Inside Insight Into What Hiring Personnel Look For in a Resume

Recruiters look at dozens of resumes a day.  As such, we are exposed to both very effective and powerful resumes as well as weaker and disorganized resumes.  The weaker resumes tend to make what is written on the resume less powerful and consequently a great candidate could potentially be overlooked due to their weaker resume.
Here are a few suggestions from some of us at Rowland Mountain about what to put in a resume:
“Resumes need to POP.  The average amount of time a reader spends glancing at a resume to decide yes, no or maybe is less than 30 seconds. MUST BE easy to read and QUICKLY determine:  Education Credentials – Names of Employers – length of tenures – and QUANTIFIABLE results / impact for each role.”
— Russ Mountain, Senior Executive Partner
When structuring a resume, keep in mind that some hiring authorities will be skimmers and some will be readers.  Try to appeal to both.  Highlight competencies at the beginning of the resume. Make achievements leap off the page.  Fill in detail.  Use your resume to drive traffic to your Linked In profile.  Perhaps use LinkedIn as more of a CV but double-check the social media policies for your employer and your former employers .  Many companies do not want sales figures, percentages, margins listed on the web.

If you are wanting your resume to get traction, to get you calls, to drive traffic to your LinkedIn profile, make it valuable and relevant to the marketplace – how did you make your employers money or how did you save them money. That is what will get attention.”

–Katherine Carrier, Search Executive

“Things I don’t like to see:

  • Putting the company name next to each position you have for multiple positions within the same company
  • Lack of contrast between company name/job title and the description of duties

  • Too much intangible stuff that fills up the first page of a resume- I saw one that had just a description of their motivations for more than a page. Useless
  • Double spaced resumes
  • Very small font

Things I do like:

  • A brief 1 line description of the company for each company they worked for
  • Tangible, numeric, quantifiable qualities/skills

  • Efficient use of space- a resume with smaller margins than larger margins

  • Contrast, with both use of bolding, italics, and font size, and meshing these elements to improve organizational clarity”

–Edward Missinne, Research Associate
What does your company do? Especially if it not a well known company. Your title and responsibilities alone don’t always mean you are a great fit for a role, there are other “connecting dots” such as how big a company is, what they sell, who they sell it to, and how. If I have to research what your company does… odds are you have lost my attention. It sounds so harsh but it’s true. If you are able, include things like company-wide revenue dollars and your specific contributions. Include quantifiable results not fluff words like “grew sales,” I love to see and 3 digit number with a % sign after it. :)”
–Katie Owens, Search Associate
The most effective thing to catch my eye is to keep the format/ grouping of work history simple to maximize the appearance of stability, ie:

Company Name 1997-2012

-Sales Director (2009-2012)

-Sales manager (2006-2009)

Instead of:

Company Name, Sales Director 2009-2012

Company Name, Sales manager 2006-2009

Applied Technologies, ….

The other thing is to highlight numbers that quantify success.”
–Jessica Brown, Search Associate
I love being able to read resumes that are easy to follow through especially when points are bulleted. I also think it’s important for candidates to give a concise yet detailed synopsis about the companies under their professional experience if it is a small to mid-sized business.”
–Christopher Luke, Research Associate
Just a couple of quick notes. Putting your resume in a PDF makes it that much more professional. Also, even a hiring manager that has been in the business for 20 years may not know every company out there; you should always put a quick blurb describing your company under the company’s name. Finally, keep it very easy to follow. Make each new job easy to see and easy to separate from others (ex. bold the title or indent parts of them). I have seen so many resumes that have work history in a paragrah form. This will never hold anyone’s attention.”
–Daniel Barna, Search Associate
“When I am recruiting for marketing positions I enjoy seeing a creative, yet tasteful resume.  Although not a knock-out factor if your resume is not creative, an innovative resume is a testament of the creative abilities you can offer to your future employer.  I would also prefer to see no objective statement on a resume unless the applicant is wanting to change job functions/industries.  Otherwise the objective statement is somewhat obvious and just taking up room at the top of your resume where more powerful information can go.  The top of your resume needs to be an “attention getter”– wouldn’t you want to quit reading a book if the first chapter was boring?  I’d rather see a summary of quantifiable results/awards in place of the objective statement.  Finally, the “references available upon request” is a given, as most employers require references before they will hire you.”
–Martelle Warner, Marketing Associate