The Best Trick to Catch That Recruiter's Eye
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The Best Trick to Catch That Recruiter's Eye

by Kaitlin King
Photos Tiffany Rebecca | February 29, 2016

RECRUITERS WORK HARD, FAST, AND SMART IN A WORLD FULL OF DISTRACTIONS. THEY'RE ALSO WHAT STANDS BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR NEXT JOB. SO HOW DO YOU GRAB THEIR ATTENTION?

There’s a difference between seeing and looking. Of course, our eyes naturally read left to right, top to bottom, and text in bold. But beyond what we’re forced to notice first, a recruiter will hone in on the most pertinent elements of our resumes and letters, which are sometimes not the things we wanted to highlight. They can easily distinguish a good candidate from a great one. And if you nail those elements they're looking for? You're in. 

IN AN APPLICATION: YOUR FLOW 

According to Chief Talent Officer (and full disclosure: my former boss) Bob Neeser:

“In a CV I am looking for a story line or what might be termed 'flow.'  Where did this person’s career journey begin? Where has it gone? What are the stages? Is it upwardly progressive? Did she decide to go down a new path at some point?” 

Recruiters recognize the nonverbal cues of an applicant right away. 

Even early in your career, there’s an opportunity to show a journey (think: from your college major to your summer internship to your first job) and tell a cohesive, meaningful story. {click to tweet} Each professional experience is interconnected in your personal life so don’t be shy in revealing that in your resume. Recruiters are going through stacks of applications so there’s a certain amount of cut and burn required. Bob and I would make our initial “pass or yas” decision on a candidate based on whether we could get a strong sense of flow from the get-go.

ON LINKEDIN: YOUR SUMMARY

Including a professional statement on paper resumes has drifted in and out of favor, but on LinkedIn, the summary section is real estate gold—it’s your real shot at standing out personally and professionally. {click to tweet}

Think of it as the CliffsNotes version of your flow: it’s a recruiter’s invitation to keep reading by hinting at the juicy details. To channel the flow, write a first draft of your CliffsNotes career story (similar to writing a personal pitch) and then imagine if the questions posed be answered by a recruiter: What are you proudest of achieving? Where do you want to go next? What is most important to you? 

If not, go back and edit. Fine tune the details (if you think you can’t cut one more sentence, try it anyway—we dare you) and publish.

To channel the flow, write a first draft of your CliffsNotes career story and then imagine if the questions posed could be answered by a recruiter.

IN AN INTERVIEW: YOUR BODY LANGUAGE 

All of those generic how-to’s that come to mind when you think of confident body language are totally true—recruiters recognize the nonverbal cues of an applicant right away. Be aware of your body from the moment you meet the recruiter, and project positivity and poise: face your shoulders towards them, open your chest, look the speaker in the eye, and don’t even think about crossing your arms. Unfortunately, even a highly qualified candidate with a great story can send the wrong message without noticing the vibe they’re communicating with their physical form. 

Now, flow and go with confidence!

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Any other questions about working with a recruiter? We're happy to answer them for you in the comments.