A few things on your resume that immediately stick out to recruiters include clear and concise formatting, organized information, quantified results, well-crafted descriptors, and more.

You have about seven seconds to get the attention of an average recruiter. The statistics say that’s about what they spend on the first pass of your resume. While that doesn’t seem like enough time for them to get a sense of you, that’s about how much time you have to stand out enough for them to want to know more. We have a few tips to help you get their attention—and keep it.

Tip 1—Make it clean and clear

Graphical elements rarely translate well to an applicant tracking system (ATS). Infographics and fancy fonts, your picture, or other “bling,” won’t impress the typical recruiter, who has seen it all before. All of those fancy shapes and symbols will likely confuse the ATS, so if you’re sending your resume as an online submission, the graphics may mess up the formatting of your resume.

Tip 2—Tailor every submission to the job

When you’re applying, look closely at the keywords in the ad and try to mirror them in your resume. If you want your resume to stand out, you can even revamp it to fit the categorical sections or layout of the ad itself. Since the recruiter is likely looking at the job description on the left and your resume on the right, making subtle changes to more closely mirror the advertisement is an excellent way to make your credentials fit and candidacy more attractive.

Tip 3—Organize the details

Whether you’re presenting a chronological or a functional resume, the information should be clear, concise, and formatted in an organized fashion. You can also combine these approaches and list both a work history with the most recent first and the oldest on the last page along with a professional summary and skills. The best way to organize these resume areas is to define the sections with headers. It’s a good way to guide the reader’s eye down the page. The headers should be career-specific; for example, “Skills” should be “Programming Skills” or “Sales Skills,” or “Customer Service Skills.” That way, the reviewer understands what you are going to discuss in each section.

Tip 4—Quantify your skills

Make your accomplishments very concrete in the lines and pages of your resume. Use percentages and financial figures, and share your accomplishments, such as:

  • “Led a team of five call center customer service reps to service 2,500 clients.”
  • “Rewrote and reformatted human resource manual for clarity and consistency.”
  • “Won ‘Super Service Award’ for top customer service during the heavy winter service season for a residential HVAC company.”

Make your skills quantifiable and measurable, and they will pop off the page and earn the notice of recruiters.

Tip 5—Stay succinct

Keep your sentences short and to the point. Don’t go overboard with industry jargon. Get to the point cleanly and only include the skills that will make the biggest impact on the job you’re applying for.

Our final tip—and it’s a good one, is to call IES. Our recruiters are trained to give your resume the attention it deserves. They also excel at sharing their best advice on how to improve these documents to land the job. Contact us. We can help.


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