Student Advice

5 Resume Writing Tips to Catch the Recruiter’s Eye
Student Advisor posted on February 13, 2017 |

A high-quality resume is often the difference between landing that dream job, or getting tied down to employment that halts career progress.


Given that hiring managers can spend as little as six seconds reviewing your application, it is important to follow some key guidelines that will boost your chances of getting hired.

If you’ve put in plenty of effort to getting your resume right, yet are still getting overlooked for job interviews, you’re probably failing to follow these 5 resume writing tips.


Suitability and Relevance

Perhaps the most common mistake job seekers make when applying for new work is sending the same resume to every employer. This is a sure-fire way of not getting the phone call you’re waiting for.

Not only does this brand the applicant as amateurish, it highlights complacency. In the eyes of the recruiter, people that send out generic resumes have clearly failed to put the time and effort into tailoring their applications to a specific job.

Avoid this common mistake by closely reading the job description and clearly listing your work skills and past responsibilities that are relevant to the position. Scrutinising each responsibility and requirement of the job helps in this regard, as it encourages applicants to think about how their past experiences can be an asset for the prospective employer.

Remember, when applying for a new position you have limited time to get a recruiter’s attention; if they don’t see the information they are looking for, they will quickly move on to the next resume.


Accomplishments  > Responsibilities

Just like sending out replica resumes for different positions, failing to list what was achieved at previous employment is another common oversight made by job seekers.

When reviewing resumes, the last thing recruiters want to read is something that resembles a job posting itself; and this is precisely what you’re giving them when you attribute too much attention to what was done at a former position, as opposed to what was achieved.

The best way to show hiring managers what you can do for them is by making your resume accomplishment-focused. Recruiters will already have a strong idea of the type of responsibilities associated with your former positions simply by reading the job title. Rather than giving them what they already know, tell them what they will receive by hiring you. This will help paint a picture of a results-driven, high-achieving candidate that recruiters will want to speak to.

Put simply, transforming statements about what you did into statements about what you achieved communicates your capabilities more clearly, and thus ranks highly in our resume writing tips.

Resume Writing Tips To Catch The Recruiter's Eyes

Keyword-Rich Content

When it comes to catching the attention of recruiters, modern technology has made infusing resumes with keywords an absolute must.

In order to sift through the abundant information in the piles of resumes they review, most recruiters utilise Applicant Tracking Systems (ATC), which are software applications that scan resumes to help identify keywords relevant to a specific job and industry. Resumes without these keywords will often be automatically overlooked by recruiters, meaning all that time spent on resume writing has gone to waste.

To avoid being overlooked, scrutinise the skills and experiences specific to the job opening and incorporate similar language into your resume. There is even software such as Jobscan that analyses how your resume rates in ATS terms when compared to the job description.

It is important to err on the side of caution with creating keyword-dense resumes, however, as the last thing recruiters want to see is a cut-and-paste replica of the job posting.


Eye-Catching, Well Presented Content

As well as being scanned by an ATC, your resume will more than likely be reviewed by a human eye, meaning it must catch the attention of the recruiter in a short amount of time.

Rather than being met with large slabs of information, recruiters want to see a sleek, clean and eye-catching presentation that is also highly informative. There is an important balance between presentation and brevity that job seekers must strike when resume writing. Strong examples are both visually appealing and reader-friendly, yet executing this is a challenge many job seekers struggle with.

Quick tips include conservative fonts and plenty of white space, along with an innovative design that is not over the top and goes beyond the Microsoft Word resume templates that recruiters have seen thousands of times before.

Readability is equally important to recruiters, who will be more impressed by brief and specific points that relate to the job, as opposed to elaborate descriptions that overly embellish the achievements of the applicant. As always, attention to detail is paramount, so proofreading your resume repeatedly will ensure this aspect of our resume writing tips guides right.


Career Progression

When reviewing resumes, particularly ones from candidates with a wealth of experience, hiring managers are essentially reading career stories.

Just like any good story, the ones that highlight growth, development and progress are most engaging. Of course, resumes that are laden with examples of promotions to higher-ranked positions will catch the recruiter’s eye, but the reality is that not everyone has the same story to tell.

Whatever professional path applicants have taken, they need to demonstrate how they have picked up relevant skills along the way. Rather than over-exaggerating past achievements, focus on examples in your work history that speak to how your skill-set has evolved and become specific to the job.

This will help provide recruiters with a clearer understanding of why you are applying to a particular position, as well showcasing how you can leverage your skills to excel in it.