Resumes for Corporate Recruiters

Feb 11, 2016

What Do the Best Corporate Recruiters Look for in a Resume?

When applying for jobs, a quality resume is one of the most important documents for your recruiter. Potential employers want to know what you can do for them, so effectively marketing yourself through your resume is crucial. Corporate recruiters will spend less than 30 seconds scanning a resume to answer the question, “Am I interested in talking further with this person?” If your resume gets a “Yes” then you made it easy for that recruiter to find what he or she was looking for in your resume.

Your resume should provide an overview of your work experience, job duties, skills, accomplishments, professional associations, educational background, and other relevant information. At the very least, it must include your name, address, and contact information, as well as positions held, dates of employment, and any degrees obtained.

While you may spend hours fine-tuning your resume, most recruiters only spend 15-20 seconds reviewing it. Some say a resume only gets as little as six seconds. For this reason, your resume should be easy to scan quickly. Your information should be accessible and not require any extra work on the recruiter’s part. So, what do recruiters look for in a resume?

Use Sections and Bullet Points

What a recruiter looks for in a resume is often the most recent role, company recognition, and overall experience. When a resume is formatted properly, it only takes seconds for a good corporate recruiter to analyze your work history.

Use headings to create sections for each area you want to highlight, such as education, work experience, professional associations, or awards. Use a boldface font for job titles and company names to help recruiters notice them.

Use a bulleted list to highlight your duties and accomplishments within each job. Hit the high points; don’t tell your life story. Paragraphs take longer to read and bulleted lists stand out aesthetically and make scanning your resume easier for time-crunched corporate recruiters. One tip to make bullet points better is to drop all pronouns from the resume. Don’t say, “I created reports for my boss.” Say, “Created reports for management.”

Experience Trumps Education

What corporate recruiters look for in a resume is job experience. If you catch his eye, he’ll likely read your resume in depth, but only if he already likes you as a job candidate. Experience trumps education…most of the time. It definitely depends on the industry as well as the company.

If you’re a recent graduate, your lack of job experience may give you “resume writer’s block.” Corporate recruiters look at recent graduates’ resumes a bit differently than applicants who are established in an industry. On your resume, you can include relevant coursework, internships and summer jobs, and extracurricular activities, especially if you held leadership positions.

However, if you are established in your career field, you likely have a lot of content for your resume, but don’t include your job duties and nothing else. Employers expect you to do your job, so highlight your accomplishments and how you made a difference in your previous positions. If you are fluent in another language, have specific software or graphic design skills, or hold advanced certifications, mention those on your resume. If you have a website or online portfolio, include links to it as well. Don’t be bashful!

How have you saved a company money, made money, or solved problems? Backing up your experience with numbers, statistics, and quantifiable metrics is one of the best ways to toot your own horn on your resume. If you’re proficient with a piece of software, include the number of years you’ve worked with it. Include the percentage by which you increased sales at your last company, or if you developed new software programs, mention the number of programs you developed.

Performance metrics show you can deliver measurable results that corporate recruiters are looking for, so strive to add at least one metric to each job position or responsibility.

Tailoring Your Content

Corporate recruiters are more likely to notice a resume tailored to the job position over a cookie-cutter resume. When writing your resume, study company websites and pay attention to their language and values, then focus on what you have to offer the company and address their needs and priorities. Be sure to include all skills relevant to the position, including technical skills.

When describing your skills, experience, and education, include keywords relevant to the position. Often, recruiters use an app to scan a database of resumes for keywords related to the job, and then it returns those particular resumes. Changing the wording slightly in some job duties and accomplishments can sometimes make a difference.

Help Corporate Recruiters Answer the Question

When a recruiter is looking at resumes, the main question they are thinking about is: Does this candidate seem like they stand a chance of being a good match for this company or role or for similar future positions and how often have you changed jobs? One thing corporate recruiters look for in a resume is whether or not there are any gaps in employment. This information can help a recruiter judge whether or not you’ll be a good match.

Check your resume for red flags that could leave questions in the recruiter’s mind, such as employment gaps. Always include the months and years you worked at a company or held a particular position. Not including the months of employment can be a red flag, especially if you only stayed at the job for year or two, in which case a recruiter could assume you are hiding a gap in employment. If you have legitimate gaps in employment, explain those right on your resume. Staying home to care for young children for three years shows that you have respect for your family. Starting your own business, even if it flops two years later, shows tenacity and passion, which can also be impressive.

Proofread Your Resume

One of the final steps in resume preparation is proofreading and editing your resume. Having a trusted friend or family member check your resume for grammar and spelling errors is a good idea. After spending hours writing, you may miss small errors that a different set of eyes could catch. Small grammatical errors or misspelled words will likely get your resume noticed by recruiters, but not in a good way.

What do YOU Want a Corporate Recruiter to Look for in YOUR Resume?

Remember, applying for jobs can be a full time job in itself. Properly formatting your resume with sections and bullet points, highlighting your accomplishments, and tailoring your resume for each position makes a great impression on recruiters, which will help in the hunt for your dream job. Make it as easy as possible for corporate recruiters to not only find you, but to also want to hire you.

About the Author

Charlie Kimmel

As President and CEO, Charlie has dedicated his 25+ year career to executive search at Kimmel & Associates. Charlie began his career at Kimmel & Associates in 1990 as a Recruiter. In 1993, he graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina at Asheville, where he received a BA in History.

Read More About Charlie Kimmel
Contact Kimmel and Get Started Today
Let Us Help