DIY Guide to Recruiter-Proofing Your Resume

2013-02-28 | BY Proven Recruiting's Editorial Team | IN Job Seekers, Recruiting, Resume & Interviews

DIY Guide to Recruiter-Proofing Your Resume

We’ve all heard the statistic – these days, a typical recruiter spends an average of six seconds reviewing a resume. As a professional recruiter myself, I can confirm this to be true.

Yet it’s important to note that six seconds is an average figure, meaning that it represents a wide range of experiences. Some resumes I’ve encountered capture more than six seconds of my attention. Some capture much less.

Have you ever applied for a job and didn’t hear back?  Or – even worse – received the non-descript, automated, “thanks but no thanks” rejection email?  If so, then your resume may have ended up on the wrong side of the six second rule.

Recruiters never want to miss out on a great candidate because of a trivial detail, but it happens all the time. Don’t give us reason to spend even less time with your resume! Check your CV against these recruiter-generated “Dos” & “Don’ts,” and gain the attention you deserve:


  • Resume Length: The standard length of a resume these days is two pages.  Anything more than that is really annoying and a waste of time and paper.  You don’t need to add everything you’ve done in your life, just add the highlights and what is relevant to the job you’re applying for.


  • Beach Front Property: The first page of a resume is “Beach Front Property.”  You have to catch the attention of the resume reviewer on the first page.  Make it count.


  • Professional Summary: At the top of your resume include three bullet points that go from general to specific.  Ask yourself, does it make an impact?  You want the bullet points to be memorable.


  • Functional Titles: People reading your resume won’t necessarily know what a System Analysts II is, so make your job titles functional and descriptive.


  • Dates: Make sure to add the start and end date of your activities. The use of numbers helps to better represent your experience.


  • Aesthetic Value:  Does the resume look good? Does it flow?  You want your resume to be visually pleasing and easy to follow.  You don’t want the reader to struggle with your resume.


  • Stop and get a 2ndOpinion: Don’t spend more than 1 hour at a time on your resume.  Have a family member or friend read over your resume.  They may catch a mistake you didn’t see.


  • Spelling & Grammar check:  A single typo can be a deal breaker.When re-reading your resume look for any spelling and grammar mistakes.  Make sure that you are using the correct tense.  You want to ensure that present and past tense flow consistently.  Also make sure that you are using complete sentences and correct punctuation. Lastly, don’t rely on spell check because it doesn’t catch everything.


  • Reread the Resume: Make sure your resume makes sense to you as well as an HR person or assistant that knows nothing about your industry or what you do. You want your resume to be easy to follow.


  • Maintain different versions: It is a good idea to have multiple versions of your resume because each resume should be tailored in response to each job.  Bullet points should be rearranged and/or bolded to highlight relevant experience.


  • Keep track:  This sounds like common sense, but many people don’t do it. Keep track of where and when you send your resumes to companies, especially if you send it to a recruiting firm.  Make sure the recruiting firm notifies you BEFORE you send out your resume to a company.  If a company gets your resume from multiple sources, it makes you look desperate and/or incompetent.


  • Paper: Don’t waste your money by printing your resume on anything other than standard 8.5 x 11 paper.  You can use better quality paper, but it will not help you get a job.


  • Pictures: Avoid using pictures unless you’re a real estate agent or model.


  • Pay:  Avoid paying for help with resume building.  Instead try to work with a recruiting firm or buy a book online.  When searching for a resume book, read over the reviews to find the one that works best for you.  Paying hundreds of dollars is not a good investment of your money or time.


  • Get too personal: You should only add personal traits, hobbies, religion or interests if they directly relate to the job you are applying for.


About the author



Kristina is an experienced recruiter with almost 5 years of experience in Executive Search. She most recently served as a Research Associate for a retained Executive Search firm specializing in the Life Sciences sector. Kristina’s search work in the Life Sciences has encompassed assignments for large pharmaceutical, mid-sized biotechnology and venture-backed development stage companies. She has identified candidates for key leadership positions in broad functional areas across Research and Development, Marketing and Sales, and Corporate. Kristina’s background also includes employment as a national recruiter for travel nurses for hospitals, clinics and surgery centers. Kristina graduated from the University of Houston with a BS in Sociology and a minor in Economics

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