How Recruiters Read Your Resume

Many employers enlist the help of staffing agencies to help them fill open positions, both permanent and temporary, which means your resume needs to get through a recruiter before it is ever seen by the hiring manager. So in order to optimize your resume for review by a recruiter, you need to know what goes through a recruiter’s head as they read it.

First, before a recruiter even opens your resume, you have to give them a reason to do so.  Recruiters are inundated with dozens, if not hundreds, of resumes per day. This means your cover letter needs to draw a recruiter in and make them want to take the next step, which is reviewing your resume. Your cover letter should be brief and to the point, quickly listing why you are a qualified candidate. The brevity is important because recruiters receive so many applications per day – they are not going to spend too much time reading a full-page essay about your entire work history.

So you’ve gotten a recruiter to open your resume, now what? Again, recruiters are extremely busy professionals who are often working to fill multiple job openings at once. They quickly scan through a resume looking for certain key words and experience before moving on to the next one. This is why it’s important for you to closely review the job description and/or posting before applying, and then update your resume appropriately. If the job posting says they are looking for candidates with sales, PowerPoint, and nonprofit experience then make sure all three of those words are easily found within your resume – ideally more than once!

It’s also important to note that recruiters spend the majority of their days looking at resumes, so they’ve learned to spot inconsistencies. This is why it’s important for you to always be 100% truthful with the information on your resume. By sending your resume to a client, a recruiter is putting their relationship with that client, as well as their own professional reputation on the line. They will not send a resume if they believe a candidate might have fibbed about their dates of employment, title, or work experience. You should also know that if a recruiter thinks there might be an inconsistency on your resume, they will not hesitate to investigate it, so always be upfront and truthful both on your resume and in your correspondence with a recruiter.

A recruiter will also hesitate to send any resume that is poorly written or contains multiple spelling and grammar mistakes. Again, their reputation is at stake when sending a bad resume. They do not want to tarnish their relationship with their client by sending a resume filled with grammatical errors, especially when there are tons of other resumes in their inbox that might be well-written. For this reason, you need to double- and triple-check your resume for any inconsistencies, or grammatical or formatting errors. At the end of the day, both your potential job and their job/reputation as a recruiter are on the line.

By understanding a recruiter’s mindset when reviewing your resume, you can get a leg-up on your competition and ensure your resume will catch the eye of the next recruiter who sees it.

The Importance of Building Relationships with Networking Contacts

As we have said time and time again, networking can be the key to you finding (and landing) your dream job! The problem is that many professionals get lazy after making a connection with a new networking contact and fail to follow up afterwards. For example, you meet someone who works in your desired industry, or works for a staffing agency that specializes in placements in that industry. You discuss your job search and exchange business cards with a promise to keep in touch, but you never hear from them again, nor do you reach out to them on your own. Failing to follow-up with a networking contact could potentially result in you missing out on a great opportunity, so read our advice below and learn how to properly follow-up in a way that can benefit your career.

 

  • The first step would be to research your new contact. Google them and/or connect with them on LinkedIn to learn more of their own work history and how it could benefit you.
  • Next, you should reach out via phone or email within two weeks of meeting them. Sending even a brief email can help to cement your initial connection. For example, say that it was a pleasure to meet them and you would definitely like to connect again soon.
  • Setting up another meeting, such as having lunch or meeting for coffee, would be your next step. Bring a copy of your resume with you, and discuss your career goals so that you can see whether or not your new contact would be able to aid you in your job search.
  • After having a meeting with your contact, it’s important to continue to follow-up and stay in touch. Check in with them every couple of weeks or so in order to keep your connection strong.

 

How to Get to Work on Time

Every successful employee has one thing in common: they get to work on time. Bosses like people who get to work on time. They don’t like people who are late all the time.

It helps to prepare for your morning the night before. When you’re ready to turn in for the night, it’s easy to tell yourself that you will be able to get everything for your day ready in the morning. It always seems much harder when you wake up. The clock counts down on you without mercy as you scramble to get out the door.

Here are some things you can do the night before a job to make your morning smoother and get you to work on time.

  • Make a dressing station:
    • Iron your work clothes for the next day and hang them up in one place. Put your shoes under them – ready to throw on. Lay your socks, t-shirts, ties and and/or any other accessories nearby. Now you won’t be making a frenzied search for these items in the early morning while the clock ticks down.
  • Make a food station:
    • Pack your lunch the night before. You may think you will pack it in the morning – not very likely.
    • Get your coffee travel mug, water bottle etc. staged in one area, ready to go.
    • Put water, coffee and a filter in your coffee machine in the evening. In the morning, simply push the button and enjoy the invigorating aroma of some fresh java. Your caffeine fix is on the way!
  • Plan your route:
    • Print out a map of where you are going the night before.
    • For smartphone users, have the address written down somewhere so that you can plug it into your phone’s map program. Don’t rely on just putting it in your phone – it could get deleted.
    • Make a habit of looking at where you are going the night before, and plan out how long it will take you to get from door to door.  Add 15 minutes for delays!

These tips are simple and may seem obvious. But they can help you to avoid being that panic-stricken person sprinting to the Metro in the early morning.

 

Random Resume Tips

Your resume should evolve as frequently as your career does, so you should constantly be improving and editing it while on the job hunt. To help you, we’ve provided a list of random tips you should keep in mind the next time you go to edit your resume’s content.

  1. In your job descriptions, list your responsibilities in order of importance and significance. If managing your company’s social media pages was your biggest responsibility, list that first. If you only spent about 5% of your time answering phones, list that last.
  2. List your months of employment along with the years. Employers want to be able to easily comprehend your work history and spot any employment gaps on your resume. If you don’t list the months, they might think you are trying to hide something.
  3. Include your full contact information on your resume. Some applicants don’t include their phone number on their resume because they don’t want to get bogged down with calls from recruiters. They don’t realize that by making themselves inaccessible to recruiters, they are also making themselves inaccessible to employers they might actually want to hear back from.
  4. Send your resume in a Word document if possible. Employers might not be able to open your resume file if it is saved in a PDF format, and .txt documents can be difficult to follow visually due to their lack of formatting.
  5. Don’t worry if your resume is longer than one page. The “one-page resume” rule is antiquated, and employers would rather see your whole work history on several pages than have you exclude work experience in order to fit everything on one page.

How to Apply for Jobs That Do Not Exist … Yet

Did you know that as few as 20% of open positions are posted on job boards? This can be an alarming fact for job seekers who apply for work exclusively through job postings found online. So how do you go about landing a job that you don’t know exists, or isn’t currently open? You apply! If you find a company you are interested in working for and see that they do not have any current openings listed that match your skill set, you should still submit a cover letter and resume to that company’s human resources department or to a suitable manager within the organization. That way, when an appropriate position does open up, the hiring manager will hopefully already have you in mind! YouTern.com has provided a helpful template to use when applying for a job that doesn’t exist:

 

Subject line: <Your Job Title (for instance, “Website Developer”)> Interested in Career Opportunities

 

<First Name of HR/Recruiter/Hiring Manager> –

My name is ________, and I am a <recent grad from _____ OR your job title and your expertise; for instance, a “web developer who specializes in small business websites.”> I hope you’re doing well.

 

I realize you do not currently have a job opening listed for a <Your Job Title>; however, I would still like to make introductions and explore ways I can help your team with <your value proposition; for instance, “developing user-focused website projects.”>

 

I checked out the <company name’s> website and like the projects you are currently developing, in particular:

  • <the name of a relevant project with an explanation for why you are interested>
  • <the name of a second relevant project with an explanation for why you are interested>

 

For the past _____ years, I have worked with <your experience so far with examples of past clients; for instance, “various media firms in Houston to create sharp websites for a range of clients. I have completed websites for a veterinary clinic, auto body shop, 24-hour gym, family-owned grocery and a teacher’s supply store.”>

 

When time allows, please see a few examples of my work here:

  • <Link to Example #1 of your work, if available; you can also attach files if it makes more sense>
  • <Link to Example #2 OR attached file>
  • <Link to Example #3 OR attached file>

Note: If you are a recent grad with limited real-world experience, provide links to college projects, case studies, internship projects or volunteer efforts. Let the person see what you’re all about!

 

I have attached my resume to the email. Please let me know if I can provide more information.