How to Review a Resume

5 Tips for Quickly Eliminating 9/10 Resumes

To learn how to review a resume, you need 2 things, a good job description, and a good eye for scanning keywords. With these 2 skills and the following 5 tips, you can quickly eliminate 9/10 resumes sent to you for a job opening, saving you time and headache!

Review Tip 1 - Format

A person sending you their resume should have a format that will allow you to quickly understand what they have done and what they can do. You should be able to see in the first 10 lines of a resume the general skills of an individual. Bad examples included if they try to get too cute, like saying they were a 'Refuse Dispensing Engineer' instead of they dumped trash. If it is too complex and you have to figure out what the resume is trying to tell you, then you have to question the candidates communication skills... so move on and archive the resume.

Review Tip 2 - Style

The second tip on how to review a resume is to look for style. By this I mean writing style. Can the person communicate in short sentences? Are there spelling errors? Do the columns line up? Does the overall presentation fit into some nominally acceptable resume style? Look at these factors and if the resume is sloppy or hard to read the archive!

Review Tip 3 - Keyword Scan

Scanning for keywords is the first step in reviewing resumes. You need your list of keywords and equivalents. Some people did not have the position of supervisor, they may have been called team leader or shift manager. Get your keywords and equivalents for the position and scan for them in the resumes you receive. If it is not there then archive it!

Review Tip 4 - Consistent Dates

This means you need to look at the time line of the jobs listed. If a person does not put months/years, this is a clue. Be sure there are not large gaps in employment. This could mean they were not looking, had legal problems or decided not to divulge what they were doing for other reasons.

Finally, the time line should make sense. A person is not likely to be working at 2 jobs in different states many miles apart. Sometimes these may be errors but do you really want someone who can't accurately remember what jobs they have had in the last 5-7 years or make sloppy mistakes? Archive it!

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Review Tip 5 - Look for Patterns & Inconsistencies

The last step in learning how to review a resume is to look for patterns and inconsistencies in the resume. Above we talked about the time line and comparing when they worked with where the job was located. There are some others.

Job Hopping

When a candidate can not stay at a job for more than 3 months before leaving there is something wrong.

Decline in Responsibility

Similarly if there was a large reduction in responsibility there may be something wrong. For example a person is the Vice President of Sales and in their next position they become a retail sales clerk. Wouldn't you wonder what happened? This is somewhat melodramatic but it makes the point. Large changes in responsibility in the negative direction should generally be a concern.

Drastic Career Change

If there has been a drastic career change and not much time spent in the new career, you should be concerned. Why the sudden change?

Lots of Relocation in Short Period

Unless a person is in the Military, people don't move to different states 3 times in 2 years. This indicates a problem. You don't need a problem you need a solution. Move on.


Use these 5 tips in learning how to review a resume and you will save yourself lots of time and energy with little risk of tossing an "A" candidate.

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