Things a Recruiter May Not Tell You

The following is an excerpt from an article written by a former executive recruiter and headhunter, and posted at careerealism.com.  These are some of the top things that recruiters “will never tell you”, as you focus your job search.

Your cover letter put him off.

You might have been thrilled to find just the right cover letter form in a book of cover letters or computer template. What you don’t realize is that a thousand other people have also found that cover letter. It makes your cover letter look like 150 other letters he has read that morning. And it makes you seem unoriginal, and not a good candidate.

If your cover letter sounds like an exact repeat of your resume, or if it sounds pompous and self-absorbed, your cover letter and resume will be tossed or ignored. A professionally written cover letter can make the best of your accomplishments and give a fresh sound to recruiters, winning their interest.

Recruiters spend five to ten seconds looking at each resume.

If your resume cannot get his attention in five to ten seconds, it will be passed over.

In an extremely fast-paced environment, high-volume resume reading is required; recruiters are professionally trained to look for certain items. If your resume is not designed to contain what recruiters are looking for, you won’t get a second chance.

Note: many companies now electronically scan resumes, searching for key words.  So, it could be tossed before ever going to a person.

Your resume may be full of hidden or unsuspected red flags.

You think you have a great resume, but there may be red flags you are not even aware of. Here are a few that cause concern for recruiters:

    • Too many jobs in a short time = Unstable candidate
    • Too many years at the same company/industry = Inflexible to change
    • Overqualified = Too expensive or won’t stay long
    • Underqualified = Long learning curve
    • Too many different types of jobs = Candidate doesn’t know what he wants

A professional resume and cover letter can avoid these misperceptions by guiding the recruiter toward your strongest accomplishments—and away from the red flags.

Your age is obvious from your resume.

You may think you’ve fooled the recruiter by leaving out your college graduation date, but there are many resume cues that can betray your age. In today’s youth-oriented market, this can lead to a whole series of misconceptions:

    • Your industry knowledge is out of date
    • You don’t understand current technology
    • You won’t be able to work under younger managers

A well-written resume can prove your experience while downplaying your actual age.

Your resume indicates you are not a good “cultural fit” for his clients.

Your resume reveals more about you than you know. Your personal information or extracurricular activities may actually make a negative impression on recruiters or potential employers. Even the way you phrase your job experience can prove that you don’t belong in his client’s workplace.

This is one area where a strong resume, geared toward the desired job, can help the recruiter to sell you to his clients with ease.

He doesn’t care why the employer didn’t make you the offer.

Recruiters don’t want to admit that they knew you were the second choice all along or that the employer was just interviewing you to go through the motions. Maybe the top candidate was even someone else he sent in.

You have to be aware that you are in competition at all times—even with other job seekers your recruiter represents. As such, you have to be prepared to wow the recruiters and employers with a top-notch resume and cover letter, one that will win everyone’s attention, and hone the interview skills that will win you the offer.

You have to be aware that you are in competition at all times—even with other job seekers your recruiter represents. As such, you have to be prepared to wow the recruiters and employers with a top-notch resume and cover letter, one that will win everyone’s attention, and hone the interview skills that will win you the offer.

While these tips may not be applicable to all recruiters, they are good food for thought as you prepare and work through your job search.

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