Reading Between the Lines: What the Resume Isn’t Telling You

Many hiring managers read resumes very quickly. They want a general idea of the applicant’s background and skills. Often, they accept that this quick overview is enough for the first round of decisions – they leave deeper questions for the interview process. 

Reviewing resumes too quickly, however, means that a hiring manager may skip over information that impacts the decision whether or not to interview a candidate. Rather than merely skimming what’s written, it’s also important for hiring managers to consider other evidence on the page. 

 Here’s what to look for “between the lines” of a resume: 

 1. Organization and attention to detail. 

Communication is an essential skill in nearly every field, and the organization of a candidate’s resume can speak volumes about their communication ability.  

Look for resumes that are well-organized so that they tell a clear story. Can you develop a clear picture of the candidate’s history and skills from the resume? Or is it merely a jumble of unrelated work experiences? 

Likewise, examine the formatting and writing. Formatting that makes key information easy to find, and information free of typos, indicates the candidate is detail-oriented and understands how to share information with an audience that is unfamiliar with the topic.  

2. Look for signs of empathy and teamwork. 

The ability to work well with others is a must in any organization. Yet candidates don’t always emphasize it on their resumes – at least, not directly. 

To get an idea of a candidate’s orientation toward others and the ability to work on teams, look not only for what the candidate says about team projects but how they say it. Giving credit to others for collaborative efforts, for instance, indicates that the candidate understands their role in a larger human effort. 

3. Look for signs of progress. 

“I’ve spent ten years in this job” may sound impressive, but it says nothing about the quality of experience or learning. Does the candidate have ten years of experience? Or do they have one year of experience repeated ten times?  

Rather than focusing on longevity, look for signs of growth and progress. A procession of new certifications, changing job titles, and similar indicators can show that the candidate has grown and matured in their role over time. 

At THE RIGHT STAFF, LLC, our recruiters specialize in connecting our clients to some of the best talent in the Twin Cities. If you’re looking for qualified candidates, contact us today.   

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