A while back I did a free LinkedIn and resume review giveaway and I got over 500 entries in 5 days! There was no way I could review 500 resumes so instead I decided to give everyone instructions on how to review someone’s resume and match them with one of the other participants.

I get dozens of requests on a daily basis to review people’s resumes so I decided to share exactly what I would do in a resume review to everyone so you can basically be my proxy. Grab a friend, a family member, a random stranger… or if all else fails a mirror, and do a resume swap!

If you’re more of a visual learner I also made a video of me reviewing a candidates resume and LinkedIn following these same steps. If this feels daunting for you, do a review along with me here:

Ready, set, go…

Step 1: What can you tell in 60 seconds?

Recruiters and hiring managers have to go through thousands of resumes and usually don’t spend a lot of time trying to read your whole resume. Put a timer on for 60 seconds and jot down everything you assume about this person from this resume.

This is your chance to finally guilt free — judge that book by it’s cover! Don’t hold back and don’t worry about generalizing or stereotyping. What kind of person do you think they are? What skills stand out to you?

Also note down stylistic things that are making it difficult for you to quickly understand — is the font too small? Are all the points stuck together? Is it hard for you to immediately identify what their skill set is?

Step 2: Does it seem like they can do the job?

Ask your peer for a link to the job description of their dream job. Read the job description and jot down 3–5 things that the company is looking for. I’d ignore arbitrary things like years of experience and field of study and focus on the more fundamental technical and soft skills the job is asking for.

Step 3: Identify gaps and strengths

Now you have a simplified job description and your first impressions of the resume. It’s time to cross reference these two!

Based on your first impressions does the candidate satisfy all the points in the job description? Which ones are you confident they satisfy? Which ones do they not? Make sure you list down all the gaps and strengths.

Step 4: The path for improvement

Time to take a second look at their resume to figure out what they can do better. Now that you’ve identified the gaps and strengths take a more detailed look at their resume and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is there experience listed here that you missed the first time around that would address the gaps you found? Look through any links the candidate included like their LinkedIn profile, personal website or GitHub to see if you can learn more about them.
  • Can they rephrase or highlight some of their content in a way that would make them a better fit for the job? On the flip-side, is there any information that they should remove or reorganize so it doesn’t confuse the interviewer?
  • When you look at each of their experiences are you able to quickly identify the following: what they did, what was the impact they had and what skills they’ve demonstrated? If not, what are the areas of confusion?

Essentially look for anything that would reduce their gaps and highlight their strengths more! Write all of this down on a separate document or directly provide the feedback on the resume if you’re able to.

Step 5: Share your feedback

You’ve collected a TON of feedback:

  • Your first impressions
  • A list of the gaps and strengths
  • Specific feedback for each part of the resume!

Share this with your resume buddy and hop on a call if you can. I cannot tell you the number of times a client or mentee of mine begins to share all the super relevant experience that they decided to downplay or not include once they realize what their gaps are.

As I mentioned at the beginning I created a video you can follow these steps along with in a real resume review I’ve done here:

Now that you know all the secrets of a resume review share this with a friend and get started!

If you’d still like me personally to whip up my secret sauce (shhh…there is no secret) to review your resume — I’d be happy to do so through my coaching services. Learn more at dasanidecoded.com/coaching

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About the Writer

Dasani is a Program Manager at Microsoft and founder of Dasani Decoded. Subscribe to our mailing list for more valuable content or sign up for a career coaching session.

☁️ Powered by doodles and dreams 👩🏿‍💻 PM @ Microsoft & Career Coach (Dasani Decoded)

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