Recruiters Guide to Fine-Tuning Your Resume

As a recruiter, I look at hundreds of resume each week. And having graduated with a degree in journalism, I love editing resumes, ensuring they really sing when hiring managers review them. Below are some suggestions to help you land that interview with your dream company.

Customization: One of the best pieces of advice is to tailor your resume to align with job you want, while keeping in mind that formatting, organization and readability are important as well. Take a long look at the job description for the role you have in mind. What key words and ideas jump out at you? What have you accomplished in your career that makes you an awesome fit for the position? Do you have the software/technical skills reflected in your resume that are required? Your resume should reflect all of these things.

The closer your resume matches up with the job description, the more compelling it will be for a Recruiter or Hiring Manager to follow up with you. It may be easy to assume that having a certain job title means you have a specific kind of experience, but you need to spell things out for someone like a recruiter who is quickly scanning for key words that jump out.

Length: Typically, you’re better off sticking to one page if you have less than five years of experience, and expand into two+ pages if you’re more seasoned.


  • Stick with standard fonts like Arial, Garamond, Times New Roman or Calibri. They’re easy on the eyes
  • Choose size 11 or 12 font – making the font smaller to fit everything on one page is not ideal – it needs to be readable
  • Avoid script fonts. Use italics, bolding and caps sparingly.
  • “Creative” formatting like using heavy graphics or running text diagonally across the page is never a good idea – it needs to be quickly scannable.

Things to Leave Off:

  • “References available upon request.” This is assumed.
  • Personal interests can be appealing to potential hiring managers, but avoid anything that is polarizing such as religious affiliations or sorority/fraternity membership.


Header: Your name, email address, phone number, city, state and zip code should be clearly listed at the top of the page. No need to share your street address.

Summary: A well-written Summary sets the stage for the rest of your resume. It’s a much stronger opener than an Objective statement. Five to seven sentences are ideal. Speak to your years of experience, area of specialization, and industries in which you’ve worked.  Do you have an advanced degree? Do you have staff management experience? Are you a strong project manager? Have you worked for a big name company or client? What are your technical or software skills?  Look at that job description again. What can you call attention to on a high-level to matches the things that the description calls for?

Tools/Skills: After your summary, make a quick list of the programs and skills you have in your toolkit – leading with those called for in the job description. Whether you’re a marketing analyst well-versed in Adobe Analytics, SQL, Excel and VBA or a designer skilled at using Adobe Creative Cloud and Sketch and Axure, call attention to your familiarity with the required and nice-to-have tools.

Professional Experience:

  • List your experience chronologically, with your most recent job listed first.
  • If you have been working for an agency or freelancing, include the names/industries of your top clients.
  • Lead with your company, title, start and end dates including months, not just the year.
  • Unless your company is a house-hold name, include a one line description about your company. Are they national or global? What industry are they in?  This helps put your experience into context.
  • When describing your role, think about the job description again. Lead with information that ties back to the job you’re applying to. More than just a list of tasks, speak to your measurable accomplishments. How have you impacted the bottom line?
  • Format these points in a bulleted list, rather than a big block of text.

Education: If you are very early in your career (less than three years out of school), you might consider floating your Education as the first item on your resume. If not, the Education section should be toward the end. Include the name of your school, the degree earned, and your graduation date.

by David Scalise | | Tags :

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