Learn How to Properly Review a Resume

Every resume tells a story. The best job candidates use theirs to grab your attention and leave you wanting to know more. They give you that “aha moment” that tells you that this is someone who deserves an interview. 

When you’re faced with a daunting pile of resumes for a job opening, what can you look for to effectively narrow down the field and ultimately make the right hiring decision? 

Create a checklist to shorten your list.

Develop a checklist of the minimum skills, experience, and education required to do the job. Use this as a guide to initially divide piles of resumes into “yes, no” and “maybe” piles. 

Watch for red flags.

Certain warning signs of potential problems outweigh a candidate meeting the basic requirements for a position. They include: 

  • Unexplained employment gaps: An applicant should be prepared to explain any long breaks between jobs. It’s not a dealbreaker; in fact, it may be a strength – if they used the time to go back to school or care for a family member, for instance. But without a good reason, these gaps should leave you wondering. 
  • Excessive jobhopping: One or two quick jumps may be a sign of ambition. But, too many jobs in too short a time period could indicate a lack of commitment or clear direction. 
  • Careless errors: There is simply no excuse for typos, grammatical errors, or other signs of a poorly-organized resume. If a candidate hasn’t proofread, it’s a pretty clear sign they lack attention to detail. Resumes also should be formatted correctly. 
  • TMI: It’s okay to know a little bit about a person’s interests or hobbies outside the realm of the job, but too much is too much. It suggests that this content is there only to fill space and make up for shortfalls in areas that really matter. 
  • A generic resume: Serious candidates customize their resumes to the job description you have posted. Look for content that has clearly been crafted with your specific opening in mind.  

Word choice is critical.

Laser focus on the language an applicant uses in their resume. If it’s too ambiguous, it may be camouflaging a lack of relevant experience or knowledge.  

  • Watch for phrases like “familiar with” or “participated in.” Dig deeper to see if the candidate played an instrumental role in the effort or project referred to or simply showed up at team meetings. 

Hire for potential.

Use your checklist, but remember: not everyone follows a cookiecutter, traditional career path.  

  • Critique resumes in their broader context. If a candidate spikes your interest, they may be worth pursuing even if their credentials are somewhat non-traditional. It may be best to find someone who fits your company culture and then let on-the-job training fill in the gaps. 

At PrideStaff Fresno, our mission is to deliver what matters most to our clients as they seek new talent – whether it’s reviewing a plethora of resumes, screening candidates, interviewing, negotiating, or any other step in their recruitment process. We can help you achieve better results and quicker placements in customer service, IT, accounting and finance, legal support, healthcare, and production. Read our related posts or contact us today to learn more.