This is Exactly What Recruiters Look for on Your Resume

looking at resume

Here is a little secret: Recruiters spend on average only 6 seconds scanning over your resume. Try scanning this blog post for 6 seconds and see what you notice. Probably not a lot, right? Maybe you saw a few bolded headers and skimmed a sentence or two. This is exactly what a recruiter does when they see your resume. We asked 5 of our recruiters exactly what they look for in a resume. Keep reading to find out their responses:

Resume Formatting

“When looking at a resume, one of the first things I take notice of is how the resume is organized. If the resume is not structured in a way that makes it easy to read, I’m not likely to continue reading since I have so many other resumes to review.” – Jennifer Ibeanusi, Senior Recruiter

Proper Use of Keywords

“The most important thing that any person can have on their resume is keywords. I search for keywords using an artificial intelligence program. If there are no keywords then it will most likely not ever make it in front of me in the first place. Instead of long-winded descriptions of each job I would suggest that all candidates use lists of keywords so that they will show up in relevant searches by recruiters.” – Brooke Stevison, Senior Recruiter

Content & Basic Information

“When looking at a resume, I check for basic information such as name, location, contact information, and most recent position. Next, I look through their experience and education (which should include where they worked or went to school, start and end dates, job title or major, and responsibilities or coursework). Finally, I look for possible red flags, such as unexplained gaps or job-hopping, typos, and poor grammar.” – Kim Holmes, Client Success Manager

“I look for a professional-looking resume; no spelling errors; someone who really took the time to present themselves in the most professional way. Do they have the relevant experience for the position they are applying for?  Did they list additional items such as volunteering experience that shows a little bit more about themselves and what they enjoy? Did the candidate take the time to explain any “gaps” in their employment since this  causes a big red flag for recruiters and employers?” – Beth Koziara, Senior Recruiter

“When reading through resumes, I love seeing specific achievements/goals that were achieved by the candidate. I also look for keywords that are specific to that industry (i.e. shrink in the retail industry).” – Phoebe McLean, Senior Recruiter


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One thought on “This is Exactly What Recruiters Look for on Your Resume

  1. What a great post! I really enjoyed reading this because I have worked as a recrutier for more than two decades and I have operated resume writing business for another decade. I do know a thing or two about recruiters, resumes, and how recruiters read resumes…

    You are right on about the fact that they don’t spend much time reading the details on a resume. After carefully reading the comments from all five recruiters, I tend to identify most with what Kim Holmes, Client Success Manager has said. And if I may add anything, I would say that while reviewing resumes as a recruiter, I always kept one thing in mind: “Is this the content of this resume laid out and presented to me in such a way that I can easily turn it into a two-paragraph synopsis and repeat it in an easy-to-follow-style for my client (the employer) or do I have grey areas? Is the timeline easy-to-follow or does it require a lot of explanation?”

    Thank you again for this great and thorough post.

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