Build your job resume today with our free tool
Resume Surgeon > Blog > How to Impress a Recruiter


Sending your resume out to recruitment companies could help you to find employment but what do recruiters look for on a resume and application? Are they different to employers? And what can make your resume stand out from the other candidates registering with recruitment companies? We spoke to an ex-recruiter to find out some tips on how to impress.

What Should a Candidate Include On Their Application?

If you are applying for a specific role that is being advertised then you should treat it as if you are applying directly to the company. Just because you are sending your resume to an employment agency, it doesn’t mean that they won’t look through each application carefully. A recruitment agency is acting on behalf of clients so they have the same mindset – they are looking for the same skills and attributes that the employer is so it’s essential that you demonstrate these on your application. Agencies usually receive email applications for specific roles and a good resume and cover letter is crucial. Use the cover letter to explain your current employment position and why you want the job. And use your resume to demonstrate why you are the right person for it. If you are simply sending your resume in for the agency to keep on record then you should list your most recent experience on your resume and use your cover letter to explain what types of roles you are looking for and your expectations.

What Makes a Resume Stand Out?

It really does depend on the job role. Some clients may want to see work experience whereas others may be fixated on grades. I think the main thing is to try and make your resume relevant to the job role or the industry. Use your personal statement to explain why you are a good candidate and list your skills somewhere that will make them jump out of the page. Layout is important too – a resume that is clear and concise and looks good is probably going to get read first.

What Would Make a Recruiter Consider a Candidate for a Job Role They Are Advertising?

Before a recruiter sends a resume to an employer they will check it thoroughly. They will look for the skills and qualifications the employer has requested and will decide whether they are capable of fulfilling the role. They will then do a telephone interview with the candidate and will be looking for a host of things. Firstly how reliable they are. If they arrange a telephone call and the candidate doesn’t pick up or rearranges it frequently then it can make them look unreliable. They’ll then be checking for how professional the candidate is including telephone manner. After the initial telephone interview they will try to meet the candidate face-to-face to really find out about their personality and whether they’d be a good fit for the organisation. They will also ask questions based on the candidate’s expectations including salary and commute. Once they are happy all of this matches with the client they will do their best to get an interview for the candidate and hopefully a job offer!

What Advice Would You Give to Someone Looking for a Job?

To be persistent. It can take time as its competitive – no matter what industry you work in. Keep applying, use social media to network with people in your industry and ensure you are signed up to a recruitment agency too as it will really help to widen your job search.

To get started on your resume now try our online resume builder.

Get started with our free resume service! Try it today!