A Well-Composed Resume
What a recruiter wants to see is that you have a cohesive thought process, and can articulate
well what you’ve done, and what you bring to the table. In addition to being well-worded, the
resume must be clean and concise, allowing the recruiter to quickly and effectively scan your
resume. When an error comes to our attention, it means the candidate is not very good at
spelling, grammar and details, or it means they didn’t put in the effort to ensure a clean
resume--or both. In either case, it doesn’t create a good impression of you as a candidate,
and it may just be enough to put you on the
‘Thanks, but no thanks’ pile; instead, we'll
move on to the huge stack of resumes that
you're competing against.
What's the next step in your career?
The recruiter will want to see that your experience leading up to the new responsi-
bilities is adequate, and makes you qualified to take that next step. This candidate
involves a little risk on the part of the employer because they have to make an
educated guess that the candidate could fill the role successfully; on the other hand,
this candidate would probably be motivated to succeed with the increased responsi-
bilities, the increased title, and what would most likely be an increase in compensation.
This is fine, and is a situation in which it’s easier for recruiters to match up your back-
ground and experience to the challenges and expectations that will be found in this job.
Is an applicant willing to take a step backward in his career? This is often a red flag,
because it may indicate an applicant that’s desperate for a job and is willing to take a
step or two backwards, just to come on board for a few paychecks as he continues his
search for a job more in line with what he's qualified for. On the other hand, there are
circumstances in which taking a step back is perfectly understandable, such as you’re
now an empty-nester and have downsized your home, and you no longer need as
much income because your expenses have decreased--and perhaps you no longer
want the same amount of responsibility in your career. If this is your situation, make
sure this is clearly conveyed on your resume!
What Recruiters Look For in a Resume
Here are some reasons why you might be eliminated...
When a recruiter reviews your resume and judges you as an applicant, there are certain
things they’re looking for--many of which will cause you to be instantly eliminated.
It’s important for you to know the recruiting and hiring function within an organization is often
very expensive. In addition to simply the cost of the recruiters, managers and other
employees within the recruiting department, there are the costs of posting their open jobs on
the Internet, and searching for resumes in the databases of various job banks. In fact, it’s not
unusual at all for larger corporations to spend $100,000 annually or more for just those two
services alone. Then add in the cost for outside recruiting firms; they're typically quite
expensive and so are only used when it's absolutely necessary--and oftentimes it is!
Consider the cost of bringing a candidate in for an interview; what’s the cost of the recruiting
coordinator's time to arrange the interview, or the cost of the time spent by the recruiter and
hiring manager and others during the actual interview? There’s the cost of the background
checks and drug tests, and the administrative costs associated with bringing a new employee
on board. And what about the training time when a new employee comes on board, and their
less-than-efficient work for their first weeks or months as they’re learning the ropes? The
point is, the recruiting and hiring process is very expensive, and the last thing we want to do
is hire someone who will quit in six or eight months--or even a year or two--requiring that we
go all through the process again. It’s for this reason that longevity is a very critical aspect of
one’s employment history. Unless we’re looking to bring in a temporary worker for a short
period of time, we want to hire someone that we know will be dependable, is serious about
their career, and will stay for at least a reasonable amount of time. Short terms of employ-
ment in a person's background may be indicative of an applicant’s lack of dedication to their
employment; it could also indicate the previous employers’ dissatisfaction with their perfor-
mance. Either way, this is a red flag. Believe it or not, I had a conversation with a candidate
who had 17 jobs in less than seven years; he thought he made a great candidate because
he had such varied experience. Truth is, this is an individual I'd never
A candidate with little or no experience will have a tougher time being
selected for several reasons, not the least of which is they have very
little history on which a recruiter can draw a conclusion about their
dependability and talents; in this case, the candidate should expand
on the volunteer or other activities in which they do have experience.
Consistency in Employment Type
Another important aspect of one’s employment history is consistency.
Many applicants go from one type of job to the next, not really caring
what it is; he knows he won’t be there very long so it doesn’t really
matter what the job is. Well, it does matter to a recruiter. We want to
see someone that has a thought process in terms of their employ-
ment, someone that takes their career very seriously; someone that
knows what they like and what they’re good at, and who will stay in
that area. Instead of working as a fast food worker, then a production
worker, then a customer service representative, we’d rather see
someone that has been in one type of work for a good amount of
time. A legal secretary may have moved from one law office to
another, but the important factor is the consistency in being a legal
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