Reading a Resume More Effectively

The purpose of a resume is to get the invitation to interview.  It’s a quick snapshot of a career.  Both writers and readers alike need to focus on its purpose. It’s an introduction. Remembering this simple fact can lend insight into the most effective way to read or write one. For today, let’s focus on reading.

Many hiring managers use resumes as a tool to screen whether a candidate has all of the skills needed to perform the job rather than a brief introduction that gives a scope of skillset.  What’s wrong with that?
The reality is that while there are hundreds of books, articles, and services on how to write a good one, there is no perfect resume.

Not all relevant information concerning a career will necessarily be on a resume. Just because a job description and the resume do not have all of the same items addressed doesn’t mean that the candidate doesn’t possess the needed skills.  If you look at yourself and your job, there are way too many aspects to summarize in a short written document.  It is only through conversation that skillsets and the fine-tuned requirements can be analyzed.  Determining if the candidate worked a similar job thorough the resume  and creating a check-list of needed skills on a resume can eliminate great potential candidates.

One of the most overlooked features on a resume is the list of companies the candidate has worked for.  Look at the organizations.  How similar or dissimilar are they to yours?  It isn’t just the industry, but size, corporate structure, and culture are also important.  This helps to determine what type of organization a person works well in.

Another thing to examine is job transitions. When you look at the transitions, be aware that transitions happen for a multitude of reasons. Keep in mind what was happening in the economy during periods of transition and what was happening financially to the organizations the person worked for.

Judging a candidate’s resume should be based a number of factors.  Do they generally match the position even though they may not have every skill you want listed?  Have they worked for similar organizations successfully?  Do the job transitions make sense given factors within the industry or the particular company they worked for? Are they job hoppers or could there be other reasons for job transitions?

Don’t be afraid to cast a wide net. Remember that once you have the phone screen you will be able to better determine the specific skillset and decide if a particular candidate will move on in the process.