A little extra care during resume screening can ensure your efforts are spent on only the most fitting applicants down the track. Don’t waste time poring over piles of irrelevant resumes when you can take a more pointed approach.

Below are five tips to assist in resume screening and ensure those that reach the next stage are worth the effort.

1. Look for Organization

First and foremost take not of the resume’s layout. If a resume is confusing, out of order, or looks thrown together in five minutes it’s a bad sign. Resume’s that are logically ordered, and to the point can tell you a good deal about the applicant’s ability to be succinct.

2. Be Careful With Buzzwords

A lot of job seekers load their resume down with keywords. While this may make them stand out during an ATS resume screening, you need to look a little deeper. There’s more to a skillset than just the right words. Look at past experience, context, and usage of specialized skills and software platforms. Keywords spread out across a resume and used in context of past jobs are a good sign. Keywords clustered in a skillset list or in a synopses are not nearly as effective. Look for practical real world application.

3. Draw The Right Applicants To You

There are some job seekers who will reply to anything that looks good. This can cost you a great deal of time by having to screen out such applicants. To limit the noise, be precise in your job advertisements. Experience, education, and a general employment profile doesn’t trim down the talent pool nearly enough. So highlight skills in specific areas, tools, duties, and applied applications.

4. Look For Real Data

An application with solid facts and figures says a great deal. If a resume lists budgets, revenue raised, costs cut, time saved, customer base, and clients served you have a much fuller picture than one that just deals in general statements without quantifiable data. If a resume has a lot of figures and precise results than that resume belongs to someone who has a clear idea of their previous duties and the results they achieved.

5. Ask For Cover Letters

A cover letter should be a given but make it a point to ask. A good customized cover letter can tell you about a potential employee’s personality, goals and what they can specifically bring to your organization. Above all they allow you to get a real sense of an applicant as a person and something more than just their experience and skills. A candidate’s personality is every bit as important as the skills they possess.


As you can see, resume screening requires a careful hand and a good deal of focus. However, as long as you keep in mind the kind of employee (and by extension skillset) you’re looking for it makes the entire process easier. Above all, look for a sound presentation, real world application and always design your openings to attract suitable applicants.


Image Credit: Wiertz Sébastien