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 experts


Maureen Crawford Hentz is a manager of talent acquisition, development and compliance for Osram Sylvania Inc., a lighting manufacturer. She is a nationally recognized expert on social networking and new media recruiting. With more than 15 years of experience, her interests include diversity recruiting, college student recruiting, disabilities in the workplace, business etiquette, and GLBT issues.



Linda Mangini and Wini Chase are based in the Boston Office of McDermott Will & Emery. Mangini has served as the Boston Office Administrator for seven years and Chase is the Boston human resources manager. McDermott is an international law firm with more than 1,100 lawyers and offices in Boston, Brussels, Chicago, Düsseldorf, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Munich, New York, Orange County, Rome, San Diego, Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C., as well as a strategic alliance with MWE China Law Offices in Shanghai.
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.
Biotech professional
Social sector
legal secretary

Legal secretary

  • Age: Mid-40s
  • Wants: To change industries, from legal to biotech. Thinks skills developed as a legal secretary would be valuable to a corporation. Now that her children are older, looking to get a career that allows for advancement.
See the résumé

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

Mangini and Chase: Needs to dramatically cut the length - much too wordy. She should use bullets instead. Her thoughts were not organized or succinct, and the candidate repeated herself throughout the résumé.

Shea-Morrone: Résumé would read better if she provided her experience in a bulleted format.

12. What is the résumés greatest flaw?

Crawford Hentz: Greatest flaw: 80's résumé style.

Mangini and Chase: Weak writer, disorganized in thought, poor proofreading skills, and provides too much information (less can be more on a résumé).

Shea-Morrone: Too wordy - it needs to be bulleted.

13. What is the best feature of the résumé?

Crawford Hentz: This candidate has great experience. We'd certainly consider her for a legal assisting position. I suspect that she would also be able to handle executive assisting for our CEO and CFO, but the résumé itself doesn't sell that - I have to extrapolate it. Some edits and incorporating the suggestions may help.

Mangini and Chase: She wrote a computer manual at her job from 1988 to 1991. This was the one item that piqued our interest. That seemed to be the most interesting position the candidate held and it appears this was the peak of her career. If she wants to be consistent, authoring a computer manual makes her a super-user, which is a skill/talent that ought to be highlighted in her computer skills section of her résumé; currently it isn't even included.

Shea-Morrone: Content - she tells us what she does.

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

Crawford Hentz: This is a nice sell for a legal secretary/assistant. If the candidate is looking to get out of the legal setting and into a non-legal executive assistant position, though, it's a bit of a tougher sell. She would want to retool the résumé to emphasize the transferrable skills.

Mangini and Chase: This person did not sell themselves well. She's had too many jobs, there were gaps of time between some jobs, she has worked several different positions (it's unclear as to what she wants to do now), and the education was misleading - did they obtain a secondary degree?

Shea-Morrone: The résumé has good content but candidate is not in selling mode - she's strictly providing the information as to what she does - she doesn't differentiate why she's better.

15. Additional comments

Crawford Hentz: Don't put the versions of the software on your résumé. Just put Microsoft Office (rather than 2003). If the candidate has the whole suite: PowerPoint, Excel, Access, these should be listed together. Also, the résumé looks like it was formatted in a table. Although it looks fine when printed, the online version clearly shows a table. I'd recommend you remove it.

You are hireable in the corporate setting, both in a legal department or as an executive-level assistant. Focus your résumé a little more, spend about 15 minutes doing format changes, and you're all set.

Mangini and Chase: The candidate should update her computer skills section - delete old applications that are no longer in use, and it's also important to note proficiency level. Be creative - every paragraph in the résumé starts with "support/supported." Don't repeat responsibilities, for example, travel in paragraph one. The candidate needs to be more organized and precise with thoughts and job responsibilities. The last sentence in paragraph three doesn't make sense. Did she only work two days (part-time position), or did she only supervise two days a week while working full time? Don't use "etc" (see paragraph four). Legal assistant position only lasted six months and this immediately sets off warning bells that the candidate couldn't meet expectations of the position. Which leads us to point out, for positions going back over ten years, if there isn't a reason to highlight it (such as tried a different position that didn't work) we question noting it.

More résumés:

Biotech professional
Social sector

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.