We spoke with fifteen top tech recruiters about what makes them stop and take notice of a candidate. Here’s what they said:
Tip #1: Edit Your Resume
One recruiter we spoke with compared resumes to a first date. It’s usually the initial impression you make so it needs to reflect the best version of yourself. Look your resume over for spelling and grammar and consider asking someone you trust to look it over as well. A second set of eyes might catch something you’ve missed.
Spend some time playing with the formatting of the page as well. Just like you should spend time making yourself look presentable before walking into an interview, you should spend time on the visual appeal of your resume. Try to find an appropriate balance between eye-catching and professional. Tailor the look of your resume to the culture of the company you’re interested in. Above all, however, it should be quick and easy to read.
Tip #2: Pick Up Your Phone
Sending an email is quick, easy, and usually effective. Unfortunately, these same qualities make emailing the most popular mode of communication. Many recruiters we spoke with brought up the extreme high volume of emails they send and receive each day. Make yourself stand out from a group of applicants by giving them a call. Be one of a handful of phone calls they take that day, not one of 500 emails. Calling speeds up the process, separates you from the crowd, and shows the recruiter that you’re invested in finding a position for yourself.
A phone call is also an opportunity to showcase your communication skills. Many recruiters noted heightened interest in candidates with good interpersonal skills.
Tip #3: Find the Buzz Words and Use Them
Many recruiters are flooded with resumes submitted by potential candidates and the unfortunate result is that they don’t have the time to analyze each individual submission. Oftentimes, they quickly search resumes for buzz words that might be applicable to a particular position. Do your research on the position you’re interested in and make sure you use the appropriate lingo.
More than one recruiter suggested including a “Skills” section at the top of the page – a bulleted list of individual words and phrases that will give them the incentive to continue reading. At a minimum, consider adding a “Summary” paragraph at the top of your document, but remember that recruiters are often limited on time. Don’t limit yourself to skills learned on the job. Make note of any personal projects you’ve worked on as well.
Tip #4: Show Your Staying Power
Ideally, recruiters are looking for candidates that have stayed with an employer for two to five years. This shows them that you are able to commit to a position and they can recommend you to an employer with confidence. A consistent employment history is an important factor, but if you’re just starting out or have a history of frequent changes, remember that a phone call and a quick conversation with a recruiter can go a long way toward making up for the deficit.
Tip #5: Follow Through
A recruiter will work very hard to find a good fit for a qualified candidate, but you need to show them that you’re just as invested in the process as they are. One of the best (and easiest) ways to do this is show that you have good follow-through. If they ask you to send something to them, send it as quickly as possible. Return calls and emails promptly. Check in with them at appropriate intervals. Keeping yourself visible and within easy reach shows the high level of commitment that quality recruiters look for.
Recruiters, what tips would you give to a job seeker to help them get noticed by you? Leave your answers in the comments below.