25 Things Job Recruiters Look For

woman in blue long sleeve shirt using silver macbook
woman in blue long sleeve shirt using silver macbook

For many people, a job interview is the most nerve-racking experience of their lives. Not only is it a chance to show off your qualifications, but the interviewers can also make or break your chances at landing a great job. So what exactly do recruiters look for? Here are 25 things they’re looking for in job applicants:

  1. A great resume is easy to read. It’s not an essay. Use bullet points to describe your experience. If the recruiter can’t quickly read it and understand the value you bring, they can’t proceed.
  2. You want to have a little bit of a personality, but don’t go overboard. Recruiters want to quickly know your education, skillset, and what you’ve done. Don’t forget to include your contact information.
  3. It’s important that you have a reason why you want the job right now.
  4. Make sure that the job posting is something that you are interested in doing, and that you have the qualifications to do.
  5. You want to have at least three references on your resume, so that the recruiter can pick up the phone and verify your experience.
  6. When a recruiter calls someone who has worked with you in the past, they should be able to speak to your character, your ability, and your ability to work in a team environment.
  7. If you’re bringing in a resume from a career switch, you want to make sure that there is relevance between the jobs. If not, it can be seen as a red flag when reading your resume.
  8. The more specific you are on your resume, the better. This allows the recruiter to look at your background and see if you fit into the specific position they are currently hiring for.
  9. If you’ve taken any online courses, make sure that you put down how many hours you spent online, how many people were in the class, and what was the highest level of curriculum used.
  10. If you worked on a major project, make sure that your resume highlights it and what you did in relation to it.
  11. Make sure that when using bullets, that there is consistency in all of them. The closer they are to each other, the better it will look.
  12. Don’t forget to send a cover letter with your resume and use it to highlight things in your resume you want the recruiter to know that they may have missed by skimming through your resume. An effective cover letter should be no more than one page long, but should highlight why you’re interested in the job and the value that you bring to the company. It should be written in third person, not first person, and it should also include a date and signature at the bottom of the letter.
  13. Don’t forget to proofread multiple times before submitting your resume to any potential employer or recruiter. The last thing you want is someone telling you that there’s an error on your resume or cover letter and causing them not to give it a second glance just because of a simple spelling or grammar error after all of your hard work preparing it!
  14. If you have a professional website, be sure to mention it in your cover letter and on your resume.
  15. When applying for jobs, be sure to follow the directions on the job posting exactly. Some times companies will only accept applications online, while others will only accept them via regular mail – so be sure to follow their instructions.
  16. Use PDF files when sending out your resume and cover letter. This way, if there is an issue with the file or it’s not opening for some reason, the person that you’re sending it to won’t be frustrated because they can’t open either your resume or cover letter. You should always have a PDF version of your resume and cover letter saved on your computer as well in case any issues arise when sending them via email.
  17. Make sure that you stay organized. It will be much easier for you to prepare for interviews, apply for jobs, or submit your resume if you have everything in one easy-to-find place instead of searching through everything you have to find what you’re looking for.
  18. Make sure that if you want to work in a particular field, that you are constantly staying up-to-date on industry-related news, events, or anything that will help you make a name for yourself in the field. You should also continue doing this while at work so that if something comes up where you need to promote yourself, you are able to do so effectively.
  19. Make sure your cover letter is addressed to a specific person, the information of the job listing is accurately represented in your cover letter, shows that you’ve researched the company, and includes examples of previous work experiences that are relevant to the job listing.
  20. If you have an objective statement on your resume, make sure it is professional and concise (one or two sentences max).
  21. Make your resume visually appealing and easy to read. Use a simple font such as Times New Roman or Arial 11pt font, and 2-inch margins on all sides.
  22. Put the most relevant work experience at the top of your resume (and be honest about it). Don’t embellish your resume if you don’t have that experience – one thing recruiters are good at is weeding out candidates who have made stuff up on their resumes.
  23. Always stay positive – no matter how many times you apply for a position, always keep calm and be polite when dealing with recruiters. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get a response from a recruiter after sending in an application – many times, recruiters receive hundreds of applications for each position they advertise, so it may take them awhile to respond! If you don’t hear back from them within a month, follow up with them via email asking when they expect to make a decision on candidates for this position (and always be polite!).
  24. Once you’ve sent in your resume and cover letter, it is important to follow up with the company by sending a thank you note or email within a few days of submitting your application. A simple thank you note shows that you are interested in the position and that you are willing to go beyond what is expected. You can either send it via email (if you know the name of the person who is handling your application) or regular snail mail to their address provided on the job posting. Keep it short and sweet – one short paragraph is all that’s needed!
  25. If you have any awards or accolades in your background, be sure to include them at the end of your resume in a separate section to highlight them (for example: Highest GPA, special recognition for an achievement, etc.) Also make sure you include them on your LinkedIn profile too! If you have any certifications or special training, be sure to include these as well (for example: WHIMIS certification, certified medical assistant certification, etc.)



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