How Do You Stand Out to a Recruiter

Posted by Chrissa Dockendorf

stand out in your cyber security job searchWorking in the technology space it can be hard to distinguish yourself from other candidates. The pool of people who have technology experience is pretty large. The challenge for recruiters is trying to find the right candidate with the right knowledge of the right technologies, which can be tough. So how do you make yourself stand out and get a call over someone with the same experience?

Start with your resume.

While the 2 page resume rule is dead, that doesn’t mean go out and write a 5+ page resume.

Recruiters do not need a full in-depth history of everything you have ever done in your career. Most recruiters do not spend more than a few minutes reviewing a resume for the right buzzwords before checking out the next resume.

If you give me 5 pages to scan through I will probably only look for the last few jobs to see if you have the technology I need. Be sure to highlight the technologies you work with well and the ones you want to continue to use.

Even if you have 20+ years of experience it isn’t necessary to give full descriptions of every job. Technology changes over time, so many of the tools you used early in your career may not be relevant today.

If you need to show that you have 20+ years of experience because the job posting requires it, you can line item the older jobs that show you have the knowledge and experience. If you only have a few years of experience it’s also not necessary to list every job you ever had unless it relates to your skill set.

Working as a singing telegram, not relevant. Working in the computer science department, may be relevant.

Or forget the resume all together.

When you work with technology, and want to continue to be hands on with technology, the extra stuff just becomes fluff. Sometimes putting together a portfolio that shows the technologies you have experience with is more than enough.

There are plenty of online portfolio websites that range from free to paid where you can post your information and share your work in a professional manger.

Be sure not to just list every technology you have ever worked with; focus on the technologies that you are the strongest with and those that you enjoy working with the most. If you have experience with Java but hate working with it, don’t highlight that under your skills. You can list it under other technologies but don’t make it the star of your portfolio.

You also want to be sure to pair your technology experience with results. 

What was the problem? What did you find? What was the result?

Showing positive results with a technology will always give you an edge. By taking a little time to show off your skills you have convinced me that you are the candidate I need to speak with. If you want to be hands on but also want to be a project lead or manager, this same approach can work, but be sure to highlight those leadership skills throughout the projects you have completed.

Be sure to show how many people you oversaw and what your responsibilities were that led to the resulting accomplishments.

Don’t list technologies that you don’t really have experience with. If you took a class in college 6 years ago on a technology but haven’t used it since, don’t list it. If it’s a technology you want to work with and have been trying to grow your knowledge base around that particular technology, it might make sense to list it under a continuing education heading.

Be sure to have a web presence.

If you work in technology you cannot hide in the shadows. You need to have some sort of web presence so people can find you. There are tons of sites where you can post your work, share code, work on projects, etc., but you have to be visible in order to do all that.

A technology person without some sort of technology presence would be questionable to most hiring managers. Setting up your own website that is searchable is a great way to get your information out there for recruiters to find while also highlighting your accomplishments.

But stay relevant.

If you set up a presence online don’t forget about it. Make sure to go back and update your information as it changes. New project completed, update. Learned a new technology, update. Stopped using an old technology, update.

Keeping your information updated, even if you are not looking for a job, makes it easier to remember all the awesome things you have done. Then when you need it, you only need to update a little.

Bonus Tip: Do not make up acronyms.

In technology, most things are acronyms but that doesn’t mean EVERYTHING is an acronym. If you are not sure that your skill or tool is an acronym I would avoid using it. Unless you can confirm the use of a popular acronym do not just make one up. It makes it seem that you are not well versed in that term and may not lead to a next step in your career.

Chrissa DockendorfChrissa Dockendorf is a recruiting resource manager and employment branding specialist for G2, Inc., supporter of transitioning military, a coffee addict and BoyMom to 4. Follow Chrissa on Twitter @MissionHired.


This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 11:18 pm

4 thoughts on “How Do You Stand Out to a Recruiter”

  1. What are they looking for from newly graduates who are looking for internships who are disabled veterans ?

    1. Hi Renee! I’m not sure I am fully understanding your question but let me give it a shot. I believe you are asking what employers are looking for in new grads who are also disabled vets trying to land an internship?

      Assuming that is correct, I would say all these things would apply to that situation as well. Any way that you can stand out that sets you apart from others going after the same job will always be in your favor, regardless of the job.

      You do not have to disclose you are disabled or a disabled vet until you are ready to do so. If you need accommodations to help complete the application or when you start the job you will need to make sure you reach out to the appropriate people in the company so you can get those. They are required by law to provide reasonable accommodations so don’t be afraid to ask but it is not something you need to put on your resume.

      While there are benefits to companies for hiring disabled vets I wouldn’t want to work for a company who hires me to meet a quota nor would I want to be discounted before I even get a chance based on something I can’t change. I would love to say all recruiters and companies withhold bias in these situations but it just isn’t true.

      I hope that answered your question. If not please let me know and I’ll try again!

  2. Thanks Chrissa for the advices. I have no experience but I’m halfway in finishing my masters degree in Cybersecurity Technology.

    What can i highlight since i don’t have any cyber technology tools.

  3. What about other areas. I have a bachelors in degree in Supply Chain Management and an Associate in Electronic Technology. I haven’t worked in my field in 3 years and want back in. I like my field and spent many years getting my degree.

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