Ask Vicki: What do recruiters look for in a resume at first glance?
In this answer on Quora, Monster career expert Vicki Salemi tells you where on your resume the bullseye is located.
Each week, Monster’s career expert Vicki Salemi—a former recruiter who utilizes 15-plus years of experience in recruiting and human resources to empower job seekers—answers user questions on Quora. We’ll be republishing the answers here. If you have a question for Vicki, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. What do recruiters look for in a resume at first glance?
A. It depends what position the recruiter is looking to fill. When I recruited economists, candidates absolutely had to possess their Ph.D., so, that was the first thing I looked for. When I recruited accountants, they absolutely had to have earned their bachelor’s degree in accounting.
In other roles, I needed a specific skill set. In the tech world, for example, it could be a computer program, system or certification.
Overall, recruiters are looking for someone whose career progression tells a connected story, as opposed to someone who worked here, there and everywhere without developing and polishing a specific skill set relevant to the job they’re applying for. If there are gaps in your resume, you should explain what led to those gaps. You need to identify and address any potential red flags, because otherwise recruiters can leap to incorrect assumptions. For instance, include a one-line explanation like, “Company downsized, and then due to a family emergency I spent a year by my father’s side. I am now immersed in a full-time job search and ready to reenter the workforce.” Connect the dots on your resume to show a recruiter that you have a defined career path firmly in place.