Betts Recruiting

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What to Look For in a Resume

The Betts Team
June 21, 2016

A candidate spend countless hours crafting his or her resume just to submit it online. Hiring managers then have to look through hundreds of resumes for a single open job position. While recruiting companies pitch specified, qualified candidates, generic online submissions forms cast the position far beyond a company’s target audience. If you are faced with an extensive pile of resumes to sift through, focus on the following aspects to quickly narrow down your applicant pile.


Does the resume look good? Make sure you can read the text, the dates and bullets line up, there are no blatantly obvious spelling errors, and don’t notice any other obvious oversights. Because an applicant only has their resume to represent themselves in an online submissions portal, glaring mistakes are serious indicators that they are not taking their application seriously or they lack attention to detail. Most likely, you can immediately shift your focus strictly to resumes that pass the initial scan.


If you’re faced with a resume that is longer than two pages, chances are, over half of the information isn’t relevant. It is up to applicants to pair down their professional and educational experience and tailor their resumes to the position they are applying to. Wordy doesn’t correlate with success. As a hiring manager, you don’t have time to read through excess information so focus on the first page and move forward from there.


Skim the resume for numbers. Look for statistical evidence of success. How many team members did your candidate manage, what percentage of the time did they exceed quota, etc. Metrics are a good way for a candidate to stress their commitment to excellence over time. If a candidate lacks metrics, they could be new to the industry and not a right fit for certain positions. Beyond success, metrics can be an additional tool to highlight professional growth and experience.


Can you see any clear path of promotion in the applicant’s work experience? If a candidate doesn’t stay at a position for longer than a year, chances are they haven’t moved beyond entry level responsibilities at any of their previous businesses. Alternatively, if a candidate has only one long tenure at a company, they could lack the diversified industry experience that many companies today are leveraging. Focus on finding applicants that show a track record of moving within a company and knowing when to make the switch to a new business if they can no longer move upwards.


Do the candidate’s skills line up with what you are looking for? Before starting the hiring process, define what key role your new employee will fill. Look for skills on resumes that can help satisfy your need in a new hire. Skills can also be used as an indicator towards culture, depending on where an applicant’s education or personal interests has lead them to develop, whether its through awards, affiliations, awards, or advanced knowledge.