candidates Candidate Search Hiring

8 Steps to Creating a Resume that Will Impress Recruiters

November 13, 2020

IQTalent Partners knows resumes — all resumes. Our recruiters research, source, and evaluate resumes for a wide variety of industries and experience levels. Across the board, we know what impresses companies looking to fill a role and what doesn’t. We know the path between a job description and the perfect resume to fill that role. And although our screening spans multiple industries, functions, and skill levels from management-level to executive search — we’ve found the pillars of an excellent resume no matter the skill set or industry. 


These are our 8 top tips for job searchers to create  a resume that impresses recruiters.

1. Cut the Fluff 

Everybody is a “hard worker,” “team player,” and “dedicated professional,” according to their resume. I know we've been trained to say those things, but leave that stuff out because it just takes up valuable space and is unoriginal. Instead, feature what will make you stand out next to the next candidate. 

When screening resumes, @IQTalent #recruiters know pretty quickly if the candidate is the right fit for their client. These are their 8 steps for creating a #resume that will impress recruiters:Click to Tweet

2. Be Exact in Your Skillset

As a follow up to #1 above, listing very specific skills, accomplishments, and expertise in an area is attractive for a recruiter to see. Don’t be generic in your accomplishments. “Specializing in building XYZ for 5 years….” or “History of closing deals over $1 million for over a decade…” sounds very good, especially if I’m looking for someone who knows how to build XYZ or close $1 million deals!


Free Download: Tap into the candidate outreach email templates we swear by.


3. List Your Skills and Rank Them Based on How Strong You are in Each

This is especially important with tech resumes, but it still applies to everyone. Some candidates may be apt to create a lengthy list of skills they are excellent in — but it comes off as phony. Having an easy to read that says, “Expert in these skills: (a, b, c); Intermediate in these skills: (d, e, f); Some experience in (g, h, i)” gives recruiters a clear idea of your capabilities. The list allows a recruiter to know exactly what they’ll get from a candidate.


4. Avoid "Word Vomit"

This goes hand-in-hand with the point above. Just because you used a form of technology for two weeks six years ago does not mean it needs to be on your resume! Keep your resume focused on the skills you can bring to the table on day one, whether at an expert or a novice level. Recruiters can see through an excessive list of skills you aren’t likely proficient in.


5. Keep Your Work at Previous Companies Specific and to the Point

List projects you’ve worked on, products you’ve built, numbers you’ve hit, teams you’ve managed, awards you’ve won, and value that you’ve  added to your company. Don’t fill it up with facts that aren’t especially impressive or try to make your experience sound sexier than it actually is. And keep it short. You should be able to articulate something you accomplished in one to two sentences maximum.  


6. Don’t Worry about Length if the Resume is Well Written

There’s this urban myth out there that your resume has to be 1-2 pages, or a recruiter will never read it. That’s not the case. Recruiters and hiring managers are just like the rest of the world: they’ll read anything if it has their attention. By following these tips and making a kick-ass resume that is easy on the eyes and directs to your skills and achievements, they’ll read all ten pages of it if that’s how long it takes to list all your meaningful accomplishments! On the flip side, shortening your career achievements to one page of vagueness to make it short won’t benefit you in the long run.

Everybody is a “hard worker,” “team player,” and “dedicated professional,” according to their resume. Cut the fluff and follow these 8 steps from @IQTalent for a resume that will impress.Click to Tweet

7. But, Don’t Oversell

If you have a 25-year career, you may be worthy of a 3-4 page resume. If you have several patents or are an over-achiever, you may be worthy of a 3-4 page resume. If you are a recent college grad, have only worked at McDonald’s, or you’ve been in sales or marketing for three years and have limited achievements, that is okay! Recruiters already know you’re early in your career. There’s no need to blow smoke to try and over impress a recruiter. Be direct.


8. Have a Theme for your Resume

This may be the most critical point. If you have a resume, it’s for a specific reason: to try to get a job. If you are trying to get a job within a particular area, market, location, seniority, or anything else, make that the theme of your resume. Don’t fill it up with a bunch of nonsense and things you’ve done in the past that aren’t relevant to what you are trying to achieve with your career. Make the first 1-2 sentences on your resume a brief statement of what you are looking for or trying to accomplish. “XYZ professional with 10+ years of experience looking for a role where I can do XYZ and use XYZ skills to add value to a company” is a great way to start a resume. Recruiters will already know exactly who you are and what you want! The rest of your resume should support that brief statement.

At IQTalent Partners, we’ve seen our fair share of candidate resumes. Ones that stand out and others that miss the mark. When a candidate follows these 8 steps and their resume matches our client’s needs, it’s a great feeling. But it comes down to the research and sourcing it takes to find the right talent in a large pool of candidates. We use expertise, adaptable tactics, and the newest innovations in AI and automation to find, scout, and source interested, qualified candidates when our clients need us. Reach out and see how your in-house hiring team can leverage IQTalent Partners for an expert outlook on your talent pipeline.


The recruiting you need. When you need it. Contact IQTalent Partners today