Not much. I’m sorry to be so harsh, but it’s true. Recruiters don’t really spend much time looking through your resume.
Instead of focusing on every little word, focus more on the layout. The information should be very cleanly presented, that should make it very scannable.
It’s important to understand that recruiters and hiring managers receive hundreds of resumes, so there’s no way they could spend that much time on them, even if they wanted to.
The trick is understanding how to create a good resume that is easy to read, clean, and simple.
In 2012, a very cool study was done to measure the eye tracking movements of recruiters as they looked at resumes.
The study was done over 10 weeks, and looked at all kinds of things, like where recruiters looked, how long they spent looking in certain areas, did they check online profiles, etc..
The study found that recruiters spend a total of six seconds looking at your resume, that’s it.
The resumes that were rated to be the best had less information, less clutter, and were formatted better. While this should be obvious to most people reading this, now we have some science to back this up.
The study found that in the six seconds that recruiters scan your resume, this is what they look at:
- Candidate’s name
- Current and previous job title and company
- Start and end dates for current and previous positions
It’s kind of sad to be honest, because it shows that most of the resume is pretty much filler text, but now for anyone reading this, you know what actually matters.
Let’s go through these in a bit more detail to understand why they’re important.
1. Candidate’s Name
This is too bad, and a real reason why HR should be more data-driven.
Studies have shown that people with ’white’ or ‘domestic’ names get more interest from employers than those with ‘black’ or ‘foreign’ names.
There’s not much you can do here, but again, make sure that your name is front and center.
Under your name it usually has your mailing address. This is an important point, because if you live too far, then chances are commute might come up in the salary negotiation, which recruiters want to avoid.
2. Current And Previous Job Title And Company
Again, this is somewhat unfortunate, since in six seconds, chances are they’ll want to recognize the company name. If they’ve never heard of the company before, it’s not the end of the word, but it’s not the greatest thing either.
What you can do, is stretch the truth a little on the job title. I’m sure we’ve all done this before. A good piece of advice is to match the titles on your resumes to titles they have in their company.
It’s subtle, but again, it’s all about psychology in that six seconds.
If they’re looking for a Director of Marketing, and your title at your last job was Marketing Manager, feel free to change it to Director of Marketing.
3. Start And End Dates
You can’t really lie here, but you can use your achievements to justify a short time at a company. For example, if you were at a company for only 4 months, but in that time, you somehow doubled traffic to their Facebook page, that could be good for you.
Again, make sure they’re very clear to read and understand. It’s a small tip, but instead of writing “10/12”, write the actual month name. It’s easier to scan quickly.
This is something I talk about a lot, I wish employers and hiring managers wouldn’t worry so much about education.
For example, the most talented software developers that I know are all self-taught and have never gone to University.
A great piece of advice that I have for everyone reading this, is use a template.
Google the term “google resume templates”, and the first result you see should be from Google Docs. The one I personally use is the first one, called “Resume – Standard”.
Here is a link to the template. All you have to do is click “Use this template” in the top left corner, and it will open as a Google doc ready for you to start editing. It’s clean, it’s simple, and uses bullet points to display the information.
I really liked this one.