Resume Development: A Recruiter’s Perspective


By Joanne Savoie Malone.

As a recruiter, I read resumes daily and I appreciate a well-written one.

I recognize that putting together a resume is personal and everyone has an opinion. But, there is more to resume writing. To be a good resume writer, you need excellent interviewing skills in order to assess your client’s background, experiences, and abilities. It’s also advisable that you fully understand your client’s niche or market and the recruiter’s preferences.

One of my duties is to help potential candidates review their resumes, make suggestions, and sometimes help them write it.  The format I have found to be most effective is a reverse chronological resume that starts with the experience summary and follows with professional experiences. I also like to see a detailed list of job duties along with the list of their achievements.  My preferred resume concludes with a listing of the candidate’s education, courses, and awards.  I find this format to be very informative and easy to follow. As a recruiter, I then help my candidate tailor the resume to the opportunity and ensure that appropriate “keywords,” required by the company, are included.

As an ethical recruiter, I only forward qualified candidates to employers. However, I need to ensure that those people have expressed their competencies appropriately. As a recruiter, my concern is not just with Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) – my concern is with human resource staff lacking technical knowledge of the position they need to fill. These people will be the first to screen the resume and will make the decision whether to pass the candidate on to the hiring manager. Employers typically scan resumes, and conduct a key word search. This is why I always edit suitable candidates’ resumes before submission to ensure that they pass the “human resources gate.”

You should know that when our recruitment firm brings a candidate forward, we put our logo and contact information on the resume. We require the candidate to remove all contact information. This is part of our branding and, for this reason, our preference is a resume that is simple, on white paper with black font.  While there might be exceptions for certain positions, in general we do not accept any kind of creative design on a resume.

We also evaluate and adjust other “rules” based on the employer’s needs and preferences. For example, for high level positions, especially in IT, I have often accepted resumes that are more than 2 pages and sometimes up to 20 pages. This is to include detailed information on projects or technology that the employer values.

I sincerely hope that this insider information will help you develop your next resume with the recruiter’s needs and preferences in mind.

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