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How to Evaluate Résumés

Part of the Human Resources Kit For Dummies Cheat Sheet

When hiring, the résumé is your first contact with a job candidate. To get the most from this important document and determine if someone is worth calling in for an interview, you'll need to know how to read between the lines. Here are some telling characteristics.

Signs of a solid résumé:

  • Sufficient detail: Although you don't want an overly wordy résumé, you do want complete descriptions of the applicant's accomplishments in previous jobs and a sense of the skills she's gained over the course of her career. Look for details about how she has increased revenues, lowered costs, or improved productivity.

  • Continual advancement: Steady progression into higher roles indicates a potential hire who is likely able to take on new responsibilities as your business grows.

  • Targeted information: Savvy job seekers show that they understand your company's needs. They reference points from the job posting or outside research and explain how their qualifications can benefit the business.

  • Clean content: The ideal résumé is free of typos and grammatical mistakes. A clean, well-organized document is a sign of professionalism and attention to detail.

Red flags to watch out for:

  • Fluff: Some job candidates try to pad their résumés — and, thus, appear more qualified than they really are — by listing the minutiae of previous jobs, overusing the thesaurus, or detailing their love of fly fishing.

  • Vagueness: View with suspicion phrases such as familiar with, knowledge of, or experienced in. This type of wording can indicate that the applicant may not have the actual experience he claims or that his experience is more limited than you need.

  • Short tenures: A series of short stints of employment can be the sign of a job hopper or problem employee. Ask for more background about these roles and the reasons and circumstances surrounding the applicant's departure from prior employers to see if you detect a pattern.

  • Unprofessional mail address or Twitter handle: A job applicant's e-mail address may seem like the last thing an HR manager cares about. But a silly or inappropriate address or Twitter handle may hint at someone who's not serious about his career.

Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons. Inc.

Copyright © 2013 Robert Half International, Inc., as to Author-Created Materials

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