So, you are looking for a job. Most of us by now understand the value a recruiter provides in your job search. Connecting with a headhunter can ignite your job search and help you get interviews with the companies you are interested in for the positions you want to fill.

The problem – recruiters see thousands of resumes each year, and most of them look the same. They use the same formats, phrases, fonts, and structures.

Did you know recruiters spend an average of 6 seconds on a resume? This is according to the 12th annual Mystery Job Candidate Survey.

That’s not very much time to get a recruiter’s attention and leave a lasting impression, let alone get them to select your resume from the pile of hundreds of other applications.

Remember, the goal of your resume is not to land a job; it’s to get a recruiter’s attention and to give them a reason to take a closer look at your resume and – maybe – consider you for a position and even call you to follow up.

How to Get a Recruiter’s Attention with Your Resume

1. Optimize your resume using keywords: Keywords play an important role. Use job descriptions to identify words, phrases, and qualifications that an employer is looking for and make sure you include them in your resume.

2. Highlight the key points upfront: Getting to the point is important. Since a recruiter is only spending a few seconds on your resume, it’s important to highlight what you have to offer upfront. Use a summary statement or list of bullets at the beginning of your resume to catch a reader’s attention and provide them with a quick summary of what you are about, your experience, and what you are looking for.

3. Make use of section headings: Section headings provide you with the perfect opportunity to catch a recruiter’s eye. Rather than using generic headings such as “experience,” be more descriptive and use this space effectively.

4. Leverage brand experience: Top company brands will get a recruiter’s attention, and it’s important to leverage this on your resume. Even if you only had a minor role with a major brand, including that brand will get the recruiter’s attention. Listing companies such as Amazon, Nike, or Google will get headhunters and hiring managers to spend more time on your resume.

5. Stand out: In a crowded and competitive world, you need to make your resume stick out. If you use the same template, format and font as everyone else, how do you expect to get a second look? We’re not saying do something completely off the rails, but if you can come up with a creative way to differentiate yourself, do it.

These tips are intended to make your resume more appealing and grab a recruiter’s attention. Once you get their attention and they take a closer look, you still need to ensure you resume reads well and stands out from the pack.

Learn Tips from our Toronto recruiters by checking out these blog posts:

9 Things You Should Do Within the First 72 Hours of Losing Your Job

5 Proactive Job Hunting Resolutions for 2016

Is the Resume Dead or Just Sick?


IQ PARTNERS is an Executive Search & Recruitment firm with offices in Toronto and Vancouver. We help companies hire better, hire less & retain more. We have specialist teams of recruiters in Financial Services & Insurance, Marketing Communications & Media, Emerging Tech & Telecom, Consumer Goods & Retail, B2B & Industrial, Technology, Accounting & Finance, HR & Operations and Mining & Engineering. IQ PARTNERS has its head office in Toronto and operates internationally via Aravati Global Search Network. Click here to view current job openings and to register with us.

Bruce Powell Executive Search

Bruce Powell

Bruce co-founded IQ PARTNERS in 2001 and currently operates as Managing Partner. His personal background includes hands-on management experience in sales, marketing and marketing services. He has built management teams for a wide variety of marketing, communications, media and technology companies. He has also participated in several M&A transactions for service-based companies and is frequently called upon as a resource in the planning and negotiation of such deals.

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