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What To Look For When Reading Resumes

What to Look for When Reading Resumes

Reviewing resumes while attempting to quickly fill a position can make it or break it when hiring efficiently. The better we are at sifting through resumes, the better we are at finding the company’s ideal candidate. Once we are clear on the job requirements and the qualifications of the perfect candidate, reviewing resumes should be a painless process. The list below is designed to help you determine what is most important for your company and the position you are hiring for. Here are 5 things to look for when reading resumes.  


You know exactly what the requirements are for the job you are hiring for. If the candidate doesn’t fit the description of the job, you can immediately move on to the next resume. Search for a person who can come in and do the job with minimum training. This will not only save training time, but it also allows the employee to start the position with confidence. 

Once you have determined that the candidate’s experience matches the job description, be sure to verify the experience within the resume. Frequently, candidates will use job descriptions to create their resumes. Therefore, you should look for evidence that the candidate has experience in the skill set that they have listed. Look for examples and details that explain their work experience and why they are a good fit. 


If you are a company who strives for employee longevity, identify a candidate who demonstrates tenure in their past positions. If the employee has the experience you are seeking and shows commitment in the past, it’s worth considering moving forward with the candidate. 

On the other hand, if you are looking for an entry level employee, the dates can still provide you with a better idea of the best candidates. Generally, entry level employees will be fresh out of college, with little to no experience in the field. Based off your hiring preferences, looking at the dates listed can help you narrow down your interview choices. 

Cover Letter

After reducing the number of resumes in your pool, continue by reading the cover letter included with the resume. Although not all job postings require a cover letter, many will include a summary at the top of the page. Reading about the candidate’s experience will give the recruiter an idea of their personality and tone. Ask yourself if the person’s tone matches the culture of the company. This is also a great way to verify experience, as cover letters often highlight the candidates experience in more detail.  


Education is a useful tool; it teaches us a lot about how to prepare and learn the task at hand. For some positions, it is necessary to hire candidates with a certain level of education, whereas other positions may put experience first. The company and role will determine if experience or education is a more important asset for the position. If education is important to the company and there is an educational requirement for the position, sticking to those requirements can help determine if the resume belongs in the yes or no pile. 


The style of the resume can tell you if the candidate matches the culture and position. For example, if you are hiring a marketing employee, expect more energy to be placed on the style of the resume than on a resume created by a computer technician. The style can also tell you if the candidate has researched your company website and taken time to cater their resume to your business. You may notice simple touches like a color palette that matches your company’s brand or a layout that reflects what your company may be looking for. Attention to small details on a resume can help a candidate stand out and grab the viewer’s attention.

Spelling and Grammar

This is a no brainer, but still important enough to mention. If a candidate can’t take time to review their resume for grammatical and spelling errors, then it can be hard to trust them in a fast-paced environment that requires typing. On the other hand, if the candidate is applying for a hands-on position, that doesn’t require typing, a couple of spelling mistakes may not reflect his/her work ethic in the same way. 

To summarize, each point we touched on is important when reviewing resumes, however, the order and suggestions you consider depends on the open position and company. Be clear on what your ideal candidate looks like on paper so you can have a better idea of what to look for. Knowing the “must haves” will automatically eliminate the candidates that don’t qualify for the position. Once you can find the best candidates on paper, moving forward with an in-person interview will present you with the best talent to select from. 

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