By: Hannah Davis-Shatinsky
It goes without saying that we are looking for information on your resume that demonstrates that you have to ability to use the tools and perform the tasks associated with the job at hand. What I wanted to know is what, in general, is something that every candidate, regardless of field or experience level, absolutely has to have. Each job requirement that we work on is unique in its own way, and so is each Recruiter and Account Manager. However, when it comes to things that we look for in every requirement that we work on, we seemed to all agree on a few things.
- An error-free resume.
This one seems like a no-brainer to most people. If you’re serious about a job you’re applying for online, chances are, you’re not going to submit a resume you have spent 5 minutes writing and no time proof-reading. You’d be surprised at how many people submit resumes to us via CareerBuilder, Monster or our website that have spelling and grammatical errors.
One thing that can help you avoid submitting something that is less than excellent is having a friend or family member read it for you. Sometimes you read through something so many times that you begin to miss errors that may seem obvious to a fresh pair of eyes.
You might be asking yourself “why would a recruiter be looking for the dates I worked at Company X?” The answer is simple; recruiters are going to immediately wonder why you didn’t include the dates. Did you only work there for two weeks? Did you work there 4 years ago and haven’t worked since? If one of those statements is true, you’re better off listing the dates and then explaining the circumstances to the Recruiter when he or she asks.
- “And what exactly did you do at Company Y?”
My desk is right next to an experienced IT Recruiter, and I hear him ask this question probably 10 times a day. What he doesn’t want to hear is “I helped developed apps”. What he does want to hear is an explanation of what you did with specific examples, references to projects you completed, and ways that your contributions were invaluable to the process. Now, he is a nice guy, but I guarantee he isn’t asking you these questions because he’s really trying to get to know you as a pal. The Recruiter wants to know how the answers to these questions relate back to the job he is recruiting for so he can provide you with the best possible service and matching you with the best career opportunity for your background. Help the recruiter help you—read the job description and figure out what it is that you’ve done that will help you get a job doing what you want to do.
One thing that almost every Recruiter and Account Manager who gave me their input on this topic mentioned was that they want to see growth in a person’s resume. Did you start in marketing, jump to hospitality, dabble in paralegal and then decide to enter the IT field? If so, don’t be discouraged, but also realize that we are looking for everything on your resume to be a rung on the ladder to the next step in your career. If you started at an IT internship ten years ago and have moved up into higher and higher positions, than you’re probably looking pretty good to us on paper.
If you have jumped around a lot, don’t worry. Try to showcase your different experiences on your resume in a way that builds up into something greater. If you learned something in your waitressing job that got you the paralegal job that then suddenly made you realize you wanted to go into IT, try to highlight that on your resume and then be sure to mention it to the Recruiter or Account Manager when he or she calls to talk to you.