The top 3 things recruiters look for on your resume: Make it ‘idiot-proof’ to find them, experts say

October 11, 2023

Looking to impress a recruiter? You’ll want to do it immediately — they only spend an average of six to seven seconds looking at your resume before they decide if they’ll want to move ahead, according to job list site Indeed.

Ultimately, there are three things every recruiter is looking for when they scan that document, says Amanda Augustine, career expert at TopResume: accuracy, authenticity and applicability.

‘You cannot lie’

Accuracy is “by far the most important” of these three elements, says Augustine.

A resume’s job is to give a sense of who you are, what you do and whether you have the skills, experience and education it takes to do the job you’re applying for. And “you cannot lie,” says Augustine. “They will catch you in lies.”

If the job description asks for a specific technical skill, for example, and you overstate your ability to do it or claim to be able to even if you can’t, “especially for technical roles, they typically test today,” says Augustine. It will become clear throughout the process if you truly have the experience you claimed to have.

Making sure that your resume is “an accurate representation of your skills and your experience is incredibly important,” says Augustine.

‘Is this person going to fit in with the rest of the team?’

“TopResume did a survey with employers and hiring professionals saying, ‘what are the most important qualities for a candidate?’” says Augustine. And “authenticity was in the top three.”

Authenticity refers to the extent to which your resume gives a sense of who you are as a person. Recruiters want to know, “what is this person like? What would it be like to work with them? Is this person going to fit in with the rest of the team?” says Augustine.

Including an interests section at the bottom of your resume that outlines some of your passions could help give a sense of this. The section can feature just one line listing three of your favorite things, like running marathons or writing fan fiction.

The professional summary at the top of the resume can also be a good place to touch on such interests.

Your resume should be ‘positioned around a particular job’

“One of the biggest mistakes” people make when submitting a resume is using the same one for every job, says Augustine. That’s “a waste of your time and a waste of the employer’s time.”

The same resume is not necessarily going to be 100% applicable for every job. Some jobs might call for more technical experience. Others might call for more writing. Others, still, might call for more presentations in front of a team.

A well-written resume “is not just telling your career story and demonstrating your value,” says Augustine. It’s “all framed or positioned around a particular job.”

Read the job description carefully, see if you can book an informational interview with someone at that company and tweak your resume so that it reflects its professional and cultural priorities.

Make it “idiot-proof that I meet those qualifications,” says Augustine.

Credit of this article goes to: Gili Malinsky of CNBC, please find the original article at