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Tips for Reviewing Resumes

Updated on November 16, 2012

Reviewing resumes is not always easy. Even though the job description is pretty clear, you will be surprised of how many candidates submit their resumes without meeting the necessary criteria. Besides getting rid of “spam” resumes, you also need to differentiate candidates who meet the job requirements and to decide which the best one is. Here are some useful tips in this process:

  • Start with the cover letter. This should be personalized, attractive and correct from all points of view. Candidates who take the time to come up with a good cover letter are usually very interested in your job and attentive to instructions and details. Resumes which come without a cover letter at all usually belong to unqualified candidates who have nothing more to say. It is up to you if you want to review these resumes anymore.
  • Try to make a general impression on the resumes. Correct spelling, punctuation and grammar together with a good presentation will most likely make a good first impression. It might seem childish, but it is in fact important: pay attention to those resumes which “feel” good. Your instinct is not at all to be neglected when reviewing resumes.
  • Taking into account your job description, eliminate those candidates who don’t have the basic qualifications. If you are looking for someone with a college degree, for instance, get rid of the resumes of those who don’t hold such a degree.
  • Continue the reviewing resumes process with analyzing the section describing the expectations of the candidates. The good ones usually customize their expectations depending on the job they are after. Those who don’t bother to do this and simply state some general goals like “ensuring career growth” or “maximizing skills” are usually less interested.
  • Candidates should all pay some effort into summarizing their qualifications and experience. If they have done this, move straight to that section of the resumes. You will notice in no time if a candidate has what it takes for the job or not. Deciding which resumes are kept for further analysis becomes a lot easier. Smart candidates should now that employers are trying to optimize the reviewing resumes process. Part of the optimization is to scan the resumes for relevant keywords. Those who learn how to place these keywords are going to be successful candidates.
  • The applicants’ work experience and past contributions to their workplaces are of uttermost importance. By this phase, you are probably only handling resumes that meet most of your hiring criteria, so relevant experience is definitely going to make a difference. Pay attention to situations that might signalize problems. Gaps in employment or constantly changing employers are not a good thing. Double check people who make drastic changes in their career paths on regular basis or people who seem to have reached a plateau of their career and now run the risk of going backwards.
  • Once you have done all these, take a last look at the selected resumes and contact the candidates via phone. Trust your instinct again and ask those who pass the telephone screen to come over for an interview.

You might not be very fast in reviewing resumes right from the start, but you will definitely do better as you gain more experience.


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