Reviewing resumes is one of the first steps in screening candidates during the hiring process. For each open position you post, you'll likely receive dozens of resumes. Unfortunately, what you won't receive are dozens of well written resumes. Many candidates don't get past the initial review and onto an interview. Here are a few tips that will save you time and help you choose the right candidates for your small business.
The Objective Section- Get to the point! Consider this section the executive summary of the resume.

Problem #1- "Seeking a job that will allow me to use my skills and education to grow with a company." This is way too generic! This candidate only had a few seconds to grab your attention, and this certainly didn't do it. This candidate failed to show you her creative side. If the role you're recruiting for requires someone with creativity, this is probably not your candidate.

Problem #2- Did the candidate forget to modify the objective to the specific role? You don't want to read that she is, "Seeking an entry-level position in a medical office..." when you're reviewing resumes for an administrative role in a real estate office. This is simply careless. Are you seeking someone with great attention to detail? If so, then this is probably not your candidate.

The Work History Section- Prove it! This section showcases a candidate's proven knowledge, skills, and abilities.


Problem #1- As you're reading through the candidate's resume you notice that the last work experience entry is five years ago. Has this person not worked in five years? Nope, he just didn't organize his resume! The most recent work history should be listed first. What's this candidate showing you? He is unorganized. He couldn't take the time to organize his work history, so how's he going to do on the job?

Problem #2- What you're looking for in this section is a brief description of the candidate's proven accomplishments in their current and/or former roles. What you don't want to see is something that looks more like a generic job description. If the candidate couldn't prove it to you on their resume are you willing to take the risk?

Keep this in mind. A resume is meant to showcase the candidate. It's like a movie trailer...would you bother watching the movie if the trailer wasn't any good? Probably not, I bet you'd pick one that left you wanting to see more. This also applies to the hiring process. If the candidate didn't leave you wanting to know more, then why would you want to conduct an interview? Save time and choose the right candidates by utilizing these tips for reviewing resumes.

Jeniffer Betts, PHR