Top 10 Resume Do’s and Don’ts From a Recruiter

By Gary Shaar   

    1. Never lie or knowingly misrepresent information on your resume. Examples are college degrees, dates of employment, position titles. Most companies today do thorough background checks that may include your work history, education, drug tests, criminal record, driving record and credit report. If a company discovers that a candidate was not honest on their resume, many times that will be grounds to not hire or in fact fire that individual.
    2. Use a chronological format resume whenever possible. It is a common human tendency to think of events in chronological order. If a recruiter receives a resume that is not in chronological order, it often raises questions (i.e. “What is this person trying to hide). An exception to this is if you are switching careers, but even then a chronological resume may work just fine.
    3. Recruiters usually do not read the summary at the top of a resume. An exception to this is if the position is for a very high level executive. Therefore, if you do include a summary, keep it very short (two lines long).
    4. Use an “Objective” at the top of your resume to be clear about the type of position you are looking for. If the recruiter has to guess or has any doubt it reduces your chances of further consideration.
    5. A recruiter will scan down your resume to your last two jobs to see how closely they match the jobs the recruiter is trying to fill. This is one of the most important factors in determining if your resume will warrant further review. Include the job title for each position and a brief job description (one line of text) for each position. If your job title does not clearly represent the work you performed, then use the most common or accepted title for the work you performed.
    6. Write your resume simply and clearly so most anyone could understand what you are trying to say. Write your resume so it will not leave any room for questions or doubts. Some examples of potential question areas are indicated below.

a.   For each position held indicate the dates from beginning month and year to ending month and year. Recruiters will ask you the dates for each position to identify the exact duration you were in the job and to determine if there were gaps between jobs and if so was there a good reason for the gap.

b.   For each position include the city and state where the position was located. Many positions require experience in a specific market or city. Recruiters will probably ask you the city and state if it is not included.

  1. Recruiters and hiring managers are looking for what you contributed to that organization on your resume and does it translate to the position for which they are hiring. Use three or four bullets under each job position to illustrate your greatest accomplishments or contributions. For each bullet, use the PAR (problem, actions, results) or STAR (situation, task assigned, actions, results) to clearly show accomplishments.
  2. Each bullet should quantify how you contributed to the bottom line or success of an organization. Use percentages, numbers, dollar figures, and cost savings to quantify your accomplishments wherever possible.
  3. Use a font that is easy to read. Avoid using Italics, underlining or excessive bolding.
    If college degrees or certifications are required or critical to be considered for the position, then list them toward the top of the first page of the resume. If they are not a requirement, then list them at the bottom of your resume.

This list is based on 5 years of recruiting experience Mr. Shaar obtained with Andersen Consulting, Romac International and Global Crossing Telecommunications. Mr. Shaar was a Navy pilot from 1979 to 1995, retired a LCDR. He earned a MA in Finance & Management from Webster University (1995) and a BS in Biology from Rutgers University (1978).