Posted by: Dana Lee | November 9, 2009

What does your resume say about you?

Dana Web

Dana Lee, CPC, CTS

I spend hours weekly changing, tweaking or revising resumes. It’s not my favorite way to spend my time at work, but it must be done!

As a hiring authority, I give a resume approximately 15-30 seconds before I determine whether or not I am going to call the candidate and do a basic pre-screen.

What am I looking for in those resumes?
1. Grammar, punctuation and spelling (Is “PowerPoint” spelled correctly? What about “liaison?”)
2. Consistency in margins, font and font size
3. Highlights of qualifications and skills required for the position at or near the top of the resume
4. Bullet points highlighting job duties (not the abilities needed to do the job, but the duties themselves)
5. Experience in the job for which the candidate has applied
6. Did the candidate use a pre-formed template in their word processing program to create the resume, or did the candidate take the time to set up their own format? (Most hiring authorities prefer the second.)
7. Does the candidate have strong tenure? (If not, are there reasons for leaving highlighted in the resume, and are they feasible?)

Of course, these are just the top criteria for a strong resume. If the resume meets these criteria, I’ll dig deeper.

In today’s world, hiring authorities are looking for reasons to rule candidates out of a job, rather than rule them in. There are so many great candidates looking for jobs, that it’s easy for them to get lost in the “black hole” of resume submissions. It’s imperative that their resumes be the best possible marketing collateral about them and their search.



  1. Dana, you are so right! A candidate’s resume must have the WOW factor – that reason for the recruiter or hiring manager to keep reading the resume after 15-20 seconds. The top half of a resume should say not only what you can do for the new employer but also what you have accomplished that will set you apart from all of the other candidates for this job. Great article! Yvonne Abel
    Career Counseling since 1984

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