How To Get Recruiters To Actually Read Your Resume

You may think that a recruiter or hiring manager will read your resume from top to bottom as soon as they receive it. They won’t.

You may also think that every, single, thing you’ve done over the last 20 years is important. It’s not.

Most readers will quickly scan your resume looking for information relevant to the job they are trying to fill.  A first read generally lasts only a few minutes. If your resume is 3-5 pages, they may not review the entire document.

In most cases, only if a recruiter or hiring manager likes what they’ve found on the initial scan will they read the entire resume.

While there are mixed opinions on how long a resume should be – no one’s resume needs to be seven or eight pages. Yes, when I was working as a recruiter I saw them. I still see them today.

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3 Reasons Recruiters Aren’t Calling You

As a businessperson, I go to a lot of networking events. Some, like SHRM, provide professional development. Often, I’m speaking at job seeker groups. Wherever the event, I always meet people who are looking for a new job.

Their most common complaint is not getting interviews.

Before becoming a resume writer, I worked as a recruiter. That means I reviewed countless resumes and spent hours on LinkedIn looking for candidates. That experience gives me some insight into why recruiters call some candidates but not others. Here are 3 reasons.

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Protect Your LinkedIn Profile Today

When Microsoft purchased LinkedIn, everyone knew there would be changes. The end of last year, LinkedIn rolled out a big one. It’s called Resume Assistant.

According to LinkedIn, Resume Assistant provides samples from successful professionals that can be used as inspiration for members who want to update their resumes.

“Resume Assistant, provides real examples of how other professionals are describing their work experience — such as how they write their profile summary or explain responsibilities in their role — so you can highlight your skills in the right way to get the job you want.”

Read LinkedIn’s latest Resume Assistant promo here.

Essentially, it allows LinkedIn members access to the summaries, job descriptions, etc. of other members. Once the member provides their industry or target job title, Resume Assistant pulls what is called “insights” from other members’ profiles.

One problem is that it’s not opt-in, it’s opt-out. So, you profile can be accessed by Resume Assistant unless you change some of your settings.

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Do You Have A “Tombstone” Resume?

The best resumes, the ones that will get a hiring manager’s attention, are marketing documents. They are designed to sell you (the product) to a potential employer (the buyer).

They are not laundry lists of responsibilities. They are not boring employment histories. They don’t include every job you’ve ever had or every single thing you’ve done during your career.

That style of resume is sometimes called a “Tombstone” resume because it is directed towards the past, not the future.

Your future.

When you’re putting together your resume keep these 5 things in mind.

1) Your resume is a marketing tool. It’s not an employment history or a job application. While you should never lie or grossly exaggerate, you should frame the content in a way that sells you to a potential employer. Here’s why lies matter.

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How To Stand Out From Your Competition

If you’re planning to look for a new job in the next 6 months, it’s time to start working on your resume. Now. Whether you’ve decided to write it yourself or plan to hire a professional writer, it ALWAYS takes longer than you think it will.

Getting recruiters to notice you isn’t easy.

As a recruiter, most of the resumes I received were much like reverse-engineered job descriptions.  A few years later, the resumes I review as a resume writer are much the same. Even the resumes of C-level executives.

Under each job title, there are long, bulleted lists of job duties and responsibilities. Boring. To get an employer’s attention include a brief overview of each position followed by 3 to 5 bullets that demonstrate value.  These are things that stand out, things that had a direct impact on your team, department, maybe even the company.

Make sure to quantify your results whenever possible. You may think that saying you made millions of dollars for a company is impressive. But, it’s not. Employers want to see numbers. For example, the campaign you developed built your newsletter list by XX.

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6 Point Executive Resume Checklist

You may have heard of Marshall Goldsmith’s bestselling book What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful.

The truth is, it’s the same with resumes. The resume that generated interviews early in your career, won’t get you noticed once you reach the executive level.

The resume that listed your duties and responsibilities won’t impress recruiters and employers who are filling executive roles. Here is a 6 Point Checklist for developing an interview-generating, executive resume.

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Avoid Inconsistencies That Can Scare Employers Away

One of the fastest ways to scare recruiters and hiring managers away is with inconsistencies. If you’re actively looking, your resume may be the first time a potential employer meets you. If your resume catches their interest, the next step will be to view your LinkedIn profile.

To avoid raising eyebrows, make sure they won’t find any surprises. Your LinkedIn profile and resume shouldn’t mirror each other word-for-word. But there shouldn’t be inconsistencies either.

Job Titles

Start by making sure the job titles on your resume and LinkedIn profile are the same. If you have an obscure or inaccurate job title, you may choose to include the actual job title and a more accurate title with it. For example, if your job title is Analyst II, but your position is more System Analyst, you use Analyst II (System Analyst).

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Resume Bloopers: Bad To Bizarre

During your career your resume is one of your most important marketing tools. It’s  often the first time recruiters and hiring managers meet you. While some may overlook a typo or two there are some mistakes that you cannot recover from.

A recent article on “Interview Bloopers” was so popular I decided to follow it up with one on resumes.  With this in mind, I asked recruiters and hiring managers to send me some “Resume Bloopers” things that made them stop and say “I can’t believe that he or she put that on a resume!”

These are listed in what I consider bad to worse to bizarre.

Too Much Information

I’m in the construction industry. I’m always surprised to receive a resume with a headshot. To add to the blooper, an individual will often include: Divorced – 2 Adult Children – 1 Dog – Healthy Non-Smoker! This type of resume makes a recruiter cringe. It makes the company even more vulnerable to discrimination claims.

—Submitted by Revee While, Director of Marketing, Primaris

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