Lessons Learned from Executive Recruiters

I just returned from the Kennedy Recruiting Conference where I had the opportunity to pick the brains of numerous recruiters from some of the nation’s top employers. I asked them if they could tell job seekers one thing, what would it be. Here are their responses.


  1. Be transparent. If there is a gap on your resume, explain it on the document itself.
  2. Use a chronological format over a functional format; I will assume you are hiding something if you submit a purely functional resume.
  3. Don’t apply to every job posting. Only apply to those jobs that you truly meet the qualifications for.
  4. Don’t call incessantly to follow up on a job posting. If you don’t hear from me, I have nothing to tell you.
  5. Include a profile on your resume explaining how you can add value to the organization, rather than an objective explaining what you are looking for.
  6. Add a competency section to your resume. Make it easy to figure out what your core skills are.
  7. Get rid of the entitlement act. Don’t assume you will get a certain salary just because you ask for it. We are willing to negotiate if it is within our budget.
  8. Don’t upload a Microsoft Word document into the text box of our job site. We can’t read it. The formatting is severely compromised when you do this and we will ignore your application. Instead, convert your Word document to a text only file.

What Does Your Outgoing Phone Message Say About You?

You’ve got an amazing resume. Your interview strategy is top-notch. But what happens when a recruiter or hiring manager calls you and gets your voicemail? Do you have an outgoing message like “Yo, dog, leave a message” or a “cute” message featuring your two-year old? If someone is answering the phone for you in your absence, do they have a strong command of the English language and are they capable of taking  a detailed phone message? Paying attention to these details is just as important as  making sure your resume  has no typos or  your interview suit is pressed. Audit your voicemail  and phone procedures today to make sure you get that interview tomorrow!