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5 Things Recruiters Look for in a Resume

Dec 29 2015

Looking for a job is a stressful experience, and it can be a long one, too. You go out to interviews, sit through the gruelling questioning, hoping your answer was a correct one. Even worse, you have to wait for days, sometimes weeks, for an answer from the employers. Job searching really is nerve-racking. And you can have all the necessary skills, experience or education, for the position you are applying for. Nevertheless, if you do not present yourself in the right way through your CV, the chances of you getting that job will be very slim.



Every recruiter is looking for a qualified candidate, but even if the candidate is the right one, your bad CV can cost you the job. There are a few things the recruiters look for, and you should know what those are. On that account, here is a list of things you should pay attention to when making your CV because that’s what the recruiters will look for.

1. Readability

Whatever you put in your CV, it has to be readable. What does readable mean, you might ask? Well, it means that the format of your CV is simple, first of all. Do not just copy/paste some format without adjusting it to your information. Also, choose an appropriate font. Please, do not choose Comic Sans. Moreover, check your spelling and grammar. This is really important since it will show how educated you are. If you want, you can have a friend or colleague proofread it just to be sure everything is alright. Furthermore, if you are a graphic designer, you can design your own CV and show your skills there. It will be fun and useful. You will certainly showcase what you know. But in the end, what matters is a clean, readable format. Something that recruiters can read in a few seconds and get the information they need within that time.

2. Most recent jobs

Why is this important? Well, by looking at your work history, the recruiters can get a sense of what you have been up to, and what you might be capable of doing. Also, if you are currently employed but you still applied for a new position, then the recruiter might be wondering if you are not satisfied at your current job or something like that. Additionally, if your last position lasted only a few months, the question whether you were fired and why might be raised, as well as why you weren’t able to keep your job. But, the most important reason why your recent jobs matter, is to see if you have worked in similar positions and/or industry. This can help you a lot, since it shows that you are already familiar with the industry you want to work in.

3. Keyword search

Nowadays, many companies use a computer program to pick out resumes by using keyword research. This is why it is crucial to carefully write your CV, with strategic planning. When writing it, think about the position you are applying for, but also about your previous ones, too. If you are applying to be a manager, and you have a degree for it, or have worked in that position before, then make sure you put that keyword in the CV. For example, put Marketing Manager or Project Manager. Furthermore, if you have knowledge of programming then putting Javascript or Python could do wonders for you. Obviously, it is all about good thinking. However, it doesn’t mean that you should put unrelated keywords in your CV just so that you could be picked out by the recruiter. Making the CV relevant is what’s important. And lastly, do not think you can fool anyone by using white font to hide the extra keywords.

4. Gaps

If you have gaps in your resume, it might be a bad sign. In case you have gaps between jobs and cannot explain them, other than saying you were too lazy to work, then you might have a problem. Gaps are good only in a few scenarios. For example, if you took off a few years to start your own company and have been self-employed, then the gap is totally justified. Or, if you have been committing yourself to your children, giving birth and raising them, then that too is justified. Everything else that might be the reason for the gaps, is bad. Perhaps if you hold your ground and explain the gap, then maybe the recruiter will give you a chance. The worst case scenario is that you were doing nothing in those few years. The reasons such as “I was not interested in working” or “I was lazy” are very very bad explanations. So, be careful about your reasoning and make sure you can fill in those gaps with excellent explanations.

5. Companies you have worked for

This is similar to looking at your most recent jobs. By getting to know your work history, the recruiters will be able to figure out who you are as a working person. If you have worked in several companies from different industry fields, then you might seem like someone who is capable of doing many things. Moreover, it shows that you have knowledge in a few disciplines and that you are perhaps adjustable. If you get to the actual interview, you might be asked about your previous jobs and what were your tasks; if you liked your assignments, and which one you liked more. Additionally, they can ask why you to chose from two different industries. Everything is relevant. What is more, your history will tell the recruiters to what kind of work environment you are used to. Whether it is a strict office job, or if you are capable of being in the field, constantly on the move. Therefore, keep in mind that your work history can tell a lot about you, even without you saying a word.

As you can see, it takes a lot of thinking and planning when writing a resume. You have to think of ways to sell yourself to the recruiters. If you are invited for an interview, then it means your CV was good and you managed to get their attention with just a piece of paper. That piece of paper can either make you or break you. Therefore, don’t underestimate its power.