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As recruiters, we are often asked to review, write or otherwise critique resumes.  We also read and screen several hundred resumes every week for the positions we are recruiting to fill.  So, what is in a resume that catches our attention and makes us want to contact a prospect?

Headings

The first thing that will drive our recruiters to dismiss a resume is not being able to locate required information quickly.  This is where clear Headings come in.  The recruiters want to quickly see the education, certifications and work history without having to search for where it is on the document

Dates

Dates are very important when it comes to Work History.  Recruiters need to see that you have the required years of experience, in the required industries.  The dates should also be in a consistent format.  You can use years (2015-2019), month and year (5/2015 – 11/2019 or May 2015 to Nov 2019) but DO NOT use different formats for different jobs

Relevancy

The information on the resume must be relevant to the job description for which the recruiter is seeking to fill.  The specific information you choose to list either in a skills table or, preferably, in the body of information pertaining to each job you have worked where you used those skills.  Customize each and every resume you submit to speak directly to the job description

Metrics / Accomplishments

Listing your duties and responsibilities for each job you have does not tell a recruiter how well you performed those duties and responsibilities.  A resume that contains quantifiable accomplishments will stand out from the rest.  For example, let us say you are an EHS Manger in a Manufacturing Facility.  An accomplishment might be:

Implemented Safety Training program that resulted in a 30% drop in recurring injuries cutting workers’ comp expenses by 20%, or $180,000, over a two-year period.

How do you have the information needed for this kind of ever-changing resume?

That is actually an easy thing to do.  We recommend everyone have a ‘living resume’ that is updated every time you achieve a new goal, metric or other change.  This may result in you having a resume that is five or even 10 or more pages.  Now this is not the resume you will send out anywhere, but it will provide you with all of the historical information you will need when you are applying for a specific position.  We believe this is an important foundation since you may not remember what you did three, five or 10 years ago.

When it comes time to sending a resume out, you use that foundation document to create the customized one for the position you are seeking.