Resume Secrets: The Top 5 Things Recruiters Look For


Whether you are looking for your first job or are seeking a career change, job hunting can be a daunting task. Almost every opening requires you to submit a resume and that resume is often the first glimpse a potential employer gets of your qualifications.

Many times, recruiters only have a few seconds to decide whether your resume goes in the ‘call for an interview’ pile or the ‘not interested’ pile. Because those seeking new employees may receive hundreds, if not thousands, of resumes each day, they must narrow down their choices to a few using specific criteria. These are items the majority of recruiters search for when they glance over resumes.

By including these items in your resume, whether you are doing it on your own or using a resume builder, and wording them so that they are eye-catching, you have a better chance of getting the call for that important interview.

Matching Job Title and Functions

The first thing a recruiter looks for on a resume is whether the job titles you have held and the duties you performed match the position you are applying for. This can be difficult if you are moving into a new career that is different than your experience. However, you can write your job duties so that they match the new position more closely. 

Look over the job posting and determine which duties will be required under the new position that are similar to what you did in a previous position. Write the functions of your job so that they match what the new position requires as closely as possible without falsifying your resume. In some cases, resume builder software can help you match the position needs with your skills by answering a few questions.

Career Progression

A recruiter will want to see that your career has grown, not remained stagnant or backtracked. They look to see if your level of responsibility has increased over the years or over positions. Although many recruiters understand that there may be economic downturns that could lead someone to take a position at a lower level, they will want to see that this is a temporary situation.

Some recruiters are not even concerned with gaps in your resume if you can explain why you were not working, such as taking time off to raise children or attempting to start your own business. If you cannot explain the gaps in employment or why you suddenly took a job at a lower level, your resume may be shifted to the bottom of the pile.

Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation

If your resume is full of misspellings, errors in grammar or punctuation, or if it is formatted incorrectly, such as inconsistent indents or fonts, a recruiter will not give it a second glance. Use the spell and grammar checking options in your word processor to double-check your resume, but also ask someone else to look it over. Sometimes, others will see an error much more quickly than you will. Professional resume builder software provides spelling, grammar and punctuation checks as well.

Links to Online Identity

In today’s job market, online identity has become increasingly important. Employers want to see what their employees are doing online. This does not mean you must hand over your social media passwords, but many recruiters want to see links to sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter or a website. Don’t think that leaving that information off means that a recruiter will be unable to find you online.

A simple Google search can reveal much about a person and, even if you have set your social media accounts to the most private setting possible, your friends may not have. By adding your own links to sites that you use professionally, you can guide employers to your professional online presence. Resume builder templates often have link capabilities to make it easy to add online connections.


Recruiters tend to notice a resume that is not exactly like all the others they receive. Add shading, color or a logo that will attract attention. However, be careful that the creativity matches the position you are applying for. An accounting firm may not find a resume with elaborate fonts, multiple colors and pictures to be suitable for their employment opening while an art gallery may find a sedate, black-and-white resume to be too sedate for their needs. Always be sure any font you use is clearly legible and easy to read. An online resume builder can help you create a unique, eye-catching resume.

These five items are what many recruiters say draw their eye when they are glancing through resumes for a position. By applying these tips to your resume, you are more likely to get noticed and earn the interview that will allow you to expand on the brief description you provide with a resume.


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