Entries from the Job Hunter's Journal

Recruiters’ Top 10 Resume Pet Peeves

I  was just looking through a listing of Recruiters’ Top 10 Resume Pet Peeves by Norma Mushkat, from a Monster.com posting that I had downloaded from the Internet several years ago.   Since I was one of the 2,500 recruiters who contributed to the ResumeDoctor.com survey, I received a copy.  The original list had 20 items and is listed at www.iscworld.com/Top20.htm.   Norma Mushkat shortened the list and added some recruiter comments.  I will list everything verbatim and just wanted to make a note that the number 6 pet peeve is functional resumes.  I was going to devote a blog to writing functional resumes but since I really dislike them, and I don’t seem to be alone, I decided to provide this listing instead. 

Recruiters’ Top 10 Resume Pet Peeves:

10.  Personal Information Unrelated to the Job

With the limited time recruiters spend on your resume, you don’t want to distract them with your age, height, weight and interests unless they’re directly related to the work you want to do. 

 9.  Unqualified Candidates

You may want a job, but if you don’t have the skills and experience needed, recruiters will feel you’re wasting their time.  Look at the job description.  Be sure to highlight the skills the are looking for with a bulleted list of your related qualifications at the top of the document.

7.  Long Resumes and 8.  Paragraphs – Long Paragraphs instead of Bullet-points.

“I simply don’t have the time to read them,” says Bob Moore of Computer Recruiters, Inc.  Focus on the skills and accomplishments that directly apply to the job you’re trying to get.  Every word counts so don’t dwell on the specifics of each job, but rate the highlights specific to you.

6.  Functional Resumes

Whenever possible, recruiters advise you go with chronological resume and focus on the skills and accomplishments that pertain to the job you’re seeking.  If you are concerned about a layoff, be assured that “nowadays, unemployment is quite prevalent, and recruiters regard it differently,” says Jeanne Pace of Pace Search Services.  “Most people do something to keep their work (skills) going.”  Use that information to fill in the gaps.

5.  Poor Formatting

Different typefaces and boxes may look nice on paper, but if the resume needs to be scanned, they can cause confusion.  Recruiters suggest keeping your resume in plain text.

4.  Inaccurate or Missing Contact Information

“You create a resume for one reason:  To get a phone call,” says Kim Fowler of Fowler Placement Service Inc.  How can someone contact you if the phone number is  missing a digit or your email address is incorrect?  Be sure every resume you send has you correct contact information, including name, phone number, email address and street address.  Recruiter will not look you up; they’ll move on to the next candidate.

3.  Inaccurate Dates or None at All

Recruiters need to know when you worked where to get a better understanding of your work history and to use the dates for background checks.  According to Kathi Bradley of Bradley Resources, “Missing dates, especially for long periods of time, could send up a red flag, and the resume may be discarded as a result.”

Include specific ranges in months and years of  for every position.  If you have gaps, explain them either in your cover letter of introduction, but not you resume.  “It always helps to continue your education and training and to list any volunteer work during a slow period,” says Bradley.  “listing these under education or volunteer work should explain some of the gaps.”

2.  Too Duty-Oriented

“If you’re using your company’s job description, you’re missing the point of your resume,” says Paul Schmitz of Hufford Associates.  Recruiters already know what the job is; your resume should highlight your accomplishments in that position.  Schmitz advises you show what you’ve really done by outlining the process, outcomes and results that are specific to you.

1.  Spelling Errors, Typos and Poor Grammar

According to Bruce Noehren of J. Douglas Scott & Associates, this directly reflects your reputation.  “You don’t gain anything by getting it right,” he says.  “This is credibility you should already possess.”

How Is The Plastic Industry Job Market?

“How is the Plastic Industry Job Market?” remains the primary question I am asked by candidates looking for positions in the Plastics Industry.

In my role as a Third Party Recruiter (Headhunter) to the Plastics Industry, I have been talking to many plastic manufacturing companies about their current hiring plans.  The good news is that most of the companies report they are hiring, and in addition, many of them are hiring sales people.  The hiring of plastic sales people, especially resin sales people, is viewed as a very strong indicator because, from our experience, companies hire sales people when the market is on an upward swing and, strangely enough, companies downsize sales people when the plastics market is going south.

Overall, I believe the plastic industry job market is going to continue to grow in 2017 but probably at a slightly reduced rate from 2015 and 2016, so if you are looking at a great job offer this year, you might want to take it.

Many Job Seekers are Still “Not Getting It”!

I am a third party recruiter who receives over 100 resumes per week.  Most of those resumes are responding to postings I have place on several thousand job boards, or on my own web site.  When I post a job opening, I carefully spell out the job requirements.  Job seekers responding to my posting often have very few, or none, of the job skill and experience requirements in their resumes.  When I respond to the candidate via e-mail, or call them, and inform them that they don’t fit the job requirements, the job seeker often responds by telling me that they have the requisite skills but they failed to include the information in the resume.

A Resume is not just a formality, it is the key to unlocking the company’s hiring door.  If the information on the resume does not include the  information the hiring company wants, no amount of cajoling by the recruiter will get the hiring company to interview the candidate.  With the easy access to word processing software these days, there is no excuse for not tailoring a resume to fit the job description unless the job seeker does not have the requisite job skills and experience.  If a job seeker does not have the experience and job skills the company wants, they should not be responding to the positing by a third party recruiter for that particular position anyway.  If the job seeker is responding to the posting in order to get help from the third party recruiter with their job search, that should be clearly stated somewhere in the response.

I know many candidates believe that third party recruiters should “think outside the box” and present them to the hiring company anyway but that is not what companies are paying us to do.  Companies provide lists of qualifications they want met and that is that.  Companies are not looking for creativity when they hire a third party recruiter, they are looking to have their hiring needs met period.


A recruiter that is a member of the same recruiting network I am a member of, had what appeared to be a stellar Big-4 CPA candidate sail through a phone and follow up SKYPE interview with one of my top clients. They discussed money and responsibilities on the SKYPE and he was ready to accept an on the spot offer when they flew him in for the in person interview. As part of the interview process, the team took him out for lunch and twice during the luncheon discussion he looked down and checked his cell phone, once returning a text message. He was devastated when I told him that is why he is not getting the offer. He mentioned that all of his 20 something friends and fellow Big-4 CPAs text during meals.

I found this kind of amusing until, the very next day, one of my candidates who was suppose to be being trained could not quit texting an lost his job on the first day of work.  He is in his low twenties.   Now I am concerned this may be reoccurring problem with the Millennials.

The moral of the story is whether interviewing or being trained, turn the cell phone off and more importantly; do not text.


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