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Resume Review Tips for Employers

As a recruiter, I see and read hundreds of a resumes in a month. After so many years in the industry, I have developed a few resume “instincts” that help me determine if a candidate is worth a call or an interview. But, employers have a much more difficult time reviewing resumes. They don’t see them on a regular basis, and as a result it is hard to know exactly what to look for. The following are two parts of a resume employers should closely consider before bringing any candidate in for an interview.

     1. Mobility vs. Change

Attitudes and realities about job changes have evolved in the last decade. Gone are the days of not considering a candidate who had multiple job tenures below five years. The current job environment sometimes requires people hold multiple positions during a shorter period of time. Employers should watch for resumes where the person has held the same or similar title multiple times. If they are applying for a job with close to the same title, chances are they know what the job entails. This helps employers avoid a candidate who is looking for a position as a stepping stone or way into the organization.

But, if the candidate has spent many years working at one level, and is now applying for a position several levels higher, employers should take note. A desire for upward mobility is good, but trying to jump too many levels may mean the candidate is not realistic or truly knowledgeable about what the position will require.

Employers should also watch for candidates who have decreased their organizational “stature” through their last few positions. Sometimes a candidate will try a management level position, and decide they don’t like the supervisory duties. Makes sense. But you should be wary of a candidate who used to hold a Vice President or other senior level position but is applying for a manager or coordinator position.

Finally, I suggest that employers avoid candidates who change jobs, titles, companies and industries frequently. This can be an indicator that the candidate is easily bored or has a hard time digging into a position and being a long term contributor.

     2. Accomplishments vs. Hype

It is important for employers to review a resume and determine what success a candidate has had in their prior positions. Many resume experts encourage candidates to use numbers to quantify their accomplishments. As an employer, your job is to review these numbers and other claims and ask yourself a few questions:

  • Do these numbers and claims look reasonable? Could someone really bring every project in 24% under budget?
  • Do these accomplishments seem aligned with the candidate’s title? Or are they overstating things?
  • Is what’s provided really an accomplishment, or just a collection of popular buzz words that don’t actually say anything?
  • Is the resume full of grand and bold statements with no substantiation? Does it just sound too good to be true?

A resume is designed to present the candidate as they wish to be seen. But, employers need to dig a little deeper before making the determination to spend time on an interview. Figuring out what the candidate really has to offer is what reviewing a resume is all about.