Rate my résumé

We had hiring managers and HR professionals look at six résumés. Here are their critiques.
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The applicants

college graduate

College graduate

  • Age: 22
  • Wants: Her first job.
Technology professional

Technology professional

  • Age: 57
  • Wants: To find a way to compete with younger job searchers.
Financial services

Financial services

  • Age: n/a
  • Wants: To make his resume better show his knowledge and experience.
Biotech professional

Biotech professional

  • Age: 51
  • Wants: To change companies after 18 years at present one.
legal secretary

Legal secretary

  • Age: 46
  • Wants: To change industries, from legal to biotech. Looking for a career rather than a job.
social sector

Social sector

  • Age: 51
  • Wants: A job in public or non-profit industry.

The experts

Carolyn Shea-Morrone has been a recruiter with Boston Scientific’s Global Staffing organization for the past eight years. She has helped support many of the company's businesses including Endosurgery, Cardiac Rhythm Management (CRM) and Interventional Cardiology (IC) as well as corporate functions which include: Clinical, Sales & Marketing Regulatory, R& D. Prior to Boston Scientific Corporation, Shea-Morrone recruited in the hospital setting.

Randy Stevens is the president and CEO of R L. Stevens and Associates Inc., based out of Waltham. R.L. Stevens is a national firm specializing in career management by helping professionals and executives pinpoint the right career opportunities and increase their market exposure to employers.

Radhika Rana, CSP, is a recruiting supervisor at Professional Staffing Group (PSG), one of the largest staffing firms in Massachusetts. In addition to managing PSG’s recruiting division, Radhika assists non-profits, such as The Asian American Civic Association, with resume critiquing and mock interviews.
Financial services
Legal secretary
Biotech professional

Biotech professional

  • Age: Early 50s
  • Wants: This biotech veteran has been at the same firm for 18 years, but wants a fresh start somewhere else. He would prefer to work for a small company or start-up that is more in tune with his personality.
See his résumé

6. What made the résumé interesting? Did the person do anything unique to make their résumé stick out?

Shea-Morrone: I wouldn't say there is anything unique about the résumé. As mentioned, it is a clear and concise read.

Stevens: Visually-pleasing on first glance. However, there is no qualifications summary to summarize key differentiators (what makes his qualifications, knowledge, experience different than others like him; and, what value / benefit does he bring to employer as a result). There is also no indicator of what type of job role or functionality he seeks. There is no quick key word section at top either as part of a qualifications summary or right after it, to quickly show knowledge base.

Rana: The candidate has accomplished a lot professionally — everything on his résumé is impressive.

7. What do you think of how education is presented?

Shea-Morrone: Education and degrees are listed appropriately.

Stevens: Good summarization of education, however it's not necessary to include city, state where degrees were conferred, internships, or residency located.

Rana: The candidate's education is presented well, but it would be nice to see it on the first page.

8. What do you think how work experience is presented?

Shea-Morrone: The most recent work experience is in good order. I do believe the previous roles should include more information about the role and responsibilities associated with his role.

Stevens: It is unclear whether the three top employments (2000-present; 1995-2000; 1990-1995) are with one company and then there is career progression OR if these are three separate employers. He lists his responsibilities under these three and it would then require more than the rule of "5 to 10 seconds" in reading to determine realities. The header of "professional experience" should be made larger in font and spacing so that it doesn't visually run on top of the actual experience. There is also mixed use of how years of experience shown is distracting. Either consistently use year-to-year (e.g. 1986-1989) or, use month and year (e.g. 5/86-6/89). Year-to-year is best visually.

Rana: The work experience on the résumé is presented well in chronological order.

9. What do you think of the language used?

Shea-Morrone: Language is fine. The language was concise and generally to the point. It conveyed a good picture of what the candidates has accomplished in previous jobs.

Stevens: Language is distracting due to mixed tenses (past and present). For example, candidate uses present tense in one area "establish and direct" but in same block of bullets he uses verbiage "conducting…." "investigating…". Also, the entire résumé is written with focus on job duties and responsibilities versus actual accomplishments. Recruiters want to see how a candidate made a difference, and how that difference was achieved. There's nothing wrong with including (if space permits) an overview statement that illustrates the scope of a role prior to providing bulleted detailing of achievements that differentiate the candidate from his competition.

Rana: The language used in the résumé is professional and grammatically correct.

10. Overall, how does the résumé flow from section to section?

Shea-Morrone: résumé flows smoothly

Stevens: Flow is logical. Only area that needs better clarification is the top area of experience (from 1990 to present) because it's not clear whether this is one company with progression of job roles or three different companies due to the achievements and responsibilities all bundled underneath the three job roles in that time frame.

Rana: The candidate's résumé flows smoothly section to section.

The applicants

We took résumés from six different people looking for jobs and asked professionals to give us their opinion. See what they had to say.

College graduate

College graduate

  • Age: Early 20s
  • Wants: Her first job.
  • Biotech professional

    Biotech professional

  • Age: Early 50s
  • Wants: To change companies after 18 years at present one.
  • Technology professional

    Technology professional

  • Age: Mid-50s
  • Wants: To find a way to compete with younger job searchers.
  • Legal secretary

    Legal secretary

  • Age: Mid-40s
  • Wants: To change industries, from legal to biotech. Looking for a career rather than a job.
  • Financial services

    Financial services

  • Age: Early 30s
  • Wants: To make his resume better show his knowledge and experience.
  • Social sector

    Social sector

  • Age: Early 50s
  • Wants: A job in public or nonprofit industry.