6 Areas that Recruiters Look at First in a Resume

Recruiters looking at a resumeRecruiters are the first people to see your resume. It doesn’t go directly to the boss or the president of the company. It primarily goes to the hands of hiring managers or the human resources department—in short, recruiters.


Recruiters have different standards, and this is what makes your resume such a crucial factor. Maybe you’re wondered what the most important areas are when they give it a preliminary review. What gets their attention first when they scan it? Below are some of the things they tend to look at first when scanning your resume.

1. Contact Information

Recruiters are interested in your location and availability. They would, of course, prefer someone who is in the vicinity or who can be easily be accessed with a simple phone call or e-mail. This is critical information for your resume, so keep it updated. After all, the recruiter would prefer someone who can make it to the interview without being late due to a long commute. 

2. Job Title

The recruiter’s job is to see if you are a good fit for the position. How would he or she know it if you didn’t specify the job title you’re applying for. Being specific will help them avoid spending too much time searching for a position that would match your skills and abilities. As they review your resume and see if you have had this position in your previous employment, this will help them assess your capabilities and recommend you for an interview.

3. Employment Dates

They are interested on your past work experiences. Of course, if you are a newbie in the industry, your chances of getting an interview are less than those with more experience. However, you still have a chance if you focus on your skills, strengths, and educational background, which are also parts of your resume.

On the other hand, if you have already been employed at other companies, recruiters will look at the employment dates and see if there is consistency and continuity in those dates. They are also going to assess the longevity of your work with previous employers. Therefore, you have to make sure that your employment dates do not have any flaws.

4. Job Accomplishments and Responsibilities

In your resume, describe your job accomplishments and responsibilities. Recruiters look for applicants who are capable of managing things with full accountability. If you are applying for a sales position, one way to impress the recruiter is not just by stating that you have improved sales, but to provide numbers: how much was the increase? If you are aiming for an advertising position, don’t just deliver ideas and tell them you were able to increase the previous company’s television rates; show some evidence and let them see how you accomplished it.

In other words: Don’t just write what you did; write about how you managed to achieve it.

5. Core Strengths

Use keywords that would highlight your strengths and most valuable skills. Most recruiters scan through those bulleted key points at the top of your resume to find anything that would match the position you’re applying for. Don’t make it difficult for the recruiter to find them. Help him or her by putting those keywords at the top.

6. Educational Background

If you don’t have the credentials that the position requires, consider searching for a new job. The fact is, recruiters will be interested in the level of education you’ve attained in your chosen field. Just by looking at this, they can tell if you’re a serious candidate for the job.

These six areas are the things recruiters scan first to determine if you are worthy of an interview. However, this doesn’t mean that recruiters only look at these things. You should always concentrate on improving every aspect of your resume.

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Alan Carniol

Alan is the creator of Interview Success Formula, a training program that has helped more than 80,000 job seekers to ace their interviews and land the jobs they deserve. Interviewers love asking curveball questions to weed out job seekers. But the truth is, most of these questions are asking about a few key areas. Learn more about how to outsmart tough interviewers by watching this video.