Reading Between the Lines

Resumes can be fun to read. Some hiring managers might be questioning that view, but it is something I enjoy doing. Resumes provide insight into how companies run, can portray a career development story, and highlight personal successes. Sometimes we get those resumes that leave recruiters shaking our heads. Then we have the candidates who appear so extremely impressive, just from paper, it gets companies clamoring to meet and hire them. From the questionable to the outstanding, the process of reviewing what candidates submit has some entertaining stories. I highly advise recruiters and hiring professionals to legitimately read through resumes submitted, and not just for the entertainment factor.

An entire industry has formed around training job seekers on how to produce resumes that will grab the attention of prospective employers. And, for the most part, candidates spend a great amount of time constructing a masterpiece that can appropriately depict why a company should hire them. Think about the last time you were in the job market. How long did you spend reading, rereading, proofreading, getting peer feedback, editing, and analyzing your resume? How many different versions of your work experience were made to ensure transferable skills were noticed over job titles?

In a recent career advisement meeting, we discussed how heavily job titles weigh when evaluating which profiles should be reviewed for further consideration. Most employers agreed that they take a quick glance at a resume to see if anything catches their eye. If a particular item draws the hiring manager in, they will continue to read more. Usually, the first things reviewed are job title, dates of employment, and based on job requirements, education history. But I pose a question:  What if candidates are using a title their company assigned to the job duties that does not match the typical name of the role? What if you are looking for a Customer Service Representative but the resume says Client Relations or Account Manager, yet the job description is clearly more entry level? Personally, I have coached my candidates to change their job titles back to a generic job title, and to not use the creative titles that have become en vogue. 

Hiring managers that take longer than the statistically proven six seconds standard to review the resume expressed finding diamonds in the rough. I realize that we do not always have time to fully and committedly read each and every candidate profile, especially with unemployment rates dropping and hiring needs increasing. Yet in my years of recruiting, with my current and past positions, I have brought in people who were the perfect fit from being able to look beyond the initial impression. The key words in the job description or intriguing accomplishments gave me reason to call and ask more questions, which lead to the in-depth interview to gauge the similarities.

Ultimately that is what we all want, right? To hire a team of people who are successful together! So my challenge to all who review inquiries on open positions is to do yourself a favor and slow down on reading resumes. At the same time, I will continue coaching candidates on how to write effective resumes that employers want to spend time on.

Reading Between the LinesTressa Hyndman

Tressa began her career in the staffing industry in February 2010. Her professional background includes more than nine years of retail and banking management where recruiting for her own team played a large role in building successful teams. Since joining Celebrity Staff, Tressa has used her versatile experience to partner with clients and candidates to find the right match for career opportunities.  Staying active within the community colleges and local networking groups has afforded Tressa the opportunity to continue to grow clientele throughout the Kansas City area with ever growing diversity.

Tressa has her master’s degree in human resource management from Webster University.  In her free time, Tressa enjoys spending time with family, listening to music, and reading.

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