Study Finds Recruiters Scan Resumes in 6 Seconds. Here’s What They Look For.

recruiters scan resumeEver wish you could read recruiters’ minds to know exactly what they look for (and at) on your resume? Now you may have a little insight! A study by The Ladders career service tracked recruiters’ eye movements across resumes. The study noted which items captured recruiters’ attentions, how long they spent viewing each item, and what content was overlooked.

These are some findings:

Recruiters spent only 6 seconds reviewing each resume.

Recruiters spent almost 80% of their time on the following data points.

  • Name
  • Current title / company
  • Previous title / company
  • Previous position start and end dates
  • Current position start and end dates
  • Education

Beyond these data points, recruiters scanned for keywords to match the open position.

What does that mean for job seekers who want to make the best impression possible in 6 seconds?

  1. Pair down clutter. Have a strong, clean layout with plenty of white space.
  2. Highlight the information above – the items recruiters spend 80% of their time looking at (according to this survey).
  3. By the same token, if there’s something you consider crucial to your story that isn’t on the list of items recruiters focus on – place it clearly, prominently, concisely, and uncluttered on your resume so it begs to be seen.
  4. Finally – ask for help with your resume from someone who is good at resumes.

This is only one study and many recruiters spend more than 6 seconds examining your credentials. However, the findings are still great insight. They help you give yourself the best possible advantage in a worst case scenario.

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