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When hiring new employees, what do you look for in a resume? What do you find people often include that is overkill?


Topic Expert
Regis Quirin
Title: Director of Finance
Company: Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP
LinkedIn Profile
(Director of Finance, Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP) |

I look for achievements. How did you make it stronger, faster, and more efficient, for less? Avoid resumes that start every line with Managed, unless you are looking for a delegater. Senior people achieve as being part of a team or implementing a concept they devised.

Anders Liu-Lindberg
Title: Regional Finance Business Partner
Company: Maersk Line Northern Europe
LinkedIn Profile
(Regional Finance Business Partner, Maersk Line Northern Europe) |

Depending on the position hiring for however so far I have only been hiring for entry level position. Here the resume plays a smaller part and I prefer constructing a small exercise which can be sent to candidates so they can showcase their skills that way. That will tell me much more than a resume.

Topic Expert
Mike Caruana
Title: Director of Financial Services
Company: Diamond Resorts International
(Director of Financial Services, Diamond Resorts International) |

I agree that the position you're hiring for significantly affects the process. Assuming you're talking about higher level positions, I look for career progression, specifically relevant experience beyond buzz words, length of time in each position, certifications, and extra-curricular committee activity (non-profit board, diversity councils, etc.)

I find too many accomplishments to be overkill. I like to see 2-3 significant contributions/accomplishments per employer.

Topic Expert
Randy Miller
Title: Partner
Company: CFO Edge
(Partner, CFO Edge) |

Depending on the position level: Achievements, career progression, and relevant experience. With the state of the economy over the last 5 years, time in position or gaps in employment have become less important. But if there are gaps, I would like to see activity, even if it is volunteer work or education.

(Agent, JKS Solutions, Inc.) |

The problem with resumes today is that unless they mimic the job posting almost in its entirety, the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) will dump them out of the process before human eyes ever see the resume. This is the main reason there is a perception there is a lack of talent. With everyone simply trying to rank first and trick the HR ATS, the quality of the resumes have gone down significantly. With HR Departments believing that long term unemployed are no longer of value to human society, their more dense resumes full of great experience are never looked at. Companies now are consistently telling recruiters to not present these unemployed candidates. Who do you think built the businesses in the first place?

Today it is unlikely that you will find experience dense resumes due to the technology hurdles and egregious requirements of every skill needing to be certified imposed by HR departments and HR employees with little to no experience in recruiting seasoned professionals.

Most job descriptions aren't even tailored to the skill set you need to hire.

Most of you who have stayed employed during the depression, have probably no idea what has gone on in your own HR departments or that you have been kept from reviewing qualified candidates who do not fit the ATS definitions or if you use outside recruiters.

If you are a CFO, its time to review the practices of your HR team and systems. It is also time to review the policies or instruction given to the recruiter vendors that you use.

Getting better candidates is easy as soon as you remove the false hurdles.

What I look for in a resume:

1. Indications that the person can think rather than being told what to do. This involves having some doer experience, supervisory experience, and some interesting project experience. I do not look for an exact match unless I need a specifics because I cannot spend time training.

2. I grade schools based on whether they are "practical" or "theoretical". People from theoretical schools are much more valuable and promotable than staff from schools that teach specific practical skills. However if you are seeking junior staff and you know the position will not be promoted look to the practical schools because you need someone who can fit in and be a doer for a longer term.

3. I look for what type of excel skills they have. Whether you are a large or small business, excel is the preferred cross functional tool.

4. A database is a database, only the user interfaces are different. If they learned one they will learn any of them satisfactorily so I don't limit the field based on system, like so many HR people do today.

5. Does the resume reflect someone who understands how to present themselves? Not so much perfection in spelling, but how they use fonts and visual layout. Yes many are professionally written, but the bulk are not. If you can get someone who understands how to present to others in a professional way you have someone who knows how to communicate appropriately. And, someone who will understand what reporting is adequate and appropriate as to disclosures.

6. Technical accounting experience. The question here being how much skill gain can I support versus how much overtime do I envision myself working to make up for significant lack of understanding of the GAAP framework.

Topic Expert
Malak Kazan
Title: VP, Special Projects
Company: ERI Economic Research Institute
(VP, Special Projects, ERI Economic Research Institute) |

I also look for the "how" of their accomplishments. Can they work with virtual team members, communicate effectively, function in complex / matrix organization, etc...


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