Question: What's the first thing you look at on a candidate's resume?
"An applicant's resume tells their story. As such it should be easy to follow their timeline. If there are holes in that chronology or there are multiple overlapping projects, I'm going to need some explanation."
"Glaring errors with spelling, grammar and formatting jump out right away. Even with positions that require no writing or editing, an error-filled resume indicates a lack of attention to detail that's an immediate red flag."
"Resumes from candidates who drone on and on with marketing speak make my eyes glaze over. I look for resumes with concrete, bullet-pointed examples of accomplishments from previous jobs. For me, a simple: 'Implemented a system to reduce shipping costs by 20 percent' beats: 'Strategically involved in the expert design and implementation of innovative product-procurement logistics systems' every time."
"I’m always interested in how long a candidate was at his or her previous jobs. If someone has worked in the same industry for years, but only in short bursts at different companies, they may be bringing a negative attitude or some other issue to the table. I prefer to see stable relationships with previous employers."
Their First Job
"I look for someone's first job. Specifically, did they work a job in retail, customer service or some other role where they had to serve others at the same time as they were studying? This shows that they have humility and the attitude to start from the bottom, that they can manage their time and multitask, and that they appreciate the value of work."
"When reviewing a potential hire's resume, I quickly scan their resume for keywords and insights that make me understand how this candidate would fare at my company. What they've done before? Are they a cultural fit? etc. Does this candidate 'get' me and my business? Customized resumes give me deeper understanding and lead to more candidate call backs, interviews, and eventual hires."
"I don't want to read that you, 'accelerated growth for your department' or 'managed team members' multiple projects.' I want to see numbers that jump from the page, such as 'Grew department 37 percent within 24 months' and 'managed 14 associate editors and 4 million dollars of ad spend.' Words are open to interpretation, but numbers can be verified."
Attention to Detail
"Regardless of the role that we're hiring for, make sure your resume is perfect. This is your time to shine! If you lack experience, it might be ok if we see that you can structure a sentence and spell properly. If you bounced between jobs but we see that there was a potential growth curve in there, that may be OK too if your resume is well designed. Are you the perfect candidate, then spell-check!"
Most Recent Accomplishments
"I always scan for the very latest accomplishment the candidate has, whether it’s an academic milestone, a significant achievement in the professional world, or a powerful life experience. All lessons learned and experienced gained will still be relatively fresh with the candidate, and anything that they may bring to the table will inevitably be influenced by their most recent accomplishments."
"Resumes that simply list skills are boring and do not stand out. The first thing I look for on a candidates resume is personality. Personality is communicated through community involvement, awards and leadership. Ninety-Five percent of the time, if the skills are there and I don't see personality, I pass on the candidate."
Signs of Growth
"Depending on the role, I will often look at a candidate's resume to see demonstrable signs of growth at previous companies. Specifically, if the scope of their responsibilities or job function grew over time. Promotions are only one example of this. I've found that this is one of the most effective ways of sussing out whether or not they were a high performer in the past. "