An employer only needs ONE reason to screen out a resume and not call someone in for an interview. Experts say it typically takes hiring managers 6–10 seconds to scan through a resume and decide whether a job candidate is worthy of a face–to–face interview.
We often think hiring managers take a lot of time to look through every resume, searching for the skills of the most qualified candidates. However, with hundreds of resumes arriving for one position, human resource professionals across industries report using resumes as a screening and evaluation tool. They look for red flags before considering qualifying skills, knowledge, and abilities. Would your resume pass the screening test?
A resume is an advertisement that markets achievements and skills in the best possible way to match a specific job. Identifying and correcting red flags might help a resume get further along in the hiring process. Here are a few pointers:
- Spelling, grammar and punctuation errors: Make sure there are none. This reflects on one’s attention to detail. If a resume has errors, it reflects a thoughtless, disorganized or unconcerned employee. It is important to always proofread your resume.
- Old or unprofessional contact information:
- Phone number is wrong, or voicemail is not set-up (how can an employer leave you a message if they call?) Periodically call your phone number while you are looking for work. Check and process your voicemails so your voicemailbox does not get full.
- The email address is old or personal and unprofessional (create a new one just for job searching, they are free). An old email address such as Yahoo, AOL, or maybe even Hotmail may reflect your age.
- Proofread: Again, these errors reflect on attention to detail.
- Missing words
- Cut-paste errors
- Missing dates
- Emailing from job: reflects that the candidate is job searching on company time. Resumes should not be printed on current company stationery, mailed in company envelopes, or stamped with the mailing machine.
- Failure to follow directions: This mistake will often invalidate an application. The instructions test and reflect attentiveness.
- Missing keywords: If you do not customize a resume, it may get overlooked. Applicant tracking systems scan resumes for keywords from the job posting before the hiring manager even sees one qualified candidate’s resume. Remember those valuable 6-10 seconds. Take out the non-applicable information. Add and quantify applicable information.
For more in-depth information on creating, improving or overhauling resumes to get further along in the hiring process, attend a Workforce Solutions Job Skills seminar. Click on the weblink below for more information.
Ireina Reeves is a Regional Facilitator for Workforce Solutions, which serves 13 counties of the Houston/Galveston region. Ireina brings over 10 years of experiences to the team in public speaking, curriculum development, staff training, career consulting, resume writing, and recruiting. She has presented and advised professionals across several industries such as legal, government, collegiate, corporate, and nonprofit organizations. She has a zeal for helping job seekers reach their full potential by removing obstacles and tailoring strategies in today’s labor market.