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How To Construct a Recruiter-Friendly Resume

When job searching, it’s important to always tailor your resume to the job you’re applying for and have several formats of your resume on hand. Equally as vital to your resume’s visibility is to ensure you also have a recruiter-friendly version, or one that targets recruiters specifically.

This is the kind of resume that’s best uploaded to job search sites and submitted to recruiting firms. Recruiters have their own system for sourcing job candidates and, in order to show up on their radar, you have to prepare your credentials in a way that panders to that system. In fact, many use applicant tracking systems (ATS) that function like search engines, requiring resumes to be easily found by recruiters using the electronic software.

The Face of the Recruiter-Friendly Resume

Every resume is different, but in order to snag the attention of a recruiter, a resume must have three characteristics. The recruiter-friendly resume is typically…

  • Streamlined and concise. Recruiters often skim resumes for the most important and relevant information, from skills to experience to accomplishments. Therefore, keeping a resume from being over-cluttered can ensure the information you want seen stands out.
  • Well-organized and neatly formatted. In general, the resume should be easy on the eyes and organized so that it draws attention to the right sections. Even if a recruiter does not use an applicant tracking system, many prefer traditional resumes that can be easily reworked to fit the needs of each specific client and/or employer.
  • Balanced. Recruiters look for a good balance of skills, experience, and accomplishments. While it’s important to highlight keywords from the job description as well as your goals and capabilities, in order to be found by recruiters searching for candidates, many job seekers make the mistake of loading their resume up with too many buzz words. Recruiter-friendly resumes feature a few select keywords, but are not cluttered and clichéd.

Tips for Making Your Resume Recruiter-Friendly

So how do you achieve the above three characteristics with your own resume? Striking the right balance, finding the right organization and format, and making sure you include all appropriate information without making the resume too cluttered can be tricky. Try the following tips to ensure you’re on the right track:

  1. Use bold and italics sparingly—and in the right places. Aside from section headlines and each new entry in your employment history, using text formatting can be distracting.
  2. Avoid writing multiple lines of text; instead, use bullet points and keep them short.
  3. Use your skills section to your advantage. This is the most appropriate place for your keywords—just make sure to avoid any cliché terms.
  4. Use simple, straightforward language. Aside from keeping your resume to an appropriate length and giving you more space for other information, using common words in place of longer, more complicated ones will look more honest.
  5. Highlight accomplishments. By peppering some accomplishments into your employee history, you’ll be able to convey both your duties and your capabilities in fewer words.

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