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Business Basics: Analyzing a Resume

Business Basics: Analyzing a Resume

A small business owner or hiring manager can see hundreds of resumes from candidates with a variety of skills and experience, but it takes expertise to quickly read, analyze, and search for relevant information in a resume. The best way to get through this process is to have strategies to help a hiring manager get through all the resumes to find the appropriate job matches. Here are three strategies a small business owner or hiring manager can use to screen candidates for open job positions.


A candidate’s experience should match the job requirements. Yet, a hiring manager should not hesitate to contact candidates who have different levels of experience. Candidates with limited experience may be easier to train and ready to grow into the corporate culture. Candidates with years of experience can provide you the leadership and expertise a company needs to expand its operations. Also, search the resumes for a list of awards and accomplishments. This list can help the hiring manager separate the quality candidates from the others.

A Real Look at Education

One of the big frustrations for applicants is the idea that they have to have education and experience before getting a good job. As a hiring manager, it can be tempting to approach this issue like a checklist, but sometimes education can be easy to just look at and gloss over. So, the candidate has a bachelor’s degree, but what is it in? Is it related or relatable to the field you are hiring in? Is it related to the jobs in a candidate’s job history?

Education is one thing, but it doesn’t always have to be a degree from a university that sets a candidate apart. If you see specialized training in a specific field (such as facility management training) it can recommend candidates much better than a degree in an unrelated field.


A resume without references is a problem for the applicant. It is common knowledge that you need references on a resume so that people can check in on your work history and work ethic at previous jobs. In the absence of previous work experience, educators or mentors can offer references as well. So, if a resume is missing references, that is a red flag that the candidate doesn’t want you to know what it is like to work with them.

Also be sure to check and see if the references look like they could be relatives. Some names (like Smith) are so common it’s reasonable to think that a similar last name might not mean they are related, but if someone is putting their mother or close relative as their top reference, then that should be a warning for you. Alternatively, that might be appropriate for candidates in entry-level low-skill jobs like fast food service, but if you are hiring for a higher-level position then it should clue you in that this person may not be the right fit for your company.

Grammar and Spelling

Grammar and spelling are important because it shows the candidate is paying attention to the details. The candidate should use clear and concise language with consistent verb tenses. They should show some familiarity with industry-related terms that are consistent with the position they are seeking. The resume should be formal and professional without any local jargon or slang terms. Yet, the candidate should use language that is easy to read. Complicated or academic language may be a sign the candidate is covering up their lack of qualifications.

Look for Consistency

A hiring manager should look for gaps in a candidate’s employment history. Brief employment gaps of one or two months will happen for many reasons. The candidate may have been in between jobs, or they decided to take some time to deal with other matters. A strong resume with gaps in employment history is not unusual, and a hiring manager should seek an explanation. Many jobs in various industries have a high turnover rate. A hiring manager should also see if a candidate stayed with a job long enough to add value to the company. Two or more years with a company is a way to gauge how much value a candidate added to their former employer.

The hiring process requires scanning and analyzing a lot of resumes. Knowing a few key elements to look for on a resume will make the process faster and easier for a hiring manager.

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by Reggie Moore // Reggie Moore is a freelance writer and proto-entrepreneur. When not trying to tinker with a new process or idea, Reggie can usually be found saying the words "Well, actually" to an unsuspecting bystander.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.