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A Recruiters View from the Energy Capital of the World
23 November 2015
Why you weren’t called for that perfect job
Category: Candidates
Article By Tonya Spell

As both a Recruiter and an Account Manager, I have the added benefit of working with candidates as well as directly with the hiring managers.  This allows me a unique perspective.   I want to help candidates have the best chance at the right job for both sides. This often means helping a candidate tailor his/her resume, since it is the first impression to hiring authorities. Employers will draw conclusions from its quality and it continues to be an important part of the hiring process.

Although writing resumes can often be tedious, you need a strong resume if you’re looking for new work opportunities. It’s not enough to be qualified; you have to sell yourself with an outstanding resume. Here are some tips for making sure your specs are up to spec.


  • A resume is different writing than normal everyday communication. Think brief and precise. No pronouns. No be verbs (is, was) or auxiliary verbs (do, did, have, has) and modals (could, might, would).
  • Make sure your grammar is impressive. Correct capitalization. Excellent spelling (“their, they’re, there”). Present tense for current role; past tense for prior roles. Keep your lines short and declarative, in first person without pronouns. E.g. “Designed and implemented software,” as opposed to “While there, I designed software, etc.”


  • Many candidates look for several different titles or roles at the same time, depending on their interests, talents and experience. If that’s you, you’ll want to have a separate resume for each role, reorganizing each resume to highlight the relevant experiences for each role sought. If you have done Project Management but stayed hands on as a developer too, you won’t want to send a resume geared towards a PM role if you are applying for a Sr. Developer role. It goes without saying that you of course need to stay honest about your experience but it is ok to highlight different capabilities in different versions.
  • Employers assume you are listing your skills in a declining order, so order your experiences to reflect the needs of the company and to reflect your strengths and interests. If you don’t like project management, don’t put it at the top of your skills. If you’re primarily experienced at C#.Net, for instance, then don’t bury it in a sea of technical abilities. Put it front and center.
  • If applicable, include metrics. Quantifiable data looks really good in experience. And make sure you detail how your technical skills were used in your previous roles. (“Designed and implemented software using PHP, MySQL, Apache and Linux”). And feel free to get more specific about what exactly you accomplished in each task or role. (“Provided software support to over 30 partnered clients with x total users”).
  • It might be tempting to hire a freelancer to write your resume. While it’s certainly important to take your resume to a talented resume-writer for revision, you need to be the author of your credentials, because only you will be able to accurately portray your experience in a meaningful way.
  • Cookie-cutter resumes can be smelled from a mile away. Make sure the content in your experience is accurate to you specifically. You don’t want to sound like a job description.
  • Unless you personally helped with an accomplishment, leave it off. You don’t want to accidentally lead potential employers into thinking you can do more than you actually can.


  • The goal of a resume is to detail experiences efficiently to an employer. Even if you can write beautiful paragraphs about your experience, job history really needs to be shown in bullet points.
  • Consistency is key! One font style is best with only titles of sections or roles being in a large font size. The simpler a resume, the better. Choose one primary font. Then bold and underline as appropriate to give the document a structured, logical look.
  • Be cautious about your use of charts, grids or graphics to structure your document, for simple, yet serious reasons: Often times formatted resumes won’t return your file in an applicant tracking system or computer system. For instance, if you write your technical skills in a box, and then I look for “.Net Developer” in my computer, many times your resume won’t get pulled, even if you match my search. It also will not convert over right to various operating systems and may come through the ATS looking very bad by the time the hiring manger sees it.
  • Did I mention simple is better? Doc. Format is generally the best format for submitting resumes to applicant tracking systems or even directly to recruiters. Although these systems are continuing to update, there are many that don’t import PDF’s or docx cleanly.  And since they don’t import well into older ATS systems, they are not always searchable. Many recruiters will need to ask you for a Word document anyway as they usually will remove your contact information and replace it with theirs. So save having to send two over to begin with and start with an editable Word format.

The art of finding work can be complicated, and at times it might seem overwhelming, but a good recruiter can help you make a resume that is as impressive as you are. Just remember that your goal is to honestly reflect your experience in a persuasive way. You’ll be amazed at how much a good resume will open new doors in your job search.

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