Recruiters Look at This Part of Your Resume First

Nancy Anderson
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As your introduction to job recruiters and potential employers, your resume has to grab attention fast. You want the entire document to represent you in the best light and showcase your skills and abilities, but the top half, the part recruiters see first when they're vetting candidates, is the portion of your resume that needs to instantly grab the reader's interest.

In the top part of your resume, include important details, such as your contact information an email address, but don't waste space listing every email address or contact number you have. Keep these details brief. It's also not important to include your mailing address. If the recruiter or employer has one phone number, one email address and the custom URL to your LinkedIn profile page or website, that's enough.

Use the top portion of your resume to give the reader a compelling view of your suitability as a candidate. Skip the objective statement, as it is no longer important to include one. Instead, include a well-written summary statement or profile statement that describes your skills and abilities in a way that lets recruiters know you're the right person for the job. Consider this profile statement your elevator pitch.

For the purposes of your job search, you've become a salesperson; you're selling your suitability as a job candidate. For your summary, type five to eight sentences that describe the benefits you can bring to a company, but avoid generic terms like "flexible," "creative" or "team player." Those terms don't really tell the recruiter or employer anything substantial. You want your resume to reflect specific skills you can prove. Therefore, include a statement like "As the most experienced member of my sales team, I created an incentive program that increased sales by 15 percent in the first quarter of 2017." Job recruiters like to see your skills in context. This strategy also provides information about your accomplishments in previous positions.

In your profile section, consider adding details about your current role, especially if it's relevant to the new position or includes responsibilities that would make you a standout candidate. You could also place this information in a separate section on your resume that explains your current role in more detail. The idea is to outline your talents and abilities as clearly as possible.

The top portion of your resume could also include a core skills section. Determine the skills that would most appeal to managers in your industry. Certain skills can help recruiters determine if you're the right match for the position. In your core skills section, you could also include industry-specific achievements or awards that help you to stand out even more.

A recruiter's job is to match your special talents with the right position. Your resume needs to highlight your best attributes as soon as possible so it catches the recruiter's interest and keeps it.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at


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