What do recruiters want?
It’s not easy being a recruiter – you’ve got 100-200 cover letters and resumes to review per vacancy and not much time to do it in. When you think about how many pages and how many words per resume that is, it’s staggering.
A recruiter’s work has to be quick and targeted to specific details. Pretend you’re a recruiter for a few minutes – what would you want to see in a candidate’s resume?
Here are five key tips on what recruiters in Australia want:
1. What recruiters want to see: Customised resumes
The main thing a recruiter is looking for someone that perfectly fits the advertised position. You could be the perfect candidate for the role, but if you don’t show the skills and experience that they’re asking for in your resume, they’ll move onto the next candidate.
You can prepare for this by customising your resume to perfectly suit the job ad. A good way of doing this is by identifying the kind of role that you’re looking for on SEEK. From here, you can note the key skills, qualifications and training the advertisement asks for. These are the things that you should be emphasising in your resume.
If you don’t have these, there are ways to work around this, but do not lie – it’s very easy to find out, and there are consequences. If you’ve seen a role that you want to apply for – but aren’t sure how to address key requirements you don’t have, contact us for advice.
2. What recruiters want to see: Specific skills and experience in your resume
A Key Skills list is the unsung hero of a resume. What this list accomplishes is a quick summary of the abilities that make you suited to the position. Do you know who has to read quickly? Recruiters! By presenting your most important information in short, sharp sentences, you’re achieving two things:
- You’re allowing the recruiter easy access to this vital information, meaning that their job is easier and you are more likely to be remembered.
- You’re highlighting these skills, demonstrating just how good you are at performing them, and showing why you would make a good employee.
Specific details will also help the recruiter understand exactly what you’ve accomplished. For example, ‘Good computer skills’ will tell them little, whereas ‘Highly experienced at using Microsoft Excel to manage the company’s 500 client database registry’ will clearly show what you can do, and why you could perform this role for a different business.
3. What recruiters want to see: Resume structure and design
While there’s a wide range of things a recruiter expects to see in your presentation, here’s the main one:
- Structure and style: There is an acceptable structure and style to the Australian resume, including your Key Skills list, Key Responsibility and Achievements and opening Personal Statement. A resume that doesn’t include these will be at a serious disadvantage. Avoid slabs of text – bullet points are the best.
4. What recruiters want to see: Keywords
It’s an age-old truth – words have power. This is why people are employed to write speeches – words can be used to encourage sympathy or to inspire anger, and everything in between. In writing a resume, you’re trying to accomplish a similar thing.
As a recruiter reading your resume, I’d want to see in detail how you ‘succeeded’ in performing tasks, and likewise how your roles included ‘managing’ tasks, ‘facilitating’ others and ‘providing’ further expertise.
There’s an opposite side to this too. There are many words that a recruiter doesn’t want to see and will make them stop reading your resume immediately. ‘Responsible’ is one such word. Never start a sentence with ‘responsible for X or Y’. One point to add to this is the matter of spelling errors – a single spelling error might make the difference in getting you a job.
5. What recruiters want to see: Local experience
Recruiters want to see candidates that they know will fit in well in an Australian work environment, and will often prioritise local candidates for that reason. Because of this, if you’re a skilled migrant or international student with little or no experience in Australia, your resume needs to be high quality to show yourself as strong competition.
A great way to give your resume more of an ‘Australian feel’ is by gaining experience in Australia, such as by doing an internship. This not only shows the recruiter how capable you are in an Australian work environment but also provides you with an Australian reference (something else your recruiter wants to see).
Career Success Australia offers Internship programs for this reason, and you can find more details online here.
What recruiters want to see – Key things to remember:
- Make sure your resume shows that you can do what the advertisement asks for, but don’t lie.
- Give specific skills and details – generalisations will lose your openings.
- Follow the structure that is accepted in Australia, and ensure all information is readable.
- Ensure that you’re using strong words to emphasise your abilities and roles.
- Avoid emphasising your ‘overseas feel’, as this will hold you back.
- An internship can give you valuable experience in Australia.
If you have any questions about customising your resume and how we can help, please don’t hesitate to get in touch so we can help you achieve your goal.
We wish you all the best in your job search!
Careers Team, Career Success Australia