How to Get Noticed By Recruiters

recruiterDuring a recent staffing conference I attended, I talked with recruiters and asked them this question:

"If they could tell job seekers one thing, what would it be." Here are their responses.


  1. Be transparent. If there is a gap on your resume, explain it on the document itself. If you don't explain the reason for the gap, we will draw our own conclusions.

  2. Use a chronological format over a functional format. I will assume you are hiding something if you submit a purely functional resume. Recruiters need to understand all the movement in your career. If dates are missing or if your resume focuses too much on functional skills to downplay the chronology we will become suspicious.

  3. Don't apply to every job posting. Only apply to those jobs that you truly meet the qualifications for. Applying to jobs you are not qualified for is a waste of both your time and ours.

  4. Don't call incessantly to follow up on a job posting. If you don't hear from me, I have nothing to tell you.

  5. Include a summary on your resume explaining how you can add value to the organization, rather than an objective explaining what you are looking for. Hiring managers aren't interested in what you are looking for; they are interested in people who can solve their business problems.

  6. Add a competency or skills section to your resume. Make it easy to figure out what your core skills are. We need to know right away if you have the basic skill set to do the job.

  7. Get rid of the entitlement act. Don't assume you will get a certain salary just because you ask for it. We are willing to negotiate if it is within our budget.

  8. Don't upload a Microsoft Word document into the text box of our job site. We can't read it. The formatting is severely compromised when you do this and we will ignore your application. Instead, convert your Word document to a text only file.


Building relationships with recruiters is one way to get closer to landing your next job. If you can learn to appreciate their needs, you will increase your chances of landing more interviews.

Next: Are You a Hiring Manager's Dream Employee? >>

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Fortune McLemore

Okay, I've got one for you about explaining a seven-month gap on a resume: how about "I looked for work for four months, and now I've spent three months recovering from foot surgery"? No, I don't think that would fly with recruiters in the DC area, where I live. I don't think they'd have a problem with that in person, especially when they see the Darth Vader boot on my leg. But put that on a resume? Um...no.

March 27 2010 at 7:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kade

frustrating is the word, be mindful when applying to companies and wear a hat (keeps you from pulling out your hair), its hard competeing againts several hundreds of applicants, and with a gap either an unemployed gap or a noncareer path gap, can be a daunting task when applying to a company where they have long term employees, some people confuse hard work with luck/opportunity, so it is up to the resume writer to spin his/her resume into something that can't be ignored, now I am not saying lie, I am saying embellish, and taylor your resume to the company, take a look at thier website, and make a go at what you think there about, its a wierd wierd world out there, if you can get a hr person to chuckle or think that this resume is so odd its good, you might get work, not everytime, but some of my successful resumes have been the most unprofessional ones I ever submitted, actually I will tell you the numbers 90% of my resumes with personality get callbacks, the standard prid pro quo resumes don't get any notice, as well they shouldn't, people want a good read, not a boring x,y,z list (its a good format, but you have to spice it up), resume book writers will disagree, but what do they know they got a job, or they get thier references from ultra lucky professionals, never from joe blow with 2 kids and a 2br/1ba apartment, the resume books are great for thier p2p interview sections,, never work for free, always get half up front for contracted work, scams are everywhere, don't forget about taxes, embelish your good points, and spin the bad ones into good,, I'm routing for you, were in this together and keep your stick on the ice

March 27 2010 at 3:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Kade's comment
jim

re: when applying to a company where they have long term employees, some people confuse hard work with luck/opportunity

These people show the ignorance I was speaking of above. The employed are singularly unsympathetic to, us, the unemployed I have found and impute it as a character flaw.

Right, 15 percent of the USA suddenly developed "character flaws"...

Question: please enlighten on the resume "tricks...."!

March 27 2010 at 3:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joe

In response to "Chuck," I realize you can get discouraged. You may want to seek an experienced friend to coach and mentor you. For example, as a retired exec/mgr. I noticed your comments confused the usage of "new" and "knew." If I were hiring and saw a resume with such errors I would think twice. An inpartial third-party could look at how you present yourself and offer constructive suggestions. Good luck!

March 27 2010 at 2:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jim

re: Be transparent. If there is a gap on your resume, explain it on the document itself.

how about "I got laid off because of the depression"

and then "I'm still unemployed because of the depression"

be aware however that this will be held against you w/ extrem prejudice (and ignorance)

better to lie on the resume - don't shoot yourself before u start

March 27 2010 at 2:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chuck

I have been doing the job hunt now for over a year. I find that when I sit down with a staffing agentcy, as they have the jobs, the recruiter has no concept of what I have to offer. I asked if they understood my degree then they ask some dumb question that if they new my degree they new I had this qualification. How can a staffing recruiter know about all types of work such as interview for a nursing position and then next inteview for a QC inspector, then a marketing manager?
I have tried to make situations when asked relate to the persons position I am talking to as in telling the CSR Manager about how as a shipping receiving lead I solved a problem with the CSR department.
It is so discouraging to hear over qualified or someone else had more to offer when you look back and see you were the one that offered more.
I would like someone to write and tell us how we fill in the gap between our last job and the interview showing we were not just sitting around. I have done some cash jobs but who could put that down? Looking for work now in days is almost a full time job in it's self. So I volunteer or pick up od jobs ...one can not list all these or your resume will become 3 and 4 pages filled with a lot of non relating jobs and positions. Do the HR people really have time to read that?
To me is the strees of waiting after the interview and not hearing or if you follow up you get nothing in return. I know thousands may have applied for a position but then they usually only call in like 5 for interviews and it can't be that hard to give us the same consideration in a reply one way or the other like they would want from us. Heck it's only 5 people.

March 27 2010 at 10:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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