What are HR professionals saying about resumes and cover letters?

hr asking about resume

So what are HR professionals saying about resumes and cover letters? The Professional Association of Resume Writers (PARW) traditionally invite a group of Human Resource (HR) professionals to sit as a panel to answer questions for professional resume writers at their annual convention. The 2001 convention was held in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The panel consisted of Fred McCoy, Director of Special Projects with Jabil Circuit, Inc.; Dick Park, VP and Senior Trust Administrative Officer with Northern Trust Bank; and Leonard Stone, Executive Director of the Florida Orchestra.

Following is some of the feedback given. *Note: The following are outtakes from the original statements. They are accurate, but not complete.

A well-written resume

Dick: “On measuring the credentials of one candidate over another, the resume helps in assessing strengths.”

Leonard: “I’d like to see something that sings or dances off the paper. What makes you different?”

Choosing candidates

Fred: “I am looking for someone who has progressed either within the company or in the industry. If I have to read 100 resumes a day, I want to be able to find the information I need.”


Fred: “The majority of resumes come in electronically. I find them ‘more acceptable’ than print resumes. The resume comes into the HR department and then is forwarded to the hiring manager. I like attachments that include the first two or three lines in the body of the email message. That way, if I’m not interested, I toss it.”

Leonard: “In our small organization, hiring starts with the department head, not HR. Half of the resumes we get are written and half are electronic. From a personal view, I’m impressed when I can hold it in my hand. I even notice the quality of paper.”

Dick: “I don’t have a preference for format. What I’m looking for is a succinct description of someone’s experience and how they may fit our needs. I look at the number of jobs in relations to career length—i.e., six jobs in four years. Ideally, there is some progression in responsibility over time. If you talk about results on the resume, you can be sure we will talk about it in the interview.”

Pet Peeves

Leonard: “Boilerplate documents—I am one of 1500 people who are getting this resume.”

Fred: “Cover letters addressed to ‘Dear Hiring Manager’ and inappropriate styles—i.e., flowered paper for a high-tech company.”

Dick: “Generic resumes. If there are a list of requirements in the ad, I’m looking for a resume that gives an answer to the ad.”

Final Thoughts on What are HR professionals saying about resumes and cover letters?

Leonard: “I always believe if I wanted the position, I would do what I could to get that position. Find out what it is about the job that needs to be done and what it is about you that makes you the best candidate for the job. Then marry those competencies to the needs of the position.”

Dick: “The cover letter and resume together are a vehicle that highlights who an individual is a fit for a particular job.”

Fred: “In an interview, personality and energy are important. The resume is the basic document we work from.”

Now you know What are HR professionals saying about resumes and cover letters?

What are HR professionals saying about resumes and cover letters?

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