A resume is your representative or even an ambassador while applying for jobs. Hence, it’s most important to create a superb impression that can get you that interview call and possibly the job.
Therefore, here’s a vital question: What do recruiters look for on a resume at the first glance? What are the elements that should feature on a resume and how long your resume should be to attract employers?
Understandably, these may sound complex questions. However, with some effort, you can create a wonderful resume that actually catches the attention of recruiters at the very first glance.
What Recruiters Look on Resume at First Glance?
There’re five major elements of your resume that recruiters look for at the first glance. I’ll explain their relevance and how you can improve your resume to make it appealing.
1. Your Career Objective
There’s a huge debate among Human Resources circles whether a career objective on a resume is relevant or not in today’s era. Personally, I believe it is very relevant and important too. That’s because a well-written career objective actually leads a recruiter tor read the resume further.
Unfortunately, most jobseekers tend to write very uninspiring or vague career objectives, which can fit almost any entity for any job. This puts off recruiters. Hence, there’re very high chances your resume might get rejected merely because your career objective is poorly written.
A career objective is your personal vision and mission statement. It should clearly outline what’re your professional and personal goals in life. Yes, personal goals too. Because a career isn’t merely about a job. A career defines your whole lifestyle for a major part of your working life.
It’s worth remembering that skills are totally different from work experience. You might have several years of experience at a specific job. That doesn’t necessarily imply that you possess the skills that a new job requires. Therefore, one of the things that recruiters look on your resume at first glance is your skills that would prove useful to the business, if they hire you.
Therefore, before drafting a resume, the first thing to do is read the job post or job advert thoroughly. Comprehend what skills the recruiter is looking at and the nature of their business. And leverage your skills in line with the recruiter’s needs. Obviously, you won’t have all the skills that a recruiter requires. However, you can pitch as many skills as you have and point out their relevance to the recruiter’s business.
A common mistake that most jobseekers commit is to send a general resume to every recruiter. This doesn’t really entice a recruiter to shortlist you for an interview. Therefore, customizing a resume to suit the skills set required by a recruiter works wonders.
Also, include your soft skills because they matter a lot nowadays. Recruiters also look for desirable soft skills from a resume.
3. Career Graph
If you’re a fresher, the career graph doesn’t matter because you would be applying for the first job. However, do not forget to include any internships and traineeships that you’ve done while completing a course.
Secondly, also highlight any projects that you did while being a student or intern. These could be individual or group projects. The reason: projects speak volumes about your soft skills and aptitude for any specific job.
And for job seekers with some experience, recruiters look at your career graph for an altogether different reason. They wish to learn whether you’re progressing or stagnating in your career. However, a stagnant career graph isn’t something to worry about if that’s exactly the reason you’re looking for a career change.
If your career is going upwards, the recruiter would most likely be impressed and shortlist you for an interview call. That’s because career growth indicates you’re serious about your works and life and interested in the field.
4. Gaps between Jobs
Gaps between jobs on your resume are definitely something that catches the eye of a recruiter at the first glance. Because these gaps can indicate some serious flaws in your career. It indicates you’re changing jobs frequently and these could be due to negative reasons such as addictions, termination, and undesirable behavior, inability to get along with colleagues and seniors, or overall ineptitude, among others.
If you can genuinely justify gaps in your career, it’s fine. If not, never try to patch them up by giving false dates of leaving and joining any job. A simple Employee Background Screening (EBS) check will expose the truth. This can cost your job. Worse, it can create a very poor impression about you in the overall job market and several recruiters might not even consider you for employment, despite having all skills and qualifications.
Never fudge your resume to cover up gaps on your resume. If you’re asked to explain, provide the genuine reason without justifying yourself.
5. Professional & Social Affiliations
Your professional and social affiliations on a resume matter a lot. You could be a member of a professional guild or forum, alumni, social, or even sports and cultural organization. These affiliations always have a story to tell about you which a recruiter will try and grasp at the first glance.
For example, membership of a forum of professionals shows your interest in a specific field and career. It means, you have a vast resource of talent from where you could get ideas or solutions that might help your employer too, albeit indirectly. Membership of a social or cultural organization speaks of your personality traits.
At the same time, be a bit careful if you’re adding affiliations to any political or religious organizations. The employer may see things in a different light. While you can mention these political or religious affiliations casually, never use them to leverage your application for a job. That’s in very poor taste.
If you pay attention to these five elements that recruiters look on a resume at the first glance, there’re high chances you might land an interview call. Also, I would suggest you read the difference between a curriculum vitae and a resume because the two are distinct and different documents.
Author: Natasha Shetty