Our guest blogger today is Julie Fischer from our Cincinnati staffing office.

When you consider that a potential candidate’s resume must speak on their behalf, without explanation, you realize that you must accomplish a lot with one piece of paper… or two.

Keep in mind that there is no logic in learning more about a candidate if the resume does not include the “right background” for the position. I know, “duh,” and insert eye roll, but….

I do not want my staffing coordinator to have to assume anything! Because we know, the client might.

 Things to consider…

Gaps in employment need to be explained!  What was the reason for being out of the work? Inquiring minds want to know, I want to know!  Even if it is a one-liner stating, 2007-2008: Took a leave of absence to care for elderly parents.  Counsel the candidate to fill the void with special projects or volunteer work, especially if the gap in employment extends beyond a couple of months. Ask what the candidate did to keep busy and productive. Let the candidate know that you can list these experiences just as you would a regular job.

 Another piece of advice is in determining if the candidate is/was a job hopper, or has legitimately done contract work.  If the candidate was in a contract position, it should be documented. If a resume just has dates, it looks like the candidate was jumping from job to job, which is an easy assumption to make if it does not say contractor next to the job title. Here’s an idea, consider grouping them under one job if they are all through the same agency.

Resumes are like first impressions; you typically have one shot to get it right. If an applicant claims to have great written and verbal communication skills, but has grammatical and spelling errors on the resume, credibility goes to zero.

If you are applying for a position that requires special skills (a programmer must know certain computer languages—a mill operator knows how to operate certain machines), you need to list these skills under your summary paragraph at the top of resume.  I would not make the interviewer wait until the last section to find them. Education can usually go at the end, along with training, as it is less important than experience (for those who have been in the workforce for a while).

If you have had the opportunity to try many roles in your career, you are well experienced in a lot of things, but a recruiter doesn’t know what you want to be when you grow up. The “Summary” paragraph or “Objective,” can explain what you want next for you. By highlighting the experiences you want to leverage going forward, you give the recruiter a clue as to what roles might be a fit for you.

Remember, the resume must speak well for you, make a great impression, and does not raise doubt. It’s the only voice you have between a blind resume and a future employer.