How a recruiter looks at your resume?

Susan Varghese
Susan Varghese, Recruiter at CYNET SYSTEMS Inc

I recently had an opportunity to speak with Susan Varghese, who has more than a decade of experience in the area of recruitment and talent management in organizations across the US and India. During our discussion, Susan shared some insights into the current recruitment process and the reasons why many resumes fail to qualify though the candidate may have the right skills for the job. In this article, I am sharing some of the behind the scene activities that happen once a resume reaches a recruiter. We believe this information would help job seekers to better prepare their resumes to improve their chances of getting qualified.

Below, we see a typical resume that is sent to a recruiter by a candidate applying for a particular job position.

A typical resume sent by job seeker to a recruiter
A typical resume sent by job seeker to a recruiter


However, a recruiter sees something like below.

Keyword cloud of resume as seen by recruiter!
Keyword cloud of resume as seen by recruiter! The skills for which the job application is made should be seen prominently.


The above two pictures highlight what a candidate sends to a recruiter and what a recruiter sees at first. When a recruiter receives a resume, they first pass this through Application Tracking System (ATS) or unique and in-house system to check for keywords match with the given job profile. In case there is a match, they process the resume further and the resume may get selected. Many good candidates get eliminated at this initial stage since their resume did not match.

After speaking with Susan, our development team got back to build a resume analyzer (checkout our work here). Once we were ready, we took a candidate with more than 15 years of experience in JAVA programming and put it to test. Snapshot of a typical job description posted on popular job sites is shown below.

Example of a JAVA job description. Source:
Example of a JAVA job description. Source:

I have personally known this person for close to 20 years now and I know that he is one of the best in JAVA programming. Below is the image of the keyword cloud map of this resume.


Keyword Cloud Map of Java Programmer with 15 years of experience!
Keyword Cloud Map of Java Programmer with 15 years of experience!

This was quite a surprise as we could not see JAVA highlighted prominently. We took one of the job descriptions (see “Example of a JAVA job description” shown above) and below were the keywords cloud map of that job description.

Keyword cloud map of a JAVA job description
Keyword cloud map of a JAVA job description

As seen above, there is a high likelihood that our friend’s resume would not make the first pass through the recruiter’s automated system. This is sad as there are many worthy candidates like our friend who have the required skill set but could not pass through the first filter to qualify for the interview.

Speaking to Susan, we learnt that a recruiter receives tons of resumes everyday. Processing them manually is humanly impossible. So how can our job seekers like our friend here make the first cut? It is by ensuring that they check their resume for the keywords that are highlighted through a resume analyzer thereby making necessary changes to get the right results. This does not imply one should write facts that are not true. Instead, use the right skills sets and match your resume with the job description. Reduce or eliminate unnecessary words. They add no value. Additionally, limit the use of repetitive words and use of fancy words sparingly. They bring down the value of your resume by drowning out the key skills.

We hope job seekers could see some positive difference by using resume analyzer. We would be happy to hear your success story!

Our sincere thanks to Susan for sparing her valuable time in educating us on the recruitment process. Susan believes in ensuring right candidates find the right job. You can find more about Susan here or connect with her on linkedIn here.

3 thoughts on “How a recruiter looks at your resume?

  1. Thank you very much for sharing this inside and this tool. I will take time to rebuilt my CV. Best regards. Frédéric

  2. Great article! The Keyword Cloud Map clearly showed what goes through a recruiters mind.ATS would surely cancel out resumes if the words they search for aren’t matching. Thanks for the information.!

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