Revising Your Resume? Check Out Where Recruiters Spend Their Six Seconds of Review

Instead of agonizing over the fonts on your resume or other visuals like how big to make the margins, keep this statistic in mind.

According to a survey conducted by TheLadders, most recruiters spend only six seconds reviewing your resume. That’s worth repeating — six tiny seconds! One thousand one, one thousand two, see we’re almost there ourselves…

They’re not alone with their results. As pointed out by ERE, BeHiring mentioned the average time is five to seven seconds. Although the time is certainly succinct, each second counts.

Here’s where their eyeballs are spending the most time: They scan four job areas for four seconds such as titles, employers, start and end dates (and any possible gaps) and education. If the four areas are difficult to navigate or have typos, it could be game over right then and there. In addition, if the structure is not user-friendly and the order is out of sync for some reason, the recruiter is already moving onto the next resume.

As for the remaining two seconds, they’re typically scanning the rest of the information on the CV such as relevant certifications and advanced degrees.

The BeHiring survey also concluded only 17 percent of recruiters actually read cover letters. Think of it this way: If there’s a stack (and by that we mean potentially hundreds of resumes to review online), tacking on time to open cover letters and actually read them adds additional time.

So, now that we know this reality, what should we do with this information, you ask? Well, keeping in mind some recruiters may actually take less time to scan a resume — oh, say two or three seconds — it’s important to make the top four job areas mentioned above sparkle. 

Make sure they’re on point and releveant to the job you’re pursuing. Knowledge is power and thinking like a recruiter can hopefully give you an advantage over others who don’t. Why should they hire you? What makes you stand out? What would give them reason to pause? Make every single second count.

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