As a former hiring manager, I will tell you exactly where I’m looking when I review your resume. However, don’t just take my word for it; a recent study on recruiter behavior conducted by The Ladders confirms exactly what I’m about to tell you … recruiters spend the most time reviewing the following areas:
1. Your contact information. Believe it or not, this is critical in a recruiter’s search. Mostly because they want to ensure you’re located near the position for which they’re recruiting so that you can easily make it to interviews—and also not have a ridiculously long commute to work.
2. Your most recent job title. I believe this is why it’s so important to put a job target/job title at the top of your resume. It makes vital information easily accessible to recruiters so that they don’t have to spend too much time searching for it. That being said, they will scan down your resume and look at the most logical place your previous employment would be listed. What they are looking for here is relevancy to your most recent positions. Have you previously been in this position before?
3. Dates of employment. When I was a recruiter I was trained to not call anyone with fewer than nine months of job longevity at previous employers. Fewer than nine months indicates that you may be a job hopper—which makes you a potential risk to that recruiter.
4. Primary Job Accomplishments/Responsibilities. You can say a lot about what your previous duties were just by simply writing accomplishment-based statements on your resume. Attach numbers or metrics to everything when possible. Don’t just tell them you improved sales; tell them by how much. Don’t just say you can retain customers; show them you can by providing your retention rates.
5. Keywords/Core Strengths. Most recruiters will scan a bulleted keyword section at the top of your resume to find matching keywords from the position they are trying to fill. Make sure your resume includes the most relevant keywords, and put this section at the top of your resume. Don’t make the recruiter go searching for it.
6. Education. You can almost guarantee the recruiter is going to be looking at the bottom of your resume to find out if you have the credentials the position requires. If you don’t hold the minimum level of education or certifications for the position, consider yourself weeded out.
These are the top six areas a recruiter will be reviewing in his or her initial resume scan to determine whether you are a match for the opening the company is trying to fill.
And this illustrates why it’s so critical that you customize your resume for each and every submission!
It’s important to remember to brand your resume before applying to each new position for more information on branding check out my recent article 5 Key Areas to Target When Branding Your Resume. You can also get additional job search and career related advice by checking out our blog or following us on Twitter @GreatResume.
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About the author
Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast
Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.
What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.
You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!
I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!
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