by Rachael Del Pino

RecruiterI recently read an article stating that Recruiters spend an average of 6 seconds looking at your resume.  As a Recruiter, I would wholeheartedly agree with that statement.

Since you only have moments to capture our attention, it seems only fair that you have some insight into which components make us want to keep reading and which will cause us to swiftly move onto the next resume in our queue.

The first thing that I notice, before I look at any of the data on the resume, is the format.  If it is clean, concise and consistent it makes it easier for me to read and consequently, makes me want to keep reading.

Fonts should be the same size and type throughout the document.  If you bold one title, bold them all; or vice versa.  Keep your spacing and section headers consistent as well.

The next place my eyes go is to your name and contact information.  Make sure you include your email address (and also ensure that it is professional) and a correct phone number.

If you are applying for a job outside of the local area (that does not offer relocation assistance), remove your address or use a local address where you might be staying if you move there.

Most Recruiters will not consider non-local candidates if there are no relocation dollars available, but if you are serious about relocating yourself, this method can be an effective work around.

The next area I scan is the summary/qualifications statement.  This section should be tailored specifically to every job you apply to.  If I read the summary statement and it appears to be totally unrelated to the job you are applying for, that is a big red flag.

The job market is too competitive to for you to appear complacent, especially in the first paragraph of your resume.  There is NO one-size-fits-all resume.

You must modify it to the job or at a minimum the industry you are applying to.  Use keywords and phrases from the job description to further impress and captivate the reader.

The next section I will look at is education or work experience, depending upon which you have listed first.  Education should be listed before work experience only if you are a recent (within the last 2-3 years) graduate.

In the education section, I’m looking for a related degree (if required) and the year of graduation so that I can determine how much experience you likely have.

In the work experience section I’m scanning job titles, company names, start and end dates for at least the last 2 positions held.  I am looking for any red flags – short tenure, unrelated jobs or industries, etc.

The technical skills section is another area that I will scan within the first few seconds, especially if I am recruiting for a highly skilled/technical role.

I want to know that the candidate has the required technical skills before I read anything else.  For these types of positions, it can be a good idea to put that information at the top of your resume (below the summary statement) so the Recruiter doesn’t have to go searching for it.

These recommendations are general guidelines to follow.   Every recruiter may give you a slightly different spin on this and certain jobs require unique resume formatting, but from my experience, this is generally how it goes.

With an average of only 6 seconds to capture a Recruiter’s attention, it is imperative that you make it easy for us to find the critical job related data and entice us to want to keep reading.

Rachael Del Pino

Rachael Del Pino has significant experience in recruiting and talent management for Fortune 100 companies, as well as a master’s degree in Management with an HR concentration from the University of Central Florida. She also owns Accendo Careers, a career development and coaching company.  She has an innate passion for helping people reach their highest career potential.


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