Reviewing Resumes the Smart Way

Finding the candidate that best fits your organization and, specifically, the role, can be a meticulous process.  You want to be sure this individual is qualified, dependable, and hard-working.

Whether for a freelance graphic designer, a temp position for a copywriter, or a permanent marketing coordinator, the ability to discern candidates at the resume level is critical.

But how much can you actually ascertain from a simple resume?  Perhaps more than you realize.  Here are our tips for reviewing a resume…the smart way:

  1. Start with the easy stuff.  Scan the document for any eye-grabbing errors. The resume should look clean and attractive at first glance.  Serious candidates should understand that a resume will be their first impression on a company.
  2. Follow that up with a cursory look at the resume’s grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes.  Despite word processor tools that can alert users to these mistakes, you will inevitably find a few that have not heeded even those suggestions.
  3. Next, get into the meat and potatoes of the resume.  Consider the educational and work experience stated, beginning with the most recent.  How relevant is this to the position you’re hiring for?  Also look at the length of time at each employer, and evaluate the stability of the candidate’s employment.

If the resume appears to meet your main criteria, your next step may be to look for any red flags, starting with the most obvious:

  • Unprofessional or questionable email address.  Perhaps the most personal element of most resumes is the candidate’s email address.  If the email address is, for example, this can be seen as a telling indicator of that person’s professionalism.
  • Defunct company listed in work experience.  While employers do close business, consider the unfortunate possibility that the candidate is using this as an easy opportunity to hide a bad reference, or worse, is simply fabricating the reference on his or resume.
  • Lack of necessary dates.  If a candidate deliberately omits a graduation date, for example, this is probably an indication that they never graduated.  It may also be the result of a candidate trying to hide their age.
  • Gaps in employment and missing work experience.  There are as many reasons for gaps in employment as there are unique candidates.  This will be something to inquire about with the individual.  It may be as innocent as staying home with a newborn, or something altogether different, such as being convicted for a felony involving embezzlement.  You can give the candidate the benefit doubt until you find out.

Reviewing resumes takes time and attention to detail.  As most employers know, however, it’s a job worth doing right.

Celarity is a Minneapolis staffing agency that works with marketing, communications, and creative professionals looking to explore new work opportunities, and get connected with organizations that are hiring.

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