How To Catch A Hiring Manager’s Attention – In Less Than A Minute

Jobs Career Dartboard Dart Successful EmploymentWant your resume to make it past that initial cut? We spoke to professional recruiters who emphasized three things you should focus on:

1) Visuals
2) Qualifications
3) Customization

Appearance is important. Use bullets, ample spacing and easy to read fonts. ALWAYS proofread for spelling and grammar issues.

Confused about the the one page vs. two page resume “rule?” Don’t be. Two pages is fine, as long as your experience and job history warrant it. According to one of our Corporate Recruiters, “Having a two page resume is better than trying to cram it all onto one page. If I see two resumes from people with similar qualifications, but one just looks sloppy, I’m going to go with the resume that is more professional-looking.”  There are numerous free resume templates and how-to guides out there. Don’t let unpleasant aesthetics be the reason you’re moved to the “no” pile.

Deonna Campbell is a corporate recruiter who reviews hundreds of resumes every week. She looks for “metrics and numbers. Those provide more of an impact on how well a person did or how much they could handle.” It’s all about achievements. For sales people, Deonna likes to see  “a ranking. For instance – if they hit certain numbers over and over.”

Don’t think you have a job where you can quantify your achievements? Almost every position has job duties that can be quantified. If you consistently finished projects before others, you could quantify it like this:

  •  Met project deadlines 20% ahead of schedule

Remember, recruiters don’t want to see a list of job responsibilities. They want to know what you accomplished. Furthermore, if you’re a recent graduate, Deonna recommends that you “show internships/co-ops that portray a more “green” person’s experience, no matter how brief.”  If you’re a long term employe, “make sure your career progression is spelled out- some people lump that together.” 


You need to present your job history, education and skills in a way that matches the position you’re applying for. Show that you’ve done your research about the company and job opening. Use keywords from the job ad itself  – recruiters and hiring manager will be on the lookout for them. Also, if you’re using a functional resume, include a timeline of jobs as well. Leaving out those key dates is a red flag for recruiters.  

Candidates have very little time to attract the attention of a recruiter or hiring manager. Make sure your resume showcases your strengths in an easy to read, accomplishment rich, customized manner and you’ll be well on your way to that first interview!


Oldcastle is North America’s largest manufacturer of building products and materials. With more than 2,000 locations throughout North America, we are in constant pursuit of the next generation of successful decision makers, leaders and problem solvers. Learn more about joining the Oldcastle team HERE. 

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Filed under Careers, Cover Letters, Job Search, Resumes

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