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: Early 20s
  • Wants: Her first job.
Technology professional

Technology professional

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

Financial services

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

Biotech professional

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

Legal secretary

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

Social sector

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

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

11. Does the person provide enough information about their past or not enough? What should they have left out or included in their résumé?

Shea-Morrone: See question 8.

Stevens:The résumé is very responsibility-oriented versus detailing achievements and showing how those achievements made a difference in terms of organizational profitability, funding acquisition for research projects, regulatory approvals, team work performance, or pioneering new innovations.

Rana: The résumé definitely has enough information and valuable information which can certainly benefit the candidate.

12. What is the résumés greatest flaw?

Shea-Morrone: The "professional experience" section lists the same employer three times. In this case, the candidate has been promoted two times at his employer. He does not need to identify the employer three times as it is understood — he just needs to list the 3 different titles he's held.

Stevens:The résumé is too simplistic given candidate's rank, longevity in the workplace, and scope and depth of responsibilities.

Rana: The greatest flaw on the candidate's résumé is that the formation is off.

13. What is the best feature of the résumé?

Shea-Morrone: It's easy to read and clearly identifies employer, position and length of time in position.

Stevens: The clean, crisp visuality of the document. It's an easy, fast read.

Rana: The best feature of the résumé is the candidate's work experience, education, and accomplishments.

14. Does the person successfully sell themselves? What did they fail to do?

Shea-Morrone: This candidate has provided enough information for a recruiter to pick up the phone and have a conversation.

Stevens: The candidate adequately sold himself in this résumé, if one is simply looking at baseline sufficiency. However, no, I do not believe that candidate successfully sold himself to a recruiter or high-level decision maker because the résumé doesn't show any differentiation of talents, contributions, or knowledge portfolio that would separate him from all others with the same qualifications.

Rana: The candidate can sell himself well to the market once he formats his résumé.

15. Additional comments

Shea-Morrone: The candidate should not include his age in the additional information he shares. Additionally the comment he makes regarding looking for a role that is more a match with his personality is a flag — he seems open for a similar, corporate environment OR a start-up — two very different environments. He needs to focus his job search based on where his skills will be best utilized rather than the personality match.

The candidate indicates that he is published and it would be appropriate for him to include another page which lists his publications/presentations/abstracts.

Since the candidate has been with his present company for 18 plus years, he may consider including an objective or a summary at the beginning of his résumé — not required but may be appropriate in his case.

Stevens: There absolutely needs to be a qualifications summary at the top which can include as part of its first sentence and objective alternative (to let recruiters and decision makers know what candidate is seeking in job role or functionality). Or, that job role or functionality target can be shown as a standalone header centered above the qualifications summary. Everything else flows well in terms of order of information presented. Not necessary to include references or upon request because it is already assumed. I would also bullet point the awards and put the award first, then the date. Also, bullet point the "publications and presentations" section as well, leading with the actual entities, then in parenthesis, the quantity of each.

In addition:

  • Study all job boards where help wanted ads are displayed for candidate's functional target and identify key words, key phrases, and requirement statements to beef up this résumé's substance and candidate's unique branding. This will then substantially upgrade the résumé to stand out from those others he will compete against, while still retaining the requisite conservatism and professionalism needed for this particular industry.
  • Add an addendum that specifically details titles of candidate's most significant publications and presentations to supplement the general overview bullets in the core résumé area for these. This addendum will allow candidate to showcase his best competency areas, give him latitude to insert a one-sentence overview of any or all of the key publications or presentations so that the reader understands the importance of each.
  • Add a blurb about candidate's contribution to the advisory board work he's involved with &8212; What is his role at the company? What does he contribute? Have any of his contributions there led to something significant in terms of solutions to the industry.
  • Reverse the order for detailing job roles and companies. Put on first line the job title, then on the next line, the company. Also, to de-emphasize the dates (which aren't what's going to get candidate called in for an interview), tuck the dates right next to the city, state. For example:

    DIRECTOR OF MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY

    Biopharmaceutical Company, Town, State (1986-1989)

Rana: I think if the candidate added his education and accomplishments on the first page of the résumé it would appeal more.

More résumés:

Financial services
Legal secretary

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.