6 Things Recruiters Look For On Your Resume

The subject of the humble CV or Resume is as likely to start a debate as lively as any discussion around politics or world peace. Everyone seems to have an opinion – and a different idea of ‘the right way’ to write a CV! It’s not surprising that so many senior executives struggle with crafting their CV. With all these conflicting views, how can you possibly know which format is correct? How should candidates know which things recruiters look for on your resume?

things recruiters look for on your resume

The worst part is that your CV is likely to be the main reason you’re not getting enough job interviews. Research into the senior level jobs market found that a ‘poor quality CV’ is one of the most significant obstacles candidates face in their job search and recruiters consistently find that many senior executives have difficulties communicating their value. So how can you stand out from the crowd and get a recruiter to take notice of your CV?

What recruiters want you to know

  • Recruiter Tip #1: “An impressive CV is one that matches the client’s needs. Demonstrate understanding of the organisation you are looking for and sound knowledge of the market.”
  • Recruiter Tip #2: “Make it relevant! A CV which has been tailored for that job search rather than just an old CV with an additional paragraph on the last role.”

You’ll greatly increase your chances of securing an interview when you make the effort to tailor your CV to suit the requirements of each particular job you’re applying for. To save time, create a core CV which includes every achievement.

Use this to customize your resume for each job by choosing only those points that you know the recruiter wants to hear. You have to do your homework; not only do you have to understand the role, but put yourself in the recruiter’s shoes and have a sense of what they really want to see in your CV.

  • Recruiter Tip #3: “A realistic view of the candidate’s aims and what they can bring to a company is most important.”
  • Recruiter Tip #4:“Summarise – use the first 2 or 3 lines to sum up what the client can expect from the candidate then bullet points listing experience and achievements.”

The executive summary (which you may refer to as the personal profile) needs to be punchy and compelling enough to grab attention of a recruiter in just a few seconds. Lose the adjectives and drop the ‘I’ (this person-neutrality helps to keep things ‘high level’).

Focus on what you can bring to the market. This succinctness is not only appreciated, but is expected at senior level. At the very end of the executive summary, you might add an aspirational piece around specific discipline and sector required in your next role.

  • Recruiter Tip #5: “The best CVs are concise, yet list key achievements and responsibilities.”
  • Recruiter Tip #6: “Facts and figures; company size, sector and responsibilities then mostly about their achievements in that role.”

Recruiters’ eyes are drawn to facts and figures. They want to see your key achievements and significant results, clearly bullet pointed. These results could be around ‘EBITDA’ info, P&L, % reduction in attrition rates, or improvements in company culture or processes (human impact), and so on. Get some hard facts, percentages or figures in each bullet point where relevant.

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