Identifying top talent: 5 tips on what to look out for in a resume

As recruiters, you know this situation far too well; facing tonnes and tonnes of applications for every job ads, particularly for those most-wanted positions in top organisations. Having a large number of applicants gives you a higher chance of hiring the talent you want, however, evaluating resume after resume is exhausting and time consuming, especially if you don’t exactly know what you are looking for.

So, what can you do to reduce the time needed in screening through those piles of resume? Below are 5 tips in what to look out for in a resume:

Create a checklist

You need to know the required skills and abilities of the open position. Discuss this with the department’s supervisor/hiring manager. Also consider the work culture of your organisation. Always start by creating a checklist of requirements. For example, a five-year experience requirement or a mandatory ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) license for accounting jobs will help you weed out a number of unqualified resumes right away.

Passion for learning

Top talents are not just good on paper; they are often self-motivated and have a passion for learning. These are the ones who would continuously seek to progress and improve themselves. Look out for candidates who are pursuing further education or in the midst of taking a professional certificate relevant to their industry, or have participated in any form of volunteering work and mentally challenging activities. Also check to see if the resume displays any good traits of the candidate, such as willing to go above and beyond what his or her initial job requires.


Your ideal candidate should be professional and make a good impression from the very beginning. He or she should display a sense of responsibility in making sure their resumes are free from formatting errors and without grammatical and spelling mistakes. A well-designed, attention-to-detail resume shows the time, effort and commitment given by the candidate in applying for the said position.

Tailored resume

Apart from being error-free, look for talents who actually spend time and effort tailoring their resumes to address the specific skills as stated in your job descriptions. Another good sign is if the resume comes attached with a tailored cover letter. This demonstrates how serious the candidate is towards applying for the said position rather than submitting a general resume/cover letter that he or she sends out to multiple employers and jobs at the same time.

Growth & accomplishments

Top talents should ideally display a certain degree of proactive growth in their career progression. For example, they may have been promoted in their previous work experience from a junior position to a senior role. In addition, they should also possess some relevant accomplishments. Ensure that these notable accomplishments are relevant to the job position as well. For example, an award for creativity would be more suitable for a marketing position than an analyst role.

In short, you’ll want to avoid spending time on those general bunch, applicants who just want or need “a job”. Your aim is to recruit the best candidate, people who are self-motivated and possess not just the skills, but the right work attitude. Identifying top talent through a pile of resume is not an easy task in today’s highly competitive recruitment job market but it can be done efficiently simply by implementing some of these few simple tips.



Source: Resume Boutique (images)