Tips from a Recruiter: Starting the New Year with a New Resume

By: Brigid Lipps, PHR, SHRM-CP,
Senior Recruiter Corps Team

Starting a New Year with a New Resume:

Hello, 2021! It’s so good to finally see you. Last year was a rough one for candidates, companies, and everyone in between. But we are turning a corner, so let’s start the New Year with a new resume!

Think of Recruiters as the “gatekeeper” between you and the hiring manager. They are the ones who open the door to begin the communications and hiring process, so you need have the right key (resume) to get in.

These are Tips from a Recruiter to make your resume its very best –

  • Choose the right format. Think professional, neat, and easy to read! Stick with fonts that are clear and sections that are defined. Stay away from tables, boxes, or anything else that could get jumbled when it’s viewed from a computer, tablet, phone, etc. If a Recruiter can’t easily read it, it will be quickly discarded.
  • Grab their attention fast! Skip the “Objective” section. A “Summary” or “Overview” at the top of your resume can make a big difference. Recruiters usually only have a few minutes to review a resume as they are working a whole slate of job openings, so you don’t have much time. Stand out by highlighting your skills and experience in a thoughtful summary. If that information is buried too far down a resume, it might never be seen.
  • Be consistent. This applies to fonts, dates, tense…everything! It only takes a few minutes to ensure your fonts match, your dates are the same format (ex: 11/2021 versus Nov. 2021), and your words are in proper tense. Insider tip – Use present tense for everything, even past jobs.
  • No photos. Unless the application specifically asks for it, don’t put your photo on your resume. We want to focus on your skills and experience, and pictures are distracting. The exception would be for the Graphic Design/Arts field, but again, only if it’s requested.
  • Choose PDF or Word. You’ve put in all this hard work making your resume beautiful, but the Recruiter can’t open it, or the Applicant Tracking System can’t load it. No!!! PDF is usually best because it keeps your layout the same, but some applications ask for Word, so play it smart and save your resume in both versions.
  • Add Valuable Content. This sounds simple, but most people struggle with what to actually put on a resume. Think about your main responsibilities, your accomplishments, key metrics tied to your position, and your greatest strengths. Focus there and build.

All of us could use a fresh start, so even if you’re not building your resume from scratch, use these tips to modify what you have and make it your best.


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