We’ve all heard this before: If you really want something, you have to be willing to work for it. Not everyone takes this old saying to heart, but for those who do, you’ll always notice. If you’re a hiring manager, then you know that the same can be said while looking at resumes.
If an applicant really wants to get a job, then he or she is going to do the research and put in the appropriate time to compile a good resume—one that speaks to the hiring manager and highlights his or her work experience, as well as personality. However, this doesn’t always happen. (I know I’ve given minimal effort while drafting my resume before!) But like I said, you can tell when someone’s giving his or her best effort.
So, how can you tell?
To better understand what to look for in a resume, I talked to our own Director of Talent, Melissa Ely. I asked her what were some warning signs, as well as positive signs, to spot on resumes. Here’s what Melissa had to say:
1.) Gaps in employment - gaps in employment can mean someone was either let go, or left a role without another position lined up. Both are red flags.
2.) Several short-term (less than one year) jobs listed on a resume raise the red flag of job stability, and make me question if the candidate is a job hopper.
3.) Lack of specificity with job responsibilities - more than anything this shows that little time or thought went into creating your resume. A great resume is tailored to the role you are applying for, with specific examples of success in a similar capacity.
4.) Not including dates of employment - this makes me question if you are trying to hide something.
5.) Too much information - a resume should be well formatted, easy to follow and easy to scan. It should tell the story of your background, but not in a narrative form. Resumes that you can easily follow and pull out the information you need definitely stand out in a positive way.
6.) Spelling and grammatical errors - most positions require someone that is detail oriented and making spelling/grammatical errors show a lack thereof attention to detail.
7.) Anything over a 2 page resume - my opinion is that 1 page resumes are a thing of the past; sometimes you need 2 pages to tell your story—but anything over 2 pages is overkill.
Things That Stand Out
8.) Formatting - a resume should be clean and polished, and this definitely stands out when looking through resumes. It shows that time and attention to detail went into putting your resume together.
9.) ROI statements - I love to see how a candidate has provided a strong ROI in former roles by listing out solid examples of accomplishments.
10.) A strong cover letter - I also love a cover letter that is specific to why they want to work at Hireology and shows they've done their research. It also is really helpful to explain why they are looking to make a career change, relocate, etc.
11.) For new graduates, it is great to see what extracurricular activities they were involved with during their college years. A lot of times this can provide real, hands-on experience that results in transferrable skills.
12.) Highlight Relevancy - a resume that is tailored to show examples of previous, relevant experience shows how you will make an impact in a similar role.
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