4 proven ways to impress recruiters with your resume

Ensuring a recruiter has a stress-free time reviewing your resume will increase the chances of you being called in for an interview. As a hiring manager who’s looked at thousands of resumes, this is what I and the industry look for from potential new hires.

Write a powerful summary statement

HR professionals and recruiters only spend 30 seconds or less reviewing an individual resume. That’s why developing an impactful and memorable summary statement is critical. Your statement should:

  • Emphasize what you can do for your prospective employer.
  • Make yourself stand out from the crowd by highlighting what makes you unique. Examples include years of experience, an important role held or honorable award received.
  • Be no more than four sentences long.

Here’s an example:

An innovative and flexible technical project manager offering 13 years of experience in the medical device industry. Known for my effective communication skills and ability to build strong relationships with both clients and colleagues. Commended for avoiding cost, meeting aggressive deadlines and mitigating risk.

Go chronological

When a recruiter is looking at your resume, they want to be able to easily locate your previous titles, companies and start/end dates. By using a chronological resume format, you are giving recruiters exactly what they are looking for in a format they are most familiar with.

Example:

Bob Smith
Boston, MA
978-xxx-xxxx
bobsmith@unknown.com

Summary

An innovative and flexible technical project manager offering 13 years of experience in the medical device industry. Known for my effective communication skills and ability to build strong relationships with both clients and colleagues. Commended for avoiding cost, meeting aggressive deadlines and mitigating risk.

Professional Experience

2005-Present          Project Manager, Yang’s Medical Devices, Lynn, MA

Responsible for leading a variety of sales, human resources and IT projects. Directly manages four business analysts and supervises a large and diverse group of third-party contractors.

  • Implemented a new x, resulting in x.
  • Concluded x project x weeks early and $x under budget.
  • Honored with the Innovator of the Year Award for creating x.

2002-2005                Business Analyst, BBC Healthcare, Danvers, MA

Supported various project teams by running reports, writing business requirements and resolving technical issues.

  • Led x project team and successfully x.
  • Developed a x dashboard that x.
  • Performed qualitative risk analysis on x, x and x.

If you want to emphasize your skills as opposed to your professional roles—potentially because you are changing careers or trying to de-emphasize a gap in your employment—you can use a functional format. Just be sure to add your employment history (including title, company and start/end dates) toward the end of your resume. Not doing so will frustrate the recruiter and make them think you are hiding something.

Example:

Summary

Bob Smith
Boston, MA
978-xxx-xxxx
bobsmith@unknown.com

An innovative and flexible technical project manager offering 13 years of experience in the medical device industry. Known for my effective communication skills and ability to build strong relationships with both clients and colleagues. Commended for avoiding cost, meeting aggressive deadlines and mitigating risk.

Skills

Project Management- Experience running reports, writing business requirements and resolving technical issues. Concluded x project x weeks early and $x under budget.

Leadership- People manager with experience leading a variety of sales, human resources and IT projects.

Innovation- Implemented a new x, resulting in x. Developed a x dashboard that x. Honored with the Innovator of the Year Award for creating x.

Work History

2005-Present          Project Manager, Yang’s Medical Devices, Lynn, MA

2002-2005                Business Analyst, BBC Healthcare, Danvers, MA

Be consistent

Headers, bolding, bullet points, white space and different fonts can add to the readability of your resume as long as you use them correctly and consistently. It’s best to do the following:

  • Keep bullets under two lines.
  • Use no more than two different type fonts. Calibri, Arial, Times New Roman and Georgia are all great choices and work well together.
  • Decide what common items and headers should be bolded and then bold them all. For example, if you are going to bold a job title, all job titles in your resume should be bolded.
  • Ensure all areas of your resume have approximately the same amount of white space. You can accomplish this by using .75 or 1-inch margins on the sides, top and bottom of your resume. If you have a two-page resume, make sure you have at least half a page of content on your second page. If you don’t, adjust your font, spacing, format and content so that everything fits on one page.

Make contacting you easy

To make it easier for a recruiter to contact you, have your basic contact information available on both your first and second page (if applicable).

Example:

Bob Smith
978-xxx-xxxx
bobsmith@unknown.com

If you have a two-page resume, the best way to do this is to add a footer with your name, number and email address to the second page.

Photo credit: Highways England/Flickr

Danielle Clark is a higher education leader, educator, career coach and HR consultant. She has a strong and diverse professional background working with higher education institutes and family-owned and Fortune 500 companies. Her goal is to educate and inspire professionals to change their way of thinking. Danielle is also an active community volunteer, wife, mother and passionate lifelong learner.

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