How Are You Being Perceived By Your Resume?

Written by Stephanie Haigh, Director of Talent Acquisition, RentPath

Your Resume is Our First Impression

If you aren’t dating a recruiter, married to a recruiter or even BFF’s with a recruiter, and you definitely aren’t a recruiter, have you asked yourself – “Self,  how do I make a great first impression with my resume?”

Resume writing tips are important overall, but we thought it would be nice to give you some of the things our Talent Acquisition team and Hiring Managers really look for in a resume.

Job hopping 

– The infamous “job hopping” concern. Recruiters and Hiring Managers alike have the same concerns…”if they can’t settle down anywhere else, then why would they settle down with us?”  There are a few ways to think about this topic:

  • Contractors, Consultants, Independent Consultants, etc. Call it what you want but this really should mean that you were hired for a finite period of time and for a specific assignment, then you left the assignment when the project was done. If that’s the case – then tell us. For example, your first bullet could read “Contracted for a 6 month assignment to create a product roadmap for the next product release, and the assignment was completed in 5 ½ months.” Or you can just state in your title that you were a contractor, such as “Talent Acquisition Contractor”. Consultant is one of those titles that can be misconstrued. It may mean that you are at the highest rank in that job family or that you are on a project for a finite period of time. So make sure you are clear in your definition.
  • Sometimes we are proactively recruited away from our previous roles into roles that offer a lot more potential – even if you weren’t really unhappy with your last role.  So tell us that – “Proactively recruited to join ABC Company to revamp their Talent Acquisition infrastructure.”
  • If you know that you’ve moved from job to job a little more frequently than you really want to admit, don’t try to cover it up – just admit it. Tell us that story in your cover letter or try addressing it in the body of the resume.
  • But be consistent – if you address one short stint on your resume, you need to address all of them. Otherwise, we will make up our own story for those you left off.

Responsibilities / Accomplishments 

– Remember, the resume is a document that helps Recruiters and Hiring Managers understand your qualifications for the role under consideration. Don’t share every little detail about your experience but focus more on your specific accomplishments with the company.  The resume is simply the ticket to the interview, not the interview itself.

  • Try to answer the questions – What did “I” contribute to the company? What was my value proposition and how did my efforts contribute to the success of the company?
  • Instead of listing everything you’ve ever done, first take some time to review the job description carefully. Pay attention to the responsibilities listed and tailor your resume to reflect what you have done in your background that will catch our attention. But PLEASE do not copy and paste our description into your resume……yes, some have done that before.
  • NEVER use first tense. We know your resume is about you, so don’t include statements or bullets that start with “I”.
  • DO include action words / verbs; metrics; challenges, solutions and results; project outcomes; etc.
  • Example:  “Lead a team….” Versus “I lead a team…”
  • If you are in Sales and there are no metrics towards your goals listed out in your resume, that’s a big miss on your part. Or it tells us that you might not have met your goals.
  • When you quote metrics, make sure you specify “your” metrics. A good interviewer will pick out the metrics from your resume and ask for more details and clarification. While a team saving the company $10 million is a massive accomplishment, we are pretty sure that most people won’t create that kind of cost savings on their own. So tell us what your role was specifically in that initiative.

Competencies / Skills

  • The best advice we can give is to ensure that this list is concise and accurate. For example, if you list “Detail Oriented” as a strength, you’d better not have any typos, grammatical errors, punctuation errors, etc. in your resume. So get three close friends (preferably an English major) to review your resume before you send it to anyone else.


  • In today’s world, your resume will be viewed online before it is ever printed.  There’s no reason not to use a little color or a unique, but readable format.
  • We look at resumes all day long, the majority of resumes are written in black ink, left justified with the candidate’s name centered at the top.  What can you do to stand out and create a visual cue?
  • If you are designer, a well designed resume is truly your opportunity to give us a first impression of your work.  Don’t worry about parsing issues, most applicant tracking systems (ATS) are smart enough to be able to read PDF’s.
  • For goodness sake, if you are a designer – please make sure you have a link to your portfolio!  Not having one is like walking into an empty art gallery! We can’t decide if you are a fit if we can’t see your work.

Your resume is a dynamic document, flexing and changing for each application.


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