Wouldn’t it be nice if you could read the minds of recruiters?

If your crystal ball is out of order, the next best thing is the job description. It might look like all the rest on the surface, but in that list of responsibilities and tasks, recruiters tell you what they’re looking for (hint: it’s a certain skill set).

Here are six easy steps to pimp your resume and get recruiters’ attention:


  1. Research People Who Already Have the Job You Want

Come along, my dear Watson, we’re about to do some sleuthing.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to stalk anyone. You should, however, spend some time researching the social media profiles of professionals in your field. Start by searching for specific job titles (ideally for positions you would love to have). Keep track of the skills these people are listing on their profiles, and pay special attention to duplicate skills and experience. If the same skills keep appearing, there’s a good chance they are both relevant for the job at hand and considered desirable by recruiters from your field.

The same strategy can be used with job postings and descriptions. Search for job titles and keep close track of the way positions are described. What experience and skills are they looking for? If the same words crop up several times, it’s likely something recruiters want to see.


  1. Tailor Your Skills to the Job Description

Job descriptions are a window into recruiters’ inner desires.

Carefully read what is being included on a job description, and make sure your resume is tailored to address required experience and skills. You will want to add some of the words and phrases verbatim. In fact, adding “keywords” from the job offer will make it easier for a recruiter to see the relevance of your resume.


  1. Add Extra Value

Now, go back to your initial research and add any additional skills and experience, including transferable skills.

Transferable skills are those that translate from one job to another, such as being a power user of Microsoft Office. While the job description may not overtly ask for these skills, transferable skills always a bonus on your resume.


  1. Sprinkle in the Tried and True

Regardless of the position, almost all hiring managers will find the following skills desirable:

  • Communication (Written and Verbal)
  • Leadership and Management
  • Planning and Strategic Thinking
  • Analytical Thinking and Research
  • Teamwork or Collaborative Work

If you have this experience, include it on your resume. Not only will it bridge any skills gap you may have for the position, it will also boost your value in the eyes of a hiring manager. Make sure, however, to provide background, where possible. Demonstrable experience (e.g. teams you have managed, research you have led, etc.) is always best.


  1. Facts and Figures Will Help You Stand Out

To draw the attention of the recruiter, complement skills and experience with numbers and achievements.

Instead of writing: “Proficient at sales conversions.”

Write: “Converted 45% of leads to sales.”

Numbers help highlight the skill and paint a richer picture of your experience and character. The recruiter might even begin to imagine you achieving the same results for them.


  1. Use Skills to Beat the Bots

Your resume may be scanned by R2D2 before it falls into the hands of a human recruiter.

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are a tool that some companies use to get through the bulk of resumes they receive. The systems compare your resume to the job description, and pull out the amount of matching keywords. If you have successfully tailored your resume to the job description, it should beat the bots.

Just keep in mind that ATS can tell if you’ve used keywords within a proper context. Packing your resume full of keywords ad hoc will not help it get past the system.


Key Takeaways

Doing your research and taking the time to tailor your resume to each job posting is one of the most effective ways to stand out from the crowd (and beat the bots).

For more information, check out the infographic below for six quick tips on how to put the right skills on your resume. You can also read the Uptowork guide on what skills to put on a resume.

Pimp your resume

About Natalie Severt 

Natalie is a writer at Uptowork – Your Resume Builder. She has always loved helping others create successful resumes, and she now shares her knowledge and experience with readers around the world.  Natalie spends her free time eating tacos, reading complicated novels, and binge-watching TV series.