How to Spot a Good Resume


How To Spot A Good Resume

With underemployment levels still very high, some human resources departments are experiencing an abundance of resumes in response to a job posting — and that doesn’t necessarily mean all of the incoming resumes will match up to the position at hand.

In fact, you may find that more often than not, the applicant is not qualified for the position he or she is applying for. But in order to discover that, you’ll need to take some time screening your candidates’ resumes. But how do you spot the best ones? Here are some tips:

Use your job description as a guide. Print out a copy of the job description that the candidate is applying for and use it as a guide to see how the resume measures up. If you absolutely require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and the resume in your hand does not list that, you can eliminate it right off the bat.

“If they have to know Excel, they have to know Excel, period,” says Ron Fry, author of Ask the Right Questions, Hire the Best People. “They’ve got to be able to use a Cad/Cam, period. No negotiation. Which makes life much simpler. If they’ve never used a Cad/Cam, they’re out.” To make it even easier, use a highlighter to highlight key criteria that matches up. That way, you can easily see which resume most closely resembles the job posting at hand.

Narrow down job prerequisites. Not only do candidates today need to match up to what the company is looking for, they may even need to have more experience than listed.

“I would take every requirement you have and add a little to it,” says Fry. “If you said applicants need to have three years of experience, look for those with four years or more. And start eliminating people — at least initially — who only have three. Because what you’re going to find today are lots of overqualified people.”

Pay attention to grammar. Using the wrong your/you’re may not seem like a basis for elimination, but think of it this way: if someone sends in a resume with grammatical errors and inconsistencies, then you may wonder what other attention to detail they don’t pay attention to. A resume free of inaccuracies represents a candidate who puts quality first and is willing to take the extra time to read over their resume — and there’s a good chance that person will bring those skills and traits into the workforce.

Look for accomplishments. Besides work experiences, it’s good for a potential employer to also have achieved accomplishments. So for example, does their resume indicate that they’ve increased sales at their previous job? Have they effectively prepared budgets and project plans? Resumes that summarize successes may mean the entrant is a go-getter; he or she understands that day-to-day tasks affect the overall picture and are willing to take the extra steps to get there.

See if their career goals are clear. It’s not uncommon for people applying for jobs to send in their resume whether or not they really want the job — they may just want any job at all. You may be able to detect people with a solid career path in mind by noting how long they’ve been at their job(s), as well as if they’ve ever received a promotion. For entry-level applicants, identify if they’ve completed extracurricular activities in the field they’re applying to. The wording people use to describe their positions can also help determine signs of the applicant’s career goals.

Consider the cover letter, too. While resumes note how much experience a candidate has, a cover letter can indicate their personality and how much research they’ve done into your company. While the resume has to match up, if a cover letter stands out to you, it’s best to go with your gut feeling.

“If you get a cover letter where the person clearly knows your industry, knows your competitors and refers to things about your company that show they’ve taken the time to do their homework, that’s a big plus,” says Fry.”If I see a cover letter like that, I set it aside and it’s in on the first round just because of that.”

 

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