Looking at Resumes - An Employer's Perspective

Here is a list of questions that reviewers and screeners may ask themselves as they review your resume. You would be well advised to review this list and amend your resume accordingly.

     1. Did the applicant tailor his/her resume for this position, or does the applicant seem to sending out mass mailings?

     2. Is the applicant's education relevant and sufficient for position?

     3. Is the applicant's educational background relatively current?

     4. Throughout his/her work experience, has the applicant enriched and updated his/her education and work experience with additional classes, retreats, seminars, workshops or conferences?

     5. Does the applicant have sufficient background experience to qualify for position?

     6. Has the applicant bounced from school to school or from job to job?

     7. Does the applicant's resume cover all of the job requirements mentioned in the job announcement?

     8. Is there anything that the applicant has left out?

     9. Has the applicant included any items on his/her resume that demonstrate that the applicant is a self-starter, shows future promise or initiative?

     10. Has the applicant proven through past experience and education his/her competency in the required focus of this job?
     11. Has the applicant listed all required licenses or certificates?

     12. Has the applicant been inconsistent in the format of his/her resume? Are there omitted dates, descriptions, references, etc., for some positions but not for others?

     13. Has the applicant stressed irrelevant abilities? (example: applicant stresses management skills when position requires engineering skills)?

     14, Does the applicant have gaps in his/her job history that are unexplained?

     15. Has the applicant been involved in community, school or volunteer activities? (Important for employees entering the job market for the first time or those who have been out of the job market for awhile).

     16. Does the applicant's resume reflect both depth and variety of experience?

     17. Is the applicant's resume neat and complete?

     18. Does the applicant appear to be overqualified?

     19. Is the resume believable or does the applicant appear to be padding his/her accomplishments?

Red Flags

There are a number of things employers will consider when screening applications or resumes. The way information is conveyed, or not conveyed, can send up certain "red flags" to the employer that indicate that something may be amiss. While discovery of a red flag may not warrant passing-over an applicant, the prudent screener will generally find out additional information before making a final decision on the application. Screeners are taught to consider or ask the following:

1. Carefully examine functional resumes. Functional resumes can be used to hide gaps in employment because they do not tie skills learned to specific jobs. The functional resume is often used to mask someone who is jumps from job to job or has a difficult time holding on to a position.

2. Are suspected salary needs comparable to the job? Based on the applicant's background, will he/she have salary expectations that are substantially higher than your organization may be able to pay? Would the applicant be taking a big pay cut? Why? Would the new position be a great leap in pay?. If so, can the candidate justify it by his/her qualifications?

3. Lookout for clutter. Some applicants may try to pad or embellish their resume or application with incidental hobbies, activities and experience not related to the position being applied for, to cover deficiencies in their work record.

4. Watch out for neatness and completeness. If an applicant does not take the time to make sure that his/her application is complete and without mistakes, it may indicate that he/she will not be attentive to details on the job either.

5. Does the applicant take too much credit. Watch out for applicants who assume full credit for a project that was probably undertaken by several staff people.

6. Does the applicant use vague generalities to describe his/her work or does he/she tie statements to specific verifiable projects?

7. Watch out for an inconsistent career path. Has the applicant made a lot of lateral moves, changed professions several times or stayed at his past positions for short periods of time? What reasons are given for leaving previous positions?




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