Words to the Wise

December 6, 2023

How do I get recruiters to care about my resume? – December 11, 2023

The short answer is to write what they want to read.

It’s a lesson that American playwright and author David Mamet shared in a recent television appearance, talking about the importance of caring for the audience and not boring them.

“Realize that you’ve got their attention until you lose it. Dialogue can only serve the purpose of interesting the audience — if it doesn’t — you lose the audience.”

The same holds true for any reader of your resume. In most cases, just like when the lights dim in the theater, you’ve got their interest at the open. There’s anticipation and even hope that your work will match-up. Initial good will that evaporates in seconds if the copy runs adrift—lost entirely given the smallest amount of fluff.

Your submission rides on every word

Tough sledding because most hiring managers don’t have a lot of time to begin with. Writing a resume that works requires that you put yourself in the same seat. Kicking back content that speaks directly to what you find in the job description is the whole ballgame. The keywords count for a lot. So does your work history and what you’ve done—but only if they tie straight back to the plot.

That’s where most resumes lose the point.

Precisely because they try to make too many.

As Mamet suggests, if you’re writing to hold attention, “You’ve gotta know you better be right all the time because when the lights go down you’ve got their attention, but if you lose it you ain’t gonna get it back.”

A little self-reflection goes a long way

Resumes are still important because they remain the easiest and best way to communicate your qualifications and your brand—who you are and what makes you different—to recruiters. Yet, they are not meant to be repositories for every detail across a lifetime of work. Most experts now recommend going back no more than 10-15 years, and many say a resume should be no longer than one page most of the time.

Take a look at your most current resume. If you handed it to a friend, would it hold their interest? Does it even hold your own? It’s easy to become attached to particular highlights or accomplishments from years ago; but, if they don’t apply directly to what you’re applying for, you’ve got to let them go. No one goes to the trouble of looking at everything any given candidate did in the past as a way to predict success in the present.

You don’t need extra words, only extra care

The reasons that justify bringing you in for an interview are either right there or they’re not. Telling your story doesn’t mean telling all of it. A resume isn’t a dossier for a lifetime achievement award. Rather, it’s a vehicle to give your audience what it’s looking for and make sure it cares about what happens next.  

Mamet says, “A great ending has to be both unpredictable and inevitable.”

Sounds a lot like a great movie about the job hunt itself.

Your first step starts with Resume Professors.

Back to Insights
World Wide Reach

Global Reach,
Local Ties

Resume Professors is proud to serve clients across the country and around the world.


Don’t Survive. Thrive.

Let’s talk about how we can get you where you want to go.

    Our resume writers and career
    coaches are professionally certified: