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How To Review A Resume In 10 Seconds Flat! – Recruiting Strategies That Work

Written by: Rikka Brandon
Published on: Mar 19, 2018

People reviewing resume picture

I know what you’re probably thinking. “What?! How could someone possibly thoroughly review a resume in 10 seconds?” Well, for starters, I didn’t say “thoroughly”. The 10-second resume review is how I determine which candidates are worth a more in-depth look.

It comes down to one rule: I’m looking for reasons they won’t work.

Depending on your market and the appeal of your job, you might get up to 700-1500 responses to your ad. While this might seem awesome at first, it creates an overwhelming time-suck.

To put it in perspective, if you spent 1 minute per resume and you have 500 responses, you will spend 8.33 hours reviewing resumes. That’s a full work day and then some.

Right now, I’m going to give you a quick tutorial on rapid-fire resume scanning, so you can focus the bulk of your time on talking to the right candidates.

Let’s dive in!

5 Tips for Speed-Reading Resumes


1. Check location first.

Do they live in the right area? Is it a reasonable commute? I keep Google maps open so I can easily plug in the town name if I’m not familiar with it.

2. Read over their titles.

Are the titles in line with the position I’m looking for? If I’m looking for a Territory Sales Rep and they’ve been a Sales Manager for the past 5 years, I will likely move on – unless it’s clear by their resume that they don’t have direct reports. Titles and responsibilities vary greatly from company to company, be sure to verify your assumption by quickly scanning their achievements in the position.

3. Check their channels or customer base.

Is their experience in the right channel? Are they wholesale, while I’m a retailer?

4. Skip down to read successes.

Is their resume basically a copy and paste from their job description? Or is it full of quantifiable examples of their success? I want to know someone knows their numbers and can “prove” their successes – especially if they’re heading for a sales position.

5. Is their resume visually appealing?

It might sound a bit snobby, but your resume is supposed to be a written example of you putting “your best foot forward.” If it’s a mess or disorganized, I tend to assume that the candidate won’t be too concerned with the quality of work they do for me.

Pro tip: That being said – if a mess of a resume has the right stuff – I will definitely talk to them!

You might be wondering, what about their objective or summary? Frankly, I don’t care about that part of the resume at all at this point. I use the objective more often to rule people out than in. Many people forget to adjust their objective or list the wrong company name or title. This doesn’t indicate a strong attention to detail, or strong interest in the position to me. The summary is often too wordy – I am not going to read a paragraph before I know if you have the right experience.

To sum it all up…

Obviously, this is the 30,000-foot view of the resume. Once I’ve narrowed it down to the 10-20% of applicants that actually fit the criteria, I examine their credentials closely before I contact them. Because frankly, I prefer to spend my time talking to people that have a more than reasonable chance of being a fit.



Rikka Brandon is the author of the best-selling book Hire Power: Everything Entrepreneurs Need To Know To Hire Awesome People. She’s the creator of the Hire Power Program, an online program designed to help small businesses build a rock-solid recruiting strategy and stop settling when they hire. She’s the Founder of and  Building Gurus. Rikka is the go-to girl for growth-minded entrepreneurs and forward-thinking business leaders and is considered as the USA’s Top Hiring Expert for Small Businesses.