The top 10 things I’ve learned as a Recruiter

Recruiters have become very popular in recent years. Companies and individuals are hiring them to help with the flood of candidates our unemployment rates have created. I’ve been a freelance Recruiter/Candidate Sourcing Agent for almost 3 years. I started working with a good friend of mine who has decades of experience which allowed me to learn so much about the process. While I am no expert in the subject I can tell you the top ten things I have learned about recruiting which most experts would agree with:

  1. As recruiters/hiring managers we judge you by your resume before looking at your education or employment history. Yes, your resume is highly important because it represents you as a professional.
  2. Misspellings and grammatical errors cause us to skip you. Double and triple check your resume before sending it. These types of errors tells us you pay no attention to detail.
  3. Abbreviations and or repetitions – for example noting that you are a “team player” and also that you can “work independently or with a team”. Abbreviating positions/titles or using acronyms for programs or positions – for example “Supv. of Admin. Dept.” or “proficient in MS W” or “knowledge of ACRT” without explanation of what that is (ex” database used in finance department, if not applying for a company that uses that specific program).
  4. Using the commonly used key words that are so general and broad they lose effect. For example “honest” “team player” “detailed oriented”. These are used by just about every resume which results in your resume becoming so general it tells us nothing about you. Instead try using these words in job/duty descriptions, for example: Office Supervisor- worked closely with my team to ensure daily tasks where completed timely and effectively while paying attention to detail. That tells us you are a team player, organized and pay attention to detail.
  5. In the work experience section you either write too much or too little in the duties area for each position. If you were a secretary there is no need to note that you answered phones and filed, you can note that you were responsible for general front office duties on a daily basis. That includes answering phones, filing, copying, etc. Or writing too little or nothing at all. Example: Secretary, in charge of reception vs. front and back office duties as well as greeting all customers in reception area.
  6. Noting irrelevant information under skills and/or work experience. I once saw a resume that noted “makeup contouring” as a skill in a resume that wasn’t for a position in a salon/makeup department but rather an office setting. And no, the candidate did not have any prior experience in a job that would require that or a degree/certificate in the area. Another popular one is when work experience has a time gap and instead of noting “2012-2015 Completing Education” or “2012-2015 Stayed at home to raise family” the education or stay at home duties are noted as a job, for example noting that you were a cook, accountant, etc. when you were a stay at home parent. This is an unnecessary and seemingly silly notation. While I know first hand the hard work and dedication that being a college student as well as a stay at home parent entails these do not qualify as work experiences.
  7. Avoid silly fonts, graphics or logos. These are not only distracting but seem out of place in professional resume. Unless your resume is for a Graphic Designer or Web Developer, it should be clean, professional and well organized. You can increase the font of your name if you wish to make it stand out but anything other than that is again distracting.
  8. Only noting an email or telephone number but not both. You should always note both because depending on our recruiting/hiring approach we may use one or the other or both.
  9. Noting an email address that appears professional. It is one of my biggest pet peeves to have to send an email to addresses including unprofessional/inappropriate phrases or words such as “sexygirl”, “cutie”, “dodgers rule”, etc. If you are searching for employment create a simple email address to note on your resume. Your name first or last or both with a number is appropriate. If you are worried about having to check multiple email accounts you can always forward the new email address with the professional name to your current email address and not miss notifications.
  10. Not being prepared, organized or showing interest in the position/company you applied for: a) Be organized- when it comes to where you apply, keep notes on the positions and companies you apply for. There is nothing more unprofessional then when we reach out to you on your application and you have no idea what it was you applied for. It tells us you are just sending your resume everywhere without selecting positions that meet your skills. b) Be prepared- when appearing to an interview (be that in person or via telephone) aside from dressing/speaking in a professional manner research the company’s website. Be prepared to answer what you know about the company. c) Show interest in the position/company- again research the company and have questions about a certain aspect of it or clarify something about the position. This is also an excellent opportunity to bring to light skills that you may have not been asked about. For example if you are interviewing for an administrative/data entry role and the company has a department dealing with customer service calls and you have experience in this area you may mention that you saw on the website they have this department and casually mention you were a customer service agent for 2 years with a previous company. This sets you apart from the rest of the candidates reminding us of your range of skills as well as demonstrate you cared enough about working with our company to research it.

While not all recruiters/hiring managers will emphasis on these points the majority do, so why risk your resume being skipped for something that can be corrected/avoid beforehand?  Hope these tips help and good luck in your career search!


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