Perry Yeatman, CEO of Perry Yeatman Global Partners

A resume alone may not be enough to land you a job, but a poor one can certainly take you out of the running.

By Perry Yeatman
June 4, 2015

MPW Insider is an online community where the biggest names in business and beyond answer timely career and leadership questions. Today’s answer for:What are three things you look for in a resume? is written by Perry Yeatman, CEO of Perry Yeatman Global Partners.

Not surprisingly, I look for the same things in a resume that I want in an employee. Recruiting employees is always a multi-faceted process and meeting someone “live” is certainly an important part of any hiring decision. While a resume alone isn’t enough to land a job, it can certainly be enough to take someone out of the running. With that in mind, here are the three most important things I look for in a recent graduate’s resume:

Applied intelligence (EQ/IQ)
While I look at the caliber of the schools attended, I look more closely at what and how they did during their time at school. Were they at the top of their class? Were they highly engaged? Did they take full advantage of what was offered and make the most of their opportunities? And in actually crafting their resume, does it appear that they considered my point of view – did they tailor their resume to include accomplishments specifically relevant to the position?

Common sense
I find common sense easier to glean from an interview than a resume. But, even a resume shows some signs. For example, is it obvious to me why this person would apply for this position? Have they logically thought through what to highlight and how to present their information in the best possible way for this opportunity? Have they appeared to make “good” life and educational choices given the options they likely had? And, is the actual writing succinct, achievement and skill oriented, well organized, and my personal pet peeve of all time, free of all typos and grammar errors. My belief is that if the person isn’t able or doesn’t care enough to produce a resume that meets these standards, then they likely aren’t right for any job working with me.

Motivation/initiative/drive
There are lots of ways to describe this and I realize these words mean slightly different things. But, combined, they get at the essence of the third characteristic I always look for. I spot these qualifications in a resume by looking for the following: Did they start something? Lead something? Create something? Do something daring? Stick with something over many years? Show real passion for an issue or an activity? It matters less to me what the issue or activity was and more so that they demonstrated some or all of these traits in their pursuit of it.

Sadly, none of these three characteristics are as common as you might think. But when I do find these things in a recent graduate, I am pretty confident I can teach them anything else they need to know to succeed.

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