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Career and job search help for creative professionals.

Career and job search help for creative professionals.

Blue Sky Resumes is a small team of professional writers and job search experts. We offer one-of-a-kind resumes, smart career advice and fantastic customer service. This is our blog.


7 Ways to Impress Recruiters with Your Resume


Recruiters are a justifiably jaded bunch. (Having been one, I know this for a fact!)

They spend large amounts of their time reading resumes and they have seen every trick in the book. This makes them extremely hard to impress. Trust me, if you think you’ve come up with a creative way to hide your career flaws from a recruiter, you’re wrong. They’ve seen it before and they can spot it a mile off.

So how do you impress them? Here are 7 strategies that work:

1. Be concise

Don’t use 10 words when 3 will do and don’t pepper your resume with big words because they sound impressive. Recruiters want to know the facts about you and they don’t want to wade through oceans of ‘resume speak’ to get to those facts. Use simple, clear and direct language throughout your resume and you will have a head start on all the “accomplished team leaders leveraging resources across global infrastructures, locations and satellites while delivering exceptional cost savings in cross-functional and highly matrixed organizations.”

2. Drop the cliches

Resume writing is one of the only endeavors where people seem to think copying is the thing to do. If they’ve seen words frequently on other resumes, they assume those same words belong on theirs. So recruiters have had more than their fill of ‘dynamic, results-oriented team players’ who ‘think outside the box.’ Trust me – if the best you can come up with is ‘think outside the box,’ you’re not thinking outside the box.

3. Stick to the facts

Recruiters are paid by their clients to find candidates who meet certain factual criteria – for example, they may need someone with 10 years of industry experience, or someone with a history of working in companies over a certain size, or leading teams of 100+. Whatever the criteria, it is fact-based. Sure, the employer may also have specified some important personality traits, but they can’t be judged based on your resume – those will be evaluated during an interview. This means that your resume should cover all the key facts a recruiter needs to know. How many people a manager supervised. How many users an IT person supported. What budgets an executive controlled. All these facts must be on your resume and easy to see.

4. Show a little personality

At first glance this might seem contradictory. I just told you to be factual and now I’m saying to show some personality. But by showing some personality, I don’t mean straying from the facts. I just mean that you should present those facts in fresh and interesting language that reflects who you are. That’s the best way to stand out from all those other dynamic, results-oriented team players’

5. Write a profile that summarizes the important facts

I like to start resumes with a summary that describes my client in just a few lines. Some recruiters skip these altogether, but the ones who read them are not interested in generic claims or descriptions of how fabulous you are. Once again, they want the facts. Tell them how many years experience you have. Summarize 3 of your best accomplishments. List the high-profile companies you’ve worked for. In other words, select whatever facts are most impressive about you and use the resume profile to highlight those. Oh and drop the objective statement – no recruiter cares what you want. He figures you’ll worry about your own needs. He has a client to worry about.

6. Focus on Your Impact

Spend almost no time on job responsibilities and instead use the space to tell a story of how you made an impact in each of your jobs. If each section of your resume doesn’t clearly show how you can make a difference, you are losing out on interviews. Don’t tell me that your job required you to handle filing for the whole department – instead, tell me that you cleared a backlog of 8 months filing in just 2 weeks and then developed a system to keep things running smoothly. That’s the kind of information that makes a recruiter want to meet you.

7. Give them proof

It’s one thing to describe how fabulous you are, but it’s quite another to validate those claims by providing evidence. Have you won awards for your work? If so, highlight them right up front. Have you earned several promotions? Say so in the introduction. Are all your performance reviews glowing? Tell them! Have all your former managers enthusiastically agreed to be references? Boast about that fact! Any time your worth is validated by someone else, use it on your resume.

Impressing recruiters isn’t easy – but it’s not impossible if you follow these 7 pointers. If you’d like more help with your resume, check out my free resume writing course.(And if I missed anything, please feel free to add a comment).

Photo by thekeithhall

Read more about Resume Writing.


About the Author

Louise Fletcher

Louise co-founded Blue Sky in 2002 after a career as an HR executive. Her industry experience includes music, video games, fashion and advertising. She lived and worked in the US for many years, but moved back to her native UK in 2012, where she now lives in the Yorkshire countryside. In addition to her full-time role with Blue Sky, she's a professional artist, so you can imagine why she couldn't answer the 'what do you do with your free time' question! Contact Louise by email.

5 comments on “7 Ways to Impress Recruiters with Your Resume”

  1. Get marQued says:

    Be very clear in defining the name of the job or job title you are so qualified for. Be specific. Avoid general terms such as: I am seeking a Management position. Well, OK, but what kind of Management position are you seeking? Marketers signal in on one product at a time and so will you!

    You will hit the bull’s eye when you define your precise career direction and put that down on paper. When your prospective employer reads it, they should have no doubt that you are seeking the exact job that they need filled.

    After starting your resume with your contact information, your next section will clearly start with your job objective. Once your prospective employer can see that what you bring to the table is what they want, they will continue to scan for more.

    Employers separate the wheat from the chaff very quickly. They look for objectives that meet with their own expectations. They know there are many prospects out there that really don’t know what they want.

    Employers are not looking for these types. Your objective will convey that your objective proves you will make the kind of contributions to the company that they need and want.

    Keep in mind, too, that an employer is looking for a candidate who will meet their own needs, and not for one who is looking to meet his or her own goals and agenda.

    Your goal can be to offer this company your unique skill set and experience, but, the key is in putting that across in a way that proves you are their to service them and not the other way around.

    Your resume must grab them within the first few seconds, so, your objective must be dynamite! Clearly state the job title you are going for and then add a few key phrases to show you will meet their exact needs…more on this later.

  2. Great advice, Louise.

    I’ve recently recorded an online Career Coaching Q&A video with clients, because get asked about resumes a lot – ‘How Important Is A Good C.V?’ (http://youtu.be/oFBuQV8Wcb4). As you can see, I advise that – whilst a resume isn’t appropriate in every case – when it *is*, they need to seek out some good advice on how to pull theirs together.

    I shall be directing them to this site in the future!

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