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Love it or Leave it – A Recruiter’s View on what Makes a Great Resume

April 21, 2015 | Matthew Wilder

I have spent 8 years as a recruiter and during this time have reviewed countless resumes for candidates seeking positions ranging from entry level to management roles. After considering thousands of resumes, you begin to see what gets a candidate to the next step in the application process and what doesn’t.

Tailor your resume
Flazingo Photos, flickr

1. Consider the role you are applying for and the culture of the organization when crafting your resume. Creative functions allow for more out of the box thinking and professional roles expect more traditional resume styling.

2. Choose an easy to read font style and size. Arial, Tahoma and Franklin Gothic Book are good choices. With the exception of creative roles, stay away from designer or cursive fonts. Font size shouldn’t smaller than 10 point or bigger than 12 point.

3. Omit the objective. Your objective of finding a job with the company you’re applying to is implied. Instead, consider a career summary that will allow you to highlight your skills in a few sentences or bullet points.

Say thank you

4. Consider using bullet points to highlight your experience. I prefer bullets over paragraphs because it makes it easier for the recruiter to hone in on the candidate’s skills and abilities.

5. Focus on your achievements instead of job duties. I like to see what you’ve accomplished in your current and previous positions because it helps me evaluate what you can bring to Express Scripts. For example, you can include the number of direct/indirect reports, percentage cost savings achieved, etc.

6. Don’t forget about your education. Your education can qualify you for specific levels of roles. It also gives insight into your interests. Make sure to indicate if the degree is complete or in progress.

cat via flickr
Jaume Escofet, flickr

7. Attach the correct files. You may choose to tailor your resume to various positions you apply to, resulting in multiple versions of the document. Upload the correct versions to ensure the intended information is received by the recruiter. For example, you could save the document with your name, date as the title (MWilderResume1.10.15). I once had an applicant upload a PDF file with the title “Resume” to an application. When I opened the attachment, it was a picture of a cat.

8. Double check spelling and grammar before submitting your resume. Spell check is helpful, but it doesn’t catch everything. The human brain can identify errors the computer doesn’t. Have a friend or peer assist you in reviewing your resume to fix any mistakes. For example, Manager and Manger are two very different nouns. Remember that one simple letter can help your career.

Want to put your new resume-building skills to work? Try applying for a job with Express Scripts.


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10 thoughts on “Love it or Leave it – A Recruiter’s View on what Makes a Great Resume

  1. Mary E McCutchan

    Thank you for sharing your experience and reflections on reviewing resumes. I have been wanting to update mine and this will help.

  2. lisa jackie

    Hello I am interested in two positions that are available at the same location. I have already taken the assessments and will do my digital interview today. How and when will I be able to express which position I would rather have?

  3. Monica McKellar

    I have gotten to the digital interview for several positions. Since I currently provide customer service virtually, I am use to searching the computer screen for information and it makes it difficult to concentrate on the camera. Do you have any tips for the digital interview?

  4. Sherry

    Awesome article. I definitely went into my resume to check everything that you mentioned and even make it a bit more modern.

  5. cyndi

    Great article! I wish I had read it before I submitted my resume! Maybe I’ll redo & resubmit….then you can see what an amazing learner I am!


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