When you ask someone to review your resume, make sure you are on the same page in terms of what is to be evaluated. Too often the primary focus ends up being typos and word choices. Yes, we want those things brought to our attention, but a big component of a resume review has to be the flow and value of the content. Aside from basic editing, it’s crucial to get to the bottom of how well you conveyed your intended message and to what degree you convinced the reader you would be an asset to the type of opportunity you seek.

Here are some simple questions to ask those charged with critiquing your resume:

  1. What is your immediate impression of my resume’s visual presentation? How do you feel about the font choices, the spacing of content, ease of at-a-glance navigation, etc?
  2. Based on the content in the top 1/4 of my resume, what is your understanding of what I’m looking to do and what I’ve got to offer that suggests I’m capable and talented?
  3. When reading my resume from start to finish, what areas do you feel yourself starting to lose interest, having a hard time sticking with the information or wanting to skip forward to new information?
  4. What statements on my resume strike you more as my opinion versus a proven fact?
  5. What information on my resume seems important? What information seems insignificant?
  6. What content in the bottom 3/4 of my resume interests you more than the content in the top 1/4 of my resume?
  7. After reading my resume from start to finish, how convinced are you I am qualified and potentially a good fit for the type of opportunity I’ve indicated I’m chasing? What information present makes the best case? What type of information (skills, experience, involvement) doesn’t appear to be present that a person hiring for this type of role might come to expect?
  8. What words did you spot on my resume that would likely be keywords a recruiter would use to search the resumes of those applying for this type of work? What keywords can you think of that aren’t on my resume, but should be?

There are certainly more angles you can cover. These questions will get your critique started on the right foot. Keep in mind, the value of the answers you get depends heavily on who you’ve asked to review your resume. The goal should be to solicit help from those likely to be in step with the types of decision makers who will be receiving your resume.


Lisa joined the Michigan State University Alumni Association as Director of Alumni Career & Business Services on May 1, 2012. Her primary focus is to develop effective networking and resource channels for experienced alumni interested in professional development and job search strategy assistance. Additionally, Lisa works directly with corporate, education, foundation and government partners seeking to attract qualified talent, retain and develop good employees, and establish collaborative relationships in line with their established goals and objectives.


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