A Comprehensive Guide to Professional Resume Review

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 5, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

The resume is a brief document, usually not exceeding two pages, which candidates submit when applying for a job. Most hiring managers spend limited time on each resume, making it necessary to ensure your resume is excellent. Understanding what a resume review is can help you create and submit better resumes when applying for jobs. In this article, we discuss what reviewing a resume is, outline how to review your resume yourself, highlight how to use professional resume reviewers, and explore the benefits of reviewing your resume.

What is a resume review?

A resume review is a process of checking through a resume to determine areas of improvement. Reviewing a resume aims to improve the quality of your resume and increase your chances of application success. As you're applying for a job, it's important you review your resume with the same scrutiny as a hiring manager. If it appears challenging, you may consider using a professional review service or a trusted colleague with professional experience.

Reviewing a resume is a thorough process that requires attention to detail and knowledge of modern industry practices. While reviewing a resume, it's essential you edit all parts to align with the company's application rules and other resumes' best practices. Here are some of the areas you or an external reviewer may consider when reviewing a resume:

  • Ensuring there are no spelling or grammatical errors by proofreading thoroughly.

  • Checking the resume length to ensure it's suitable for your career level.

  • Reviewing the content of the resume to ensure it's up to standard.

  • Checking that the work experience and achievements use measurable terms to quantify the impact.

  • Ensuring the resume has the right keywords and formatting to parse the company's application tracking system.

  • Formatting the resume to ensure it appears more professional and organized.

How to review your resume by yourself

If you're unable to afford a professional review service, or you have limited time, here are some guidelines you can follow to review your resume by yourself:

1. First impression

These guidelines help you determine the first aspects the hiring manager may consider after seeing your resume. They include:

  • Check if the resume appears original or like it's from a template.

  • Ensure the resume looks easy to read through and has clear demarcations between each section.

  • Assess the resume to ensure it looks professional.

  • Check for a well-written professional summary that effectively highlights your qualifications.

  • Ensure the resume is the right length for your career level.

Related: How to Write a Resume

2. Formatting and appearance

These guidelines help you evaluate the appearance of your resume more thoroughly. They include:

  • Ensure the resume uses professional font size and style, based on your career level, role, and industry.

  • Include formatting options like bullet points, italics, and bold fonts to direct the reader's attention to relevant details.

  • Make sure there's sufficient white space between your sections and lines.

  • Confirm the resume uses uniform margins on all sides.

  • Check for consistency in formatting style.

  • Ensure you labelled all sections correctly and separated them into sections.

3. Relevance

These guidelines relate to how relevant the resume is to the role and your career goals. Some of these guidelines include:

  • Ensure the resume demonstrates how your skills and qualifications are relevant to the company's needs.

  • Make sure you include relevant keywords from the job description.

  • Remove all personal details like marital status, age, or gender that are irrelevant to the application.

  • Ensure you tailor the resume to the specific role you're applying for in the company.

  • Review your sections to ensure you listed all your qualifications in reverse chronological order.

  • Ensure you prioritized your most relevant and impressive qualifications.

4. Accomplishments

These guidelines relate to how effectively you highlighted your work-related achievements. Here are some of the guidelines:

  • Ensure you quantify your achievements using measurable terms like figures, averages, and percentages.

  • Include action verbs to make your resume sound more confident.

  • Review your work experience section to ensure your achievements are distinct from your duties.

  • Make sure you include enough workplace achievements on your resume.

Related: What to Put in a Resume

5. Writing style

These guidelines relate to the tone of your resume. They include:

  • Ensure you avoid first-person pronouns like my, me, and I.

  • Check your tone to ascertain if it's formal and professional enough.

  • Review your language to ensure it's appropriate for the employer's culture.

  • Evaluate your resume to eliminate any syntax or spelling errors.

How to use a professional reviewer

Here are some steps you can follow to use a professional reviewer:

1. Recognize what they do

Resume reviewers are professionals who have the experience and knowledge of creating effective resumes. Examples of professional reviewers include:

  • Resume writers: These are professionals who specialize in resumes and cover letters. They research the latest industry standards to create effective resumes.

  • Career coach: Career coaches specialize in training people to attain their career goals. Their role includes reviewing your resume and other application efforts to help you succeed.

  • Former HR professional: Former HR personnel are usually familiar with relevant industry standards. They can leverage this knowledge to provide an effective review.

  • Professional mentor: A mentor is a colleague with more experience than you who offers career guidance and support. As mentors are senior colleagues, they may know helpful tips to use in writing your resume.

  • Online review sites: Several websites have resume writers and built-in ATS scanners to optimize your resume. These sites may require you to pay a fee to get a good review.

2. Write your resume

To review a resume, it's necessary you write one first. In addition, it's important you dedicate adequate effort into writing it, although you're submitting it for a review. Writing the resume properly ensures the reviewer has more material to use in creating the final copy.

Related: What Is the Right Resume Length?

3. Choose your resume reviewer

You can consider different factors to decide which reviewer is ideal for you. For example, you can consider your finances, personal connections, and the time before the application is due. Candidates who can afford it may opt for professional reviewers as they're usually more thorough.

3. Submit your resume and relevant information

Once you're ready, submit your resume and any relevant information the reviewer may need. For example, you can provide them with the job description and a list of your qualifications. The more information you give the reviewer, the more leeway they have when creating an impressive resume.

Benefits of reviewing a resume

Here are some of the benefits of reviewing a resume:

Pass applicant tracking systems (ATS)

An applicant tracking system is a recruitment software that companies use to automate their hiring process. This software has many uses, including sharing job postings, sorting candidate information, and sending automated emails. In addition, companies use ATS to screen candidates who don't meet their requirements. They do this by programming the software with certain keywords they expect in an ideal resume. Unfortunately, it can be hard for candidates to understand all ATS requirements, as they vary according to the company. In such cases, using professional reviewers is beneficial, as they're usually familiar with ATS standards.

Have better content

Submitting your resume for a review also ensures you have better content. Most professional resume reviewers know what an effective resume looks like across various industries. Combining that knowledge with the job description, they can create a resume with excellent content. For example, a professional resume reviewer is likely to rewrite your work experience section to include more details. They are likely to quantify your achievements and provide supporting examples when necessary. Resume reviewers know which qualifications are best for you to include and prioritize on your resume.

Use a better format

The format of your resume is equally important, as it determines its readability. If you're unsure your resume looks good, you can submit it for a resume review. Most professional resume reviewers are familiar with appropriate formatting standards. They can ensure the design and style of your resume appears professional and organized. For example, they may separate the sections with clear spaces to make the resume easy to scan. Similarly, they may include formal font styles and sizes to make the resume more legible, increasing your chances of success.

Related: The Best Fonts for Your Resume

Align with modern industry standards

Often industry standards for writing a resume change, and it can be hard for candidates to remain informed. In fact, sometimes these changes aren't uniform, so what works somewhere might fail elsewhere. Fortunately, reviewing your resume can solve that. Many professional reviewing services have systems to monitor relevant changes in the industry's recruitment standards. In addition, they may have human resource specialists in various companies who they can call to confirm the applicable rules. This makes it more likely for your resume to conform with the best industry standards when you use a resume reviewer.

Impress the hiring manager

A good review leaves you with a detailed, organized, and error-free resume. Submitting it communicates that you're detail-oriented and have a strong work ethic. Additionally, a good resume highlights your qualifications effectively. Through these, reviewing your resume improves your chances of impressing the hiring manager. As the hiring manager makes the final recruitment decisions, it's important you impress them. Remember to prepare for other stages of the recruitment process after submitting your resume.

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