What Recruiters See When They Read Your Resume

by HR Team on May 4, 2012

resume writing tipsWhen it comes to job seeking, we can’t overstate the importance of having a concise, comprehensive resume that delivers an effective first impression. It’s tough to achieve. Not only do you have limited real estate on which to showcase your professional history, but you don’t have much time, either. Research from The Ladders shows that, on average, recruiters spend six seconds reviewing a resume before they decide if a candidate moves to the next stage in the hiring process.

Six seconds is an incredibly short amount of time — so which areas of the resume draw the most attention? The Ladders published two resumes with heat maps of recruiters’ eye movements. As you can see below, the one on the right drew more attention because of the more clearly defined layout:

What recruiters see when they look at resumes

As shown by the heat map activity, the most often looked-at areas of your resume include your name, current title and company, current position start and end dates, previous title and company, previous position start and end dates, and education.

When you’re reviewing your resume, pay special attention to the areas mentioned above. Are they clear, easy to read and prominently placed on the document? Make sure each section of your resume is clearly labeled — this helps the recruiter easily identify the most critical information.

“Recruiters tend to follow a consistent visual path when reviewing both resumes and online profiles, so an organized layout is crucial,” according to The Ladders.

Although the heat map shows that the recruiter spent less time on areas such as skills and job descriptions, don’t discount other areas of your resume. Each recruiter is different and will use his or her own review process when making an initial decision regarding job candidates. By submitting a clear, comprehensive document, you’ll improve your chances of landing a job interview at which you’ll have (hopefully) more than six seconds to make a second impression!

Will you be making any changes to your resume as a result of The Ladders’ research and corresponding heat map?

Image by Laineys Repertoire via Creative Commons

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