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How to Get a Recruiter to Read your Resume

The typical recruiter is working on 5-25 jobs every day. Our days consist of sending email, reviewing applicant resumes, making cold calls, coordinating interviews, conducting interviews, chasing candidates, reviewing more applicant resumes, catching up with our consultants, attending meetings and networking events. We are busy. Very busy.

How to get a recruiter to read your resume

Along with the steady stream of resumes we receive directly from applicants, our databases pick up thousands of resumes a day from job boards. As a result, we receive a very large number of resumes to review. From the candidate perspective, I know and understand that it can feel like your resume is being sucked into a black hole as soon as you click “apply.” I believe I can speak for most recruiters when I say, we don’t want that; we don’t intend that. It’s just that we are human, and we are outnumbered by the vast amount of resumes.

If you are a good fit for a certain job – we want to find you. We want you to be the star that you are, because that makes you happy and it makes our clients REALLY happy. With that said, here are some simple and effective tips on how to get your resume through the clutter and in front of a recruiter or hiring manager.

Be Qualified

Make sure you understand the job at hand. Thoroughly read the responsibilities and the basic requirements. Only then can you honestly assess if you are qualified for the position. Have you performed the required responsibilities listed in the job description in your current role or previous roles? Is this a job that you are ready for now – or one you would like to have but honestly could use a couple years of ripening? Be qualified for the job to which you apply.

*This also means appearing qualified. Make sure your resume reflects the requirements of the specific job. If you need to, update your resume with more details that highlight your relevant experience. Save multiple copies of your resume that focus on different aspects of your skill set to save time in the future.

Tell a Story

Clearly and precisely demonstrate how you’ve performed this role in the past or how your past has left you with a strong and obvious aptitude.  How have your prior experiences prepared you to make this leap? Show progressive responsibilities and a career trajectory.

Make It Easy

Use keywords. If you’ve used a specific technology, methodology, approach, technique, whatever – tell us! We’re not mind readers. We can assume you used a specific tool based on the position, but if you used it we wonder why you didn’t say so. The keyword is not the end of our understanding of your resume. It is the beginning. It piques our interest and makes us read the surrounding content.

Be Found

With today’s technology we are cutting through HUGE amounts of data – let yourself be found. Not only do keywords make it easier for us to understand your fit for a position, they also allow your resume to be picked up by our database so we can tell you about the great opportunity that you are an excellent candidate for that you didn’t even know about.

Be Credible

Avoid major claims without supporting evidence. Don’t overdose on extravagant adjectives. Loaded claims without context won’t add value to your job search. This includes listing classic functions of the position you are in – apply some details of the project or industry. Demonstrate that you can talk the talk. Whether cutting costs or growing revenue, tell us how you made a difference.

Be Polished

Use spell check, good grammar and a pleasant, easy to read format. Having a polished resume will not land you a job, but not having one may get you weeded out.

Lauren Pavka occasionally blogs at Genesis10. Read her post: How to Work with a Recruiter to Get the Job.

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