What 10 things in your Resume upset recruiters?

  • Reading time:6 mins read

ResumeIf you think the Resume is used for getting you a job, sorry, but I’m here to tell you that it’s not.

Let me tell you the most important things that you must keep in mind when writing your Resume, also known as your personal marketing pitch.

The real and only purpose of the Resume is to get you an interview.

A headhunter – you know who 😉

Then, it’s the interview that leads you to the job (assuming you are interviewing because you want it). 

Important difference between Resume and CV

CV or ResumeYou probably heard the saying: Same Same But Different. A phrase common in South East Asia and quite appropriate to use when trying to explain the concepts of Resume and CV.

CV is from Latin, the language of ancient Rome and its empire, widely used historically as a language of scholarship and administration.

  • It’s short for Curriculum Vitae, which translated to English means Course of Life. In my version, I call it: Your Life Journey.
  • The CV is a Career Balance Sheet, a balance sheet as we know it from accounting and finance. It’s a long very detailed document that can run up to many pages, easily five to ten.
  • A document that does not skip even decimals, a presentation that can stand the toughest of audits.

Please, please. Your CV should never be shared with anyone.

It stays on your personal computer forever but from which you pick the relevant text when creating the all-important personal resume.

Résumé is originally a French word, meaning summary or outline.

In other words, the 2-page Resume that we use to introduce ourselves to executive search firms, recruitment companies or corporate talent acquisition professionals is simply a summary of your CV.

They say recruiters take 6 seconds to read it

Yes and no. Let me be more specific.

It takes recruiters six seconds to decide if we want to read it – or if it has no interest whatsoever, then deleted or returned to the tracking system black hole where it disappears without trace.

The irony is that recruiters and HR professionals do not carefully read all the resumes that have come up in a search or have been received through emails.

The first order of the day is to quickly get rid of all perceived non-qualified candidates. That’s the six seconds’ rule.

What 10 things in your Resume upset recruiters?

UpsettingSo, what are the things in your Resume that upsets recruiters?

So upsetting to the point of disqualifying a resume without a proper review?

Here’s a list of some of the things we look for:

  • Just your name but with no contact details on the top of the resume.
  • A photo that does not present you as the nice person I’m sure you are.
  • Too much text with too little white space around, narrow margins on both sides.
  • From-To work periods on the first line or first text under each employment. It attracts too much attention and gives away job hoppers and also those with more than 10 years in one job.
  • Use of buzz words like self-motivated, energetic, passionate – but no presentation of proper skills and technical knowledge.
  • Applying for a job without relevant education, job and industry experience.
  • New graduates, or candidates on their first ever job, now looking for a CEO job! Kidding me?
  • Showing current compensation which happens to be over the position budget. Or too low that indicates the person is not managerial material.
  • Too young, too old.
  • Never worked in Asia but wants a job in Thailand. 

Say too much and you are out; say too little and you are not in

Writing the perfect Resume is a challenge. It’s a time-consuming exercise whilst trying to balance how much you really want to say.

If you share too much information, you risk presenting an excuse to the recruiter to disqualify you in the first six seconds. If you say too little, the recruiter may not be convinced that you are good enough for the longlist.

 Think twice before choosing a resume writer

Many so-called professional resume writers charge from hundreds to thousands of dollars to write for you.

Funny enough, they are good writers but have never worked as a headhunter or in the recruitment profession.

Consequently, the lay out is well written, nice words, good for applicant tracking systems and Boolean.

But the document still appears more like a CV (career balance sheet, remember?) than the marketing pitch Resume that you need to get an interview.

Tom Sorensen

Tom Sorensen is an executive search veteran with over 25 years of experience recruiting in Asia, Europe, and Africa. He has worked in executive search in Thailand since 2003 and is recognized as one of the country’s top recruiters and most profiled headhunters.