How Long Employers Spend Looking at Your Resume – And What to do About It
There are many rumors on the internet about how little time recruiters spend reviewing any individual resume. A quantitative eye tracking study from The Ladders has determined that recruiters spend only 6 seconds reviewing a resume.
Recruiters spend 80% of their six-second scan looking at these 4 areas:
Below is the heat map from the study. On the left is a poorly formatted resume (text heavy, paragraphs rather than bullets and vague headers) and on the right is a professionally formatted resume:
How can you get the most out of your 6 seconds?
Format your resume like the one on the right.
Put your prime real estate to work for you.
Recruiters spend lots of time at the top of your resume looking at your name and most recent position. We recommend that you add your personal brand between those two pieces of information (right below your name and above your current position). Your personal brand might be something like, “Building the infrastructure of tomorrow using today’s green technology”, or “Selling by winning trust” – whatever expresses your unique point of view and set of skills. A personal brand humanizes you and sticks in an employer’s mind, helping to set you apart from the rest of the pile of paper they will be reviewing.
The best advice? If you can, don’t rest your hopes on 6 seconds of resume review. Try to set up a coffee date or conversation with a recruiter, hiring manager, or employee at the company. 7 out of 10 employers say that they give more weight to resumes that come from a referral. Going the extra step to come recommended might get your resume the 5 minutes of review you are hoping for.
Read the full study by The Ladders here.