It was my first week of work from home amid the #Covid2019 crisis, and it was a typical day at work for me until my colleague shared a bunch of resumes for me to review them.
After I gave her my feedback, she asked me how I read the resumes in a jiffy? What do I look for in a resume? She also said that I should teach everyone on the team to do so.
On a typical day, I read anywhere between 40-60 resumes. I recommend my team members to run past the resumes through me, not because they cant source perfect resumes, but this is my chance to keep up with the market. I get to look at resumes across different roles and skillsets. And this also allows us as an organisation to share only the best resumes and maintain our promise of 4:1 (We close a position with four resumes).
It is my way of telling the team that the buck stops with me. Not a healthy practise, at the same time a cumbersome one, but this has been my working style for several years. I usually respond to emails of employees very quickly. At times, my colleagues may even get a doubt if I looked at the resume or not.
I have always felt recruiters, develop this skill unconsciously by experience. Resume reading is both an art and science. Good Recruiters don’t take more than 30-40 seconds to read a resume.
So what do Good Recruiters look for in a resume? Here are my observations on what makes a good resume, and what are the deal breakers?
- Job Tenure– Pay attention to how long a job seeker has stayed in their roles. A long tenure at a company is a sign of someone who can see things through.
- Career Growth– Is the job seeker steadily rising in the ranks? Understand how the job seeker’s career has evolved. Look at the years of experience and the salary. Understand if there is a mismatch depending on the Industry and role.
- Data-driven – A strong candidate will back up any resume assertions with facts. “Increased sales by 200% during FY 19.” “Increased productivity by 15%, meriting an internal award for excellence.” “Closed 50% of the annual quota of $3M of sales within the first 2 months.” Statements like these are facts.
- Pedigree- If a job seeker has studied in a reputed college/university and has attended good schools and has worked for reputed companies, it is a sure sign of success.
Watch for potential red flags
Some resumes have warning signs of potential problems that may outweigh a job seeker’s abilities and experience. some of the red flags to keep in mind while you evaluate resumes:
- Employment gaps — As you’re reviewing an applicant’s employment history, look at the career timeline and the gaps between jobs.
- Excessive job-hopping — Job hopping is more common in younger generations and can be a sign of ambition. But job hops every year is certainly not acceptable. For someone to deliver their KRA @ 100% of expectations will take anywhere between 6-8 months from their onboarding.
- Start-stop career — A resume with a series of jobs with no increase in responsibility could suggest a lack of career direction or desired skills.
- Typos & Grammatical errors — Given all the online text editors and some of the sophisticated tools inbuilt in the word processing software, there should be no excuse for a resume that is full of typos and grammatical errors. Job seekers who submit messy documents demonstrate a lack of attention to detail, a real liability in most fields.
- Extraneous information — An exciting hobby or two requiring relevant skills could make a candidate stand out from the crowd. However, resumes that over-emphasise personal interests suggest the job seeker is looking to fill space or that they view their career as a side activity.
Pay attention to Jargons and Buzzwords
Some candidates use ambiguous language to cover up for lack of experience or knowledge. Watch for jargon and buzzwords that are used to make a candidate sound smart but may cover up a lack of expertise.
Get the details:
Great candidates don’t just tell. They show. Rather than merely describing their job responsibilities, savvy job seekers include examples of how they added value to their company: by saving money, streamlining a process or negotiating discounts with vendors. The best way to represent this is – data, percentages, dollars or other expressions of quantitative impact. Your mission when screening a resume is to identify Podium Finishers for your organisation, so don’t settle for resumes that are heavy on the right keywords but short on specifics.
So the next time you are reviewing a resume, please do keep these pointers in mind. Do share your feedback and feel free to add any points that I may have missed.