Recently, the immense project of interviewing several hundred
recruiters / headhunters was completed to find out what they are saying
about resumes. The recruiters were from varied specialties and industries
throughout the US and Canada, (Engineering, Information Technology, Sales
and Marketing, Executive, Biotech, Healthcare, Administrative, Finance, etc.).
The project aimed to find out what are the recruiter's likes and dislikes
in a resume they receive, and what is going to get a resume read by them.
Some of the "Pet Peeves" will be obvious, while others might surprise a
TOP RECRUITER PET PEEVES ABOUT RESUMES
# 20 - Burying or Not Including Important Information in the Resume
# 19 - Gaps in Employment
# 18 - Resumes Written in the 1st or 3rd Person
# 17 - Not Easy to Follow Summary
# 16 - Pictures, Graphics or URL Links
# 15 - Resumes not sent as a WORD Attachment
# 14 - Poor Font Choice
# 13 - Objectives or Meaningless Introductions
# 12 - Lying or Misleading Information
# 11 - Employer or Industry Information Not Included
# 10 - Personal Info Not Relevant to the Job
# 9 - Candidates Who Apply
to Positions They are Unqualified.
To gain experience in an area, you need to start out somewhere, and
recruiters understand this. Nevertheless, recruiters are buried up to
their eyeballs in resumes. Recruiters do not have time to sort through
hundreds of resumes that are in no way a match for the requirements
they are trying to fill. Steve Kendall of Management Recruiters of
Atlanta West shares the following comment, "When someone submits an
obviously unqualified resume, the person receiving it resents them
wasting their time. It also delays the consideration of other
applicants who ARE qualified. This resentment doesn't help start a good
relationship with that recruiter." Make sure to read the job
description. If the requirements are, "must have US citizenship and
ability to obtain top security clearance," do not submit your resume to
this position if you require H1 sponsorship.
Steve further adds, "All recruiters receive unsolicited resumes. If
you are from the same profession or industry as a job posting, and do not
fit that particular job, your background may fit other current or future
jobs that will be worked on by that recruiter. Sending your information to
them makes sense, however, don't try to pretend that you are qualified for
a job when you are not."
Jennifer Baker of Inter*Link Technology Solutions in Daytona Beach, FL
added, "Candidates who may not have direct experience in a particular area
may still be a good match, however, it is this group of candidates who need
to go the extra mile when presenting their resumes. Tell the recruiter in
specific terms why your background makes you a good fit for this job. Otherwise,
the recruiter is going to be puzzled as to why you have sent your
Recruiter Tip: Phil Dubois of Pride in Personnel in Markaham, Ontario
offered this advice, "My initial reaction, (receiving resumes from unqualified
candidates), is negative. The easiest remedy is to provide a simple
introductory statement 'while my qualifications do not match your requirements,
please accept the attached for your files in anticipation of future,
# 8 - Long Paragraphs
Recruiters want a resume's details to be short, concise and to the point.
No recruiter has the time to read long paragraphs, which look like a
narrative out of War and Peace. Mark King of MRI Atlanta made this statement,
"In today's world, recruiters and hiring managers want/need bullets, quick
access to information and experience, not drawn out sentences to describe
Usually, a candidate only has 20 seconds to grab a recruiter's attention.
However, in the process of interviewing the many hundreds of recruiters for
this project, it appears the consensus is more likely less than 10 seconds.
Make sure you quickly get to the "meat" of what you are trying to communicate
about yourself. Your resume should be easy for the reader to "scan" your text
for your skills and accomplishments. Consider using the following formatting
- Use blunt, paraphrased bullet-points
- Use appropriate amounts of "white space" to help guide your reader
Recruiter Tip: Think of a resume as "ad copy." Take a look at the
Sunday circulars in the paper. Notice how the ad copy is easy to read and
is spread out using key bullet-points to emphasize the criteria consumers
are using to make a buying decision. For example, cubic feet of storage
space, ice maker, water dispenser, color, side by side doors, price, etc.
Understand that a resume is only to get you in the door. If you get a call
on your resume, it has done its job!! It is now up to you to "connect" with
the person you are interviewing with.
J. Michael Worthington, Jr.
Adopted, with permission, from the
Frequently Asked Questions about Resumes
Q: What information should I put in my resume?
A: A resume is a short account of one's career and qualifications.
An effective resume should be a clearly written, concise document
which presents your work experience, skills, accomplishments, education
and relevant personal data. A well-written resume should emphasize your
abilities and achievements and specific responsibilities. Keep in mind
the business needs of prospective employers.
Q: Should I put a job objective on my resume?
A: Job objectives can limit your options, unless you create a new resume
for each position for which you apply.
Q: How long should my resume be?
A: A one-page resume is preferred, though a two-page resume can be just
Q: What's the difference between a chronological and a functional resume?
A: A chronological resume outlines your work experience by dates;
a functional resume outlines your background by broad-based areas of
responsibility. Your choice of the format to use depends on how you want
your skills to be highlighted. It is possible to combine the best features
of both types of resume.
Q: What kind of paper should I use?
A: A heavy-weight white bond is optimal. If you send some resumes by Fax,
the type won't be as clear on a colored background.
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