Monday, February 15, 2010

How to Get a Recruiter to Open Your Resume

It's not easy to get your resume noticed in this job market. Spamming companies with unsolicited resumes doesn't work. The best way to get a recruiter to read your attached resume: Put the job title in the subject line and summarize your qualifications for that job in the body of your email.

The reality. A recruiter will not be likely to open an unsolicited resume. Recruiters are focussed on the job opportunities they are trying to fill right now.

I just posted a new job. My Blackberry buzzes every few minutes with messages from people applying to the job. This happens anytime I post a job with the word "sales" or "project manager" or "QA" in the job title.

It's a rush job order. I need to call the best applicants right away for an intial telephone screening which could lead to an interview. Every applicant has attached a resume. I wish I had time to open every resume but I don't. Here's how I decide which resumes to open first:
  • Don't spam. If I see a long list of email addresses in the Send To box I'll problably consider the email a spam and ignore it.
  • Put the job title in the subject line. If the job title appears in the subject line I'm going to read your email. If the subject line says something generic like "Resume" or "Job Application" its going to be filed our resume database.
  • Summarize your key qualifications. Briefly introduce yourself then write 5 or 6 bullet points to prove you are qualified for the requirements of the job. If you've convinced me that you're qualified I'm going to look at your resume.

You're one step closer to an interview. You've peaked my interest. Your resume is as impressive as your introductory email. I'm going to give you a call. Hopefully we can get the ball rolling for an interview.

Tim Collins


  1. Thanks Tim for the insights! I haven't tried doing the third bullet (summarize key qualifications), so I'll do that going forward. Maybe it's one of the reasons I haven't been getting a lot of replies!
    Cheers, Duane.

  2. Thanks for your comment. I know that recruiters really appreciate seeing a summary of qualifications. It should lead to more interviews. I hope it works for you!

    Tim Collins

  3. A good article.

    We recieve a lot of email from candidates where they simply forward an earlier sent email to us and then they expect us to call them for an interview.

    If you can not even write directly to us, what can you expect from us :-(

    Sanjay Verma

  4. Good point Sanjay. Just a few friendly words to explain the purpose of the email really helps and improves your chances of getting a response.

    Thanks for your comment!

  5. Nice to find the post related to my searching criteria. Your updated and informative post will be appreciated by blog loving people. This kind of information is very limited on internet.. Thanks for sharing this to us.

    searching for a job

  6. Thanks Dom. Glad you found what you were looking for.

    Tim Collins