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Resume Review – A Reality Check

As a Talent Acquisition Specialist, I look at literally hundreds of resumes every year.  I can confirm that the vast majority of us who recruit for a living do indeed have pretty strong biases when it comes to resumes.  Here’s a list of a few of the things that drive Talent Acquisition Specialists crazy and what you can do to ensure your resume gets the attention it deserves.

We Expect You To Do Your Research
There is nothing worse than when a Talent Acquisition Specialist receives a blanket resume… you know, the one that says, “I’ll do anything you think I have the skills and abilities for”.  You need to tell us what you’re looking for.  It shows us that you’re interested enough in our company that you’ve done due diligence on available or potential opportunities.

Don’t Assume I’m Going to Read Your Entire Resume
Personally, I struggle with people who in the first half page of their resume don’t provide me with a compelling reason to read on.  What I want is for you to give me a two to three sentence career summary that succinctly highlights the key attributes and experience you bring to the table.  Even more helpful is if you can provide me with your career objective.  Are you looking for a management role or an individual contributor role?  Is your desire to deepen your expertise in a specific area or broaden your scope by taking on new responsibilities?

We Love Bullet Format
Rather than writing paragraphs and paragraphs about software applications you’ve used or skills you possess, use bullet form to quickly bring the reader’s eye to these important details.  If I’m quickly able to determine that you have expertise in the areas that I’m looking for based on listed bullets, I’m much more inclined to read through your entire resume.  This same philosophy applies to your professional experience.  Use bullets to call out significant responsibilities and achievements rather than burying them in layers of verbiage.  A bullet format also allows for more whitespace in your resume, making it more visually appealing to read.

We Can Get Stuck On The ‘Gaps’
Over the course of a person’s career, it’s not unusual for there to be a gap.  Perhaps you’ve taken time off to raise a family, gone back to school, or seized the opportunity to travel extensively. When there are significant gaps in your career timeline, please help us understand why.  Unexplained gaps in a resume can be a red flag to a Recruiter.  Do yourself and the reader a favour and addresses these gaps head on.

We Value Authenticity
When you submit your resume to a posting, you are solely dependent on the quality of that resume to appeal to the reader.  It’s important that your resume be in your ‘voice’ – an authentic representation of you.  Use language in your resume that is part of your regular vocabulary.  Know that resumes written in the 3rd person can be a major turn-off as they often seem inflated and can give the reader the impression that you were too busy to take the time to craft your own CV.

Last, but certainly not least, just a reminder that less is often more.  Try to keep your resume to a maximum of three pages.  If you take the time to write your resume to highlight the most relevant information vs. including every detail, three pages should afford you more than enough of an opportunity to demonstrate why you should be the applicant the Talent Acquisition Specialist selects for an interview.