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6 things to look for when reading resumes

8/12/2020

6 things to look for when reading resumes

If you're a hiring manager with an open position to fill these days, you're likely to be inundated with resumes and cover letters. The question, then, becomes how you can most effectively comb through the field of potentially hundreds of applicants to find just a handful to advance to the next round of the candidate search process.

A big part of that is the ability to quickly examine a resume and either take note of great qualifications or dismiss the applicant. The following tips should help you save time while still identifying the top candidates for the job:

1) The basics

That old urban legend about getting 200 points on your SATs just for filling out your name isn't true, but you might want to take a similar approach to the general information candidates provide, according to Job Monkey. Depending on the job you're looking to fill, you might want to see them list not only their name, email address and phone number, but also a personal website, social media listings and so on.

2) How does the objective align?

If a candidate's resume lists their objective in applying for the job, that can either be a positive or a negative, Job Monkey added. If their stated goal doesn't really fall in line with what you're looking for out of the role, you might be able to write off that person's candidacy, but if it's just what you're looking for organizationally, that might a candidate worth a second look.

3) Mistakes - big and small

Along the same lines as including or forgetting vital information at the top of the resume, be on the lookout for typos and other errors, according to Global HR Research. After all, candidates know you're going to be looking at these documents carefully, so if they make even a minor mistake, that might show a critical lack of attention to detail.

4) Employment gaps

Not everyone is able to work in their preferred industry for their entire working lives, as any number of issues might crop up to take them off course, Global HR Research advised. As such, if there are employment gaps in their resumes, getting the details of what happened could help you determine whether the candidate is ideal.

5) Understand the experience

If you find a candidate has a lot of experience in the industry, or even tangential to it, you might want to think about how that relates specifically to the role you're trying to fill, according to Workable. Especially if they seem to be working their way up the career ladder, you may have to consider whether they're ideal for the job even if they don't have a certain number of years in a given role.

6) Separate skills you need from skills you want

Job candidates are likely to list a lot of skills on their resume, either directly or indirectly, and you have to see how each lines up with what you're looking for, Workable noted. But more importantly, it's vital to identify the skills you absolutely need versus those that are just "value adds" to find the best candidate.