Vanguard Management

Advice On Resumes

What Do Recruiters Look For In A Resume?

You take the time to create a resume so of course you want to make it the best it can be. If you’ve been sending your resume out then you may already know that the number of calls you get in response is usually very low.

You may be thinking that your skills aren’t up to par. Or perhaps you didn’t put enough information in your resume. Truth is, you may never know exactly why the person looking at your resume rejected it.

No matter whether it’s a human resources person or a recruiter, your resume will be looked at the same way. A research conducted by The Ladders showed that recruiters spend an average of 6 seconds (yes, only 6 seconds) eyeballing your resume before they make the decision to yay or nay you.

You probably thought they spent at least 5 minutes on it, right? Sorry to tell you that this study indicated they only give you 6 seconds to wow them.

You can read the study here.

The study used eye tracking technology to record 30 professional recruiters during a 10 week time period. Below is an example of the heat map of a resume using this eye tracking technology.

eye tracking resume

What Do Recruiters Look At In Your Resume?

So, if all you have is 6 seconds, then what are they most important factors to focus on? According to The Ladders study, recruiters looked at…

  1. Your name
  2. Your current title
  3. The company you are currently working for
  4. When you started working for that company
  5. When you left that company (if you left)
  6. The previous company you worked for
  7. The title you had at that previous company
  8. When you started with that previous company
  9. When you ended with that previous company
  10. Your education
  11. Keywords specific to the job description

An important factor to note here is that the format or layout of the resume also plays an important part. If your resume is clear and concise, easy to follow – then it will be looked at longer. Essentially, you want to make your resume as easy to read as possible.

Avoid using graphics and visuals because they distract the recruiter from reading the important information. The study showed that “visual elements reduced recruiters’ analytics capability and hampered decision-making” which of course, you do not want to do.

This is counter to what we’ve all been taught to do on sites like LinkedIn. We’re all encouraged to use our photos online but when it comes to your resume it seems this logic does not work. According to the study “LinkedIn’s profiles had higher levels of visual complexity, and their ease of use suffered substantially as a result.”

Other Factors Recruiters May Look At On Your Resume

The Ladders study did not go into greater detail on what recruiters and human resources staff look for on resumes but our experience has taught us that the following factors are important and we encourage you to include them in your next resume.

1) Personal Online Footprint
These days adding links to your profiles or works online can give you that unique advantage over other applicants. Include links to your social media accounts, your blog or your website if you have one. If you’ve contributed articles to online sources such as Reddit or StumbleUpon add links to those as well. All of these give the person looking over your resume a picture of who you are.

2) Overall Organization Of Your Words
This factor includes grammar and spelling but also how easy it is to follow. How clearly are you presenting your information?

3) Gaps In Time
If for some reason you have a gap in time between jobs, just explain why. The absence of an explanation is worse so don’t be shy. Taking time off to raise your children or to try your hand at entrepreneurship shows the type of person that you are so use that to your advantage.

4) Training
If the job you are applying for requires specific training (and you have that training) then by all means, make a list!

In conclusion – our recommendatoin is to use a professional resume writer to help you. has a resume builder that you can use. Follow that template and you should end up with an easy to read, informative and effective resume.

If you have any questions about resumes, please don’t hesitate to contact us at VMGT (Vanguard Management Group) at 770-887-5285. We can help you.

Vanguard Management Group
2450 Atlanta Highway - Suite 1203
Cumming, GA 30040