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Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS)

Reviewing Resumes

Reference Number: MTAS-1323
Reviewed Date: 08/14/2023

It is not uncommon for a good recruitment effort to generate 40 or more applications for a professional position. It is recommended that you acknowledge the receipt of each application. We have developed a resume checklist that should be used as a tool to screen resumes by assigning a score to each. Criteria for reviewing and scoring resumes should include experience, education, quality and clarity of resume, and length of time in previous positions as related to the job design.

A resume is essentially a personal advertisement. It may be accurate and complete, or it may be exaggerated or deceptive. You decide as you sort through and decode what is before you. As you review each resume with your job design profile in mind, make notations and comments opposite each requirement or characteristic. In addition, we recommend requiring each applicant to complete your standard employment application. As you review each resume, there are other considerations to keep in mind. There are two areas in particular that will require your conscious attention:

  • Employment history. Are there time gaps in employment? Has the candidate served a reasonable period of time in each job? Is the chronology consistent?
  • Accomplishments. Experience is fine, but did the candidate accomplish the kinds of things you want accomplished? This is where resumes most often reflect exaggerated claims.

Narrowing the Field
Once you have completed your review of resumes and standard application forms, you are prepared to make some judgments. You will be able to assign applicants to one of three categories:

  • Those who do not fit the job design profile (inactive)
  • Those who do fit the job design profile (active)
  • Those who are questionable

Set aside the resumes of candidates who do not fit the job design profile. Temporarily, also set aside the resumes of candidates who do meet the job design profile. For the moment focus on the questionable.

What you are attempting to determine is which, if any, of the questionable candidates should receive further consideration. To do that, you need additional information, and the best way to secure that information is through a telephone interview. Make a list of the questions and the items on which you need clarification before you make the phone call. When you speak to the applicant, make it clear that the reason for the call is to ensure that you have complete and accurate information to use for evaluation purposes. Record the new information on the resume checklist found later in this section. The summary of the scores can be posted on a screening worksheet, a sample of which also is located in this section. After assessing the new information, assign each of the previously questionable applicants to either the active or inactive category. Candidates who will not be considered further should be advised at this time.

Now, take the paperwork for the candidates in the active category, and review it thoroughly once again. These are the applicants you will be considering further.