Top 5 Qualities of a Star Applicant’s Resume


Hiring candidates is a long and often challenging process, but going through hundreds or even thousands of resumes at a time means that candidates can tend to blend together. In order to pinpoint the top applicants that signify a potential star and asset to a business, here are the top five things to look for on a resume.

1. Glowing References

An applicant can say just about anything they want to on a resume, but it can only be backed up by references from past employers. Having glowing references means that an individual can maintain business relationships, as well as excel in their employment position.

2. Customized Cover Letter

It is typically easy to tell when an applicant submits the same resume for 100 different jobs because there is no reference to the company or the position desired. However, star applicants will have carefully thought about this position, and they will have tailored their cover letter to include information about the business. This demonstrates passion and enthusiasm about a career at the company, but it also shows that the person pays attention to detail.

3. Lack of Career Gaps and Upward Movement

Having gaps in an applicant’s resume are not immediate red flags, but they need to be explained. The best applicants will have a steady stream of employment, few gaps and upward rather than lateral career shifts.

4. Identifiable Strengths

Someone who lists dozens of positive attributes may or may not actually have any of them, but a top candidate knows their strengths and clearly outlines them. Look for repeated concepts like teamwork, leadership, dedication or creative thinking.

5. Perfect Grammar and Spelling

Many employers don’t think that a few spelling mistakes on a resume are vital, especially when the position in question won’t require extensive written communication. However, it is about more than just communication skills. Top candidates will present well and pay attention to small details like those on a resume.

A resume is often the first time a candidate will have the chance to impress a hiring manager. These key attributes are the five things to look for when seeking out the top candidate for any position.

Top 5 Warning Signs on an Applicant’s Resume


Every hiring manager has a different checklist of what they are looking for in a potential employee. You might be searching for someone with years of experience in a big firm, or you might be looking for an applicant that has mastered social media for a marketing position. The first way to find information about applicants is through their resumes, but it is also the first place to dismiss applicants entirely. Here are the top five warning signs on an applicant’s resume that you shouldn’t ignore.

1. Generic Resume
If the resume you are reading looks like it could have been sent to any employment agency, it probably has been. Skip over the generic resumes, because this means that applicants are probably not specifically interested in the position they are applying for. Choose instead individuals who have customized their resume to reflect the career that they are truly passionate about.

2. Spelling Mistakes or Typos
Many individuals argue that if the job doesn’t require writing, then spelling shouldn’t matter on a resume. However, not properly proofreading something as important as a resume shows that the applicant does not pay attention to detail.

3. Unprofessional Resume
An unprofessional resume could range from one with a big picture of the applicant, to one that has a juvenile email address. It is also common for applicants to try to stand out with large fonts or cheesy introductions. Don’t dismiss creativity, but seek out tasteful and interesting resumes rather than ones that stand out for all the wrong reasons.

4. Long Resumes
One of the most common problems for applicants is creating unnecessarily long resumes. Although two pages is still considered to be acceptable in most cases, skip over those that take up three or more pages. This length means that applicants can’t prioritize what is most important.

5. Unexplained Career Gaps
In most cases, short career gaps less than three months are planned or due to the economy. However, be wary of applicants who don’t explain long gaps between jobs. Those who do have gaps should explain their reasons – whether that might be pregnancy, military service or online certifications.

It’s not always easy to whittle down a list of candidates and find the right employee. By eliminating those resumes containing these five warning signs, the process will be much simpler.