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Gone in Thirty Seconds: How to Review a Resume

Start with a Job Description or Role Profile

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Two women read a piece of paper together

More Than One Employee Should Review Relevant Resumes

The work of resume review starts well before applicant resumes fill your inbox. Reviewing a resume starts with a job description or role profile so you know broadly what the job entails. Part of the job description, in an effective job description, details the qualifications and experience of the candidate you seek to fill the job.

Determine a Salary Range

Then, determine the salary range by using a market pay study and the additional salary research materials you have on hand. Better candidates will inquire about the pay range before they invest a lot of time in your company. Be prepared with an appropriate response.

Develop a Key Qualifications List or Candidate Profile

This process gets you started. The next key is for Human Resources staff and the hiring manager to narrow down all of this information. Create a list that spells out your most important candidate selection criteria. This is often called a candidate profile. You’ll want to list:

  • the key characteristics or traits,
  • the most important skills,
  • the most relevant experience
  • the desired educational level, and
  • the other most important factors that you will consider in candidate selection.

You now have distilled the job information into a list you can use to write ads, post jobs online, or highlight on your recruiting website. This list is the essence of the candidate you seek to fill your open job.

This candidate profile is a list of key experiences, skills, traits, and education and is essential for reviewing resumes. It forces discipline into the resume review process and gives you valuable criteria to use in resume review, and later, in candidate comparison. The list also serves as the basis for the job interview questions you will use in screening and in-person interviews with candidates for your job.

Job Posting Example

Here is an example of an actual job posting that was created from a list of key qualifications. Notice that the candidate’s qualifications are carefully defined.

  • Marketing Specialist

    Company X, an award-winning, global leader in the xxx, xxx and xxx of xxx seeks a motivated, proactive, Marketing Specialist to develop marketing materials and website content, design ads, and generally support the marketing function. The successful candidate has a degree in Marketing, and 1-3 years experience in advertising, website development, and Internet competitive research. The successful candidate is an independent self starter, creative, customer service oriented, and writes well, Must be familiar with Web Design software such as Adobe PhotoShop or Illustrator. Company X offers a competitive salary and a generous benefits package. Please send resume with salary requirements to: xxx

This posting enables you to screen resumes and evaluate potential candidates. The job posting ensures that you don’t settle for a less than qualified person. Or, you may occasionally decide that you under priced the market in terms of the qualifications you seek at the salary you want to pay.

In a current search for a Planning and Scheduling Supervisor, as an example, a manufacturing company is finding that the $50,000 they want to pay, may not attract the person they hope to find for the job. Their best applicants currently make $65,000 as stated in their cover letters and resumes.

All of this information helps you scan resumes more quickly. The information and preparation helps you narrow down the many resumes to the chosen few resumes with greater accuracy. The preparation makes resume review relatively painless.

Want to know the specific steps in resume review?

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