ExecuNet Recruiter Survey Reveals Résumé Secrets that Avoid the “Black Hole”

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According to a March survey of 144 executive recruiters, there are some simple tips that determine whether your résumé gets you screened out or called in for an interview.

Job seekers have to realize the résumé is a marketing document and nothing short of the best impression will suffice.

Nothing leads to greater frustration in job search when a clearly qualified applicant submits a résumé and feels it lands in a “black hole” because they don’t get a response. According to ExecuNet’s March survey of 144 executive recruiters, fixable mistakes on the résumé document are largely the cause for résumés to be screened out and prevent an interview that could land a job.

Top Reasons Recruiters Screen Out Résumés
1.    Grammar mistakes
2.    Typos
3.    Gaps in employment history
4.    Inconsistent formatting
5.    Missing metrics
Source: ExecuNet, 2013

“Before sending your résumé to anyone, it’s important to make sure there are no glaring mistakes or missing information,” says Don Weintraub, Managing Director of ExecuNet’s Performance Improvement and Career Services group. “Job seekers have to realize the résumé is a marketing document and nothing short of the best impression will suffice.”

While it’s crucial executives take the time to address these issues and avoid making mistakes that can land their résumé in the recycling bin, they must also ensure they attract résumé readers to what the surveyed recruiters said catches their eye when they first glance at a résumé.

Top Attention-Getters on Résumés
1.    Most recent title
2.    Most recent company
3.    Employment dates
4.    Candidate’s location
5.    Previous companies
Source: ExecuNet, 2013

Yet, even with the most error-free and attractive résumé, executives aren’t always going to get the attention of a recruiter. The best way to get noticed by a recruiter, according to the ExecuNet survey, is when the résumé is accompanied by a personal referral. The personal connection will land the résumé at the top of the pile and out of the black hole.

Reasons Recruiters More Highly Consider Résumés
1.    Referred by someone they know
2.    Recognizable company names
3.    Great cover letter
Source: ExecuNet, 2013

ExecuNet offers complimentary résumé reviews for members, as well as a full slate of personal marketing services to help executives create effective and attention-getting personal marketing materials, such as résumés, cover letters, online profiles and ValuGraphics.

“Most executives are not résumé writers. Getting some help crafting your personal marketing materials, such as your résumé, can provide the boost a job search needs to be successful,” says Weintraub.

About ExecuNet
Since 1988, ExecuNet has helped business leaders shape positive change to achieve what’s next in their individual lives. From its beginnings as a small gathering of executives in Connecticut, ExecuNet has evolved into a private network of over 250,000 senior-level executive members with a belief in the transformative potential of trusted insight, real connections and personal introductions to help them find meaningful new work, advance in their careers, better manage the growth of their businesses, and become high-value leaders. A recognized authority in executive employment, retention and recruitment, as well as human capital trends, ExecuNet keeps its members informed about what’s important to them in business and their careers.

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Mark M. Anderson, President & Chief Economist
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