The Right Way to Read Resumes in 2018

The following is a guest post by Tiffany Rowe. Tiffany is a Marketing Administrator at Seek Visibility, where she assists clients in contributing resourceful content throughout the web.


Before you have time to blink, it will be 2018 – and all those unfilled positions floating around your company will still be unfilled. Fortunately, the healthy economy offers plenty of eager applicants for your available jobs; unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to application materials. Resumes and cover letters have changed over the years, and plenty of hiring managers aren’t certain how to read the new, flashy documents they receive.

Emerging tech and diverging trends will create different resumes in 2018, but thanks to this guide, you should be well-equipped to read and review them.

Skip Long, Cluttered Apps

An application is an opportunity for a candidate to put his or her best face forward. By now, applicants should know the importance of brevity in their cover letters and resume; that you will spend an average of six seconds initially reviewing each application is a well-established fact. Simple words and short sentences – executed well – should be enough to impart important information about the candidate and his or her history. Plus, the existence of affordable professional resume services, which will build anyone’s application materials from the ground up, should prevent anyone from submitting a less-than-legible application.

Understand Personal Brands

The importance of branding has been growing exponentially for years, so it should come as no surprise that businesses aren’t the only ones taking advantage of this marketing trend. Now almost every individual person has a personal brand, which defines everything from a person’s work ethic to his or her fashion choices. Personal branding is subtly present in every public profile or persona, even if it isn’t advertised as such. You are more than likely to encounter overt personal brands while reviewing application materials in the coming year.

Personal branding is actually an incredibly useful tool for hiring managers because it boils down a person’s less definable qualities into an attractive package. While you might still find boring facts about education and employment history listed on a traditional resume, you can glean more about the person behind those statistics with the personal branding materials, which often include a personal website (more on that later) and social media profiles. Still, behind the sparkle, you should find consistency within the brand and relevancy to your open position, which are most valuable to your business.

Evaluate Format and Skill

The traditional resume has a traditional format: Name up top with contact information, employment history with listed responsibilities, education if young, and extraneous skills and certifications down below. There should be a pleasing amount of whitespace surrounding the information, and the font should be simple and legible. Any paper resume that fails to abide by these minimal, well-established rules was produced by someone who doesn’t perform cursory research or pay attention – someone you don’t want on your team.

However, paper resumes aren’t the only option anymore. In 2018, you should see an increase in so-called digital resumes, which are essentially personal websites organized to showcase a candidate’s skill. While there might be a page resembling a traditional resume, it’s likely to include other bits and bobs you aren’t familiar with. In general, you should look for polished sites with balance in form and function. If the color scheme is jarring, if you can’t navigate to different pages easily, and if there is anything off-putting about the graphics or text, you can skip the candidate. Conversely, if you are impressed by the candidate’s skill in web design, you might mark him or her for an interview; even if the position isn’t web-design related, their care in creating the site shows ingenuity, determination, and skill.

Use Links to Other Information

Contact information is no longer a pair of phone and fax numbers. Now, below candidates’ email addresses – on paper and digital resumes, alike – you’ll likely find URLs to their social media accounts. If you have decided you are interested in the candidate but unsure whether they are worthy of an interview, it’s time to use those links to your advantage. Here are some pointers for evaluating social media profiles you encounter during the hiring process:

  • LinkedIn. Because this networking site is explicitly for hiring purposes, you’re likely to find similar information to what you already have in the application materials. Unless you are looking for unknown connections, it’s okay to skip this link.
  • Facebook. As you scan a candidate’s wall, you should try not to find reasons not to hire someone. Instead, you should strive to find evidence of creativity, kindness, or other qualities that fit the position. On the other hand, if you uncover posts that are not just inappropriate for a work environment – like anything racially, sexually, or otherwise criminally explicit – maybe choose a different candidate.
  • Twitter. Tweets are not the place to nitpick about grammatical proficiency, but you can still survey a candidate’s past tweets for information about personality, interests, and general communication skills. Additionally, you should pay attention to the timing and frequency of tweets; you don’t want someone wasting the workday on his or her feed.
  • Instagram. Because photo-based social media is more focused on design, you can scroll through a candidate’s Instagram profile if your position is creative in nature. Otherwise, there is little reason to waste time reviewing this link.

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