How an employer evaluates a resume

Earlier one portal conducted a study among recruiters. The main goal was to understand what recruiters are looking at on a resume and how much time they spend. The study used the technology of mouse tracking – this is when the statistics of the movement of the cursor across the screen are analyzed.
The results are as follows:

  • Personal information – up to 3 sec.
  • Post Title – 1 sec
  • Career goals – up to 5-8 sec.
  • Key information – up to 12-15 seconds
  • Last or current place of work – 15-17 sec.
  • Previous place of work – 8-12 sec.
  • Earlier place of work – 5-8 sec.
  • The fourth-place of work and further – 3-6 seconds.
  • Education – up to 3-5 sec.
  • Languages ​​- 3-5 sec.
  • Courses, training, certificates – 5-8 sec.
  • Additional information – 7-10 sec.

Another study found that on average recruiters spend 85 seconds on the initial acquaintance with a resume. They can then either close it permanently or save it and review it more closely later.

Below we will explain in more detail what the employer is looking at in the resume.

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What a recruiter looks for in a resume


At first glance, a recruiter notices the design and layout of the resume. If the text is not divided into blocks and sections but looks like a single canvas, it is more difficult to read. It’s great when HR can quickly go over a resume and look at the data they need, rather than looking for information in the text.

In 2017 Glassdoor asked recruiters and HR to share how they view resumes. Some recruiters spoke confidently about the importance of paperwork:

“When I go through a resume, the first thing I notice is how well structured and formatted it is. If I can’t read the resume quickly, most likely I will not look at it for a long time “, – Jamie Hichens, Senior Talent Acquisition Manager.

“We don’t have much time to go over a resume in detail. The easier it is to read and view your resume, the better. ”- Karen White, Senior Recruiter.

Of course, the main thing is the content, but the design is something that recruiters also pay attention to in the resume.

Job Matching

The main task of a recruiter is to find a candidate that fits the requirements for the position. It is on the candidate’s compliance with the position that the HR specialist pays attention to in the resume. Usually, a recruiter looks for keywords or phrases that he himself used when writing a vacancy – this is a hint for you to write a resume.

We advise you not to mindlessly apply for all vacancies in the hope that at least one option will shoot. An individual approach is always cooler. Edit your resume for each vacancy and the recruiter will see that for you their company is not one of the hundreds of others.

Achievements and Results

Instead of listing your day-to-day responsibilities at work, write on your resume about your job accomplishments:

  • the number of attracted clients or partners,
  • the number of transactions,
  • number of training or presentations conducted
  • results of running advertising campaigns or proposed initiatives
  • views of your articles or the time frame in which you launched the application.

The employer pays special attention to the results of work in the resume. From them, he can understand how you will be useful to the business. Recruiters interviewed by Glassdoor confirm this:

“I am looking [in the resume] for the necessary skills that fit the role. I love seeing concrete examples of real work and completed projects. ”- Jamie Hichens, Senior Talent Development Manager.

“Statistics or summaries of quantitative performance are key information. I also pay attention to the activity during my student years. ”- James Parker, Talent Acquisition Specialist.

Career path

Of course, recruiters definitely pay attention to work experience in their resume. Several points play an important role here: the length of stay at each job, the correspondence between the experience of the current vacancy and the scope of activities of past companies.

Too short-term work makes you think about the reasons: you did not cope with the tasks, we’re unable to join the team, or ran away from the first difficulties? Of course, the reasons can be harmless, but the recruiter does not know about them. Consider whether to include information about two weeks of work experience, if it is not an internship or internship.

“If you have changed 6 jobs in the last 4 years, you are not suitable for us. Perhaps for frequent change of position was a good reason, but such summaries I watch only once, and it takes me 3-5 seconds », – Brad Remillard, an employment specialist, writer and speaker.

Also, the HR specialist pays attention to the resume with who you worked with. If the previous position is similar to the vacancy – well, if not – the recruiter will think about how you will do the job.

For some companies, it is important that their employees understand a specific area. For example, so that the sales manager previously worked in the sales of mobile advertising. The recruiter will also look at this in the resume.

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What the recruiter doesn’t pay attention to in the resume

If a recruiter is interested in a candidate, he will study all sections of the resume, but certainly not on the first look. Here’s what the recruiter doesn’t pay attention to when they first meet your candidacy:

Jobs too early

We are talking about experienced candidates who have replaced 4-5-6 companies. Most often, recruiters pay attention to the current place of work and 2 past ones in the resume.


When you first look at it, the recruiter will definitely not pay much attention to the description of your hobbies.


Most likely, the recruiter will see a mention of a university or college and switch to other information. Therefore, it is not necessary to paint the full name of the department and faculty – you can limit yourself to one thing so that it is clear in what area you received your education.

Second and third pages of the resume

Experienced candidates often sin with super voluminous resumes of 2, 3 and even 4 pages! We do not recommend compiling such a bulky CV, but in any case, we warn you that the first time the recruiter will not study all the pages.

The opinion of experts and recruiters

We asked several recruiting experts to share their views and what recruiters look for on their resumes.

«Look no job, but in the first person, that best fits the job profile. The resume should be clear, visually pleasing and tidy and, of course, free from grammatical errors. Try to describe your experience in a systematic way: what were the most interesting tasks you did and what you managed to achieve, what special programs you worked with. Remember to use a neutral photo.

If you are not yet able to boast of great achievements at work and are just starting your career, it is a good option for you to tell more about your personal qualities and hobbies. Do not underestimate the courses and training that provide a theoretical basis; it is to them that many employers pay attention to.

If we talk about what we do not pay attention to in the summary, then, in my opinion, there are no such points. The resume is assessed from general to specific, the main thing is to maintain a balance. If you write only about a hobby in your resume, most likely it will not be of interest to the employer, but an absolutely dry resume, similar to a job description, will rather scare away a potential employer “, – Polina Rusakova, HR Director, BestDoctor.

“As a rule, recruiters pay attention to“ indicator words ”(first of all). This is often associated with high resume flow and overall workload. Indicator words are conditional coincidences with what is written in the vacancy or is in the head of the recruiter. Therefore, you should always read the vacancy very carefully. Yes, sometimes a resume can be “customized” for a specific vacancy. This does not mean lying or making up, it means using the same terminology and style that is in the vacancy. A good recruiter, of course, looks at everything and reads everything carefully, but such an opportunity is not always available, this must be taken into account.

In general, there are some simple rules that I, as a recruiter, and I, as a career consultant, recommend the following:

1. Informativeness. A lot of text doesn’t mean a lot of information. You need to write on the case and better with specific numbers and indicators. For the creative profession, a portfolio serves this purpose.

2. Chronology. Starting from the last place of work/study. School and kindergarten do not need to be mentioned.

3. Identity. A specific resume must match a specific vacancy. There should be a basic resume, but there is no “for all occasions” resume. If you want your resume to be noticed, it should be interesting not so much for you as for the recruiter who will read it. Attempts to present everything at once, more often than not, lead nowhere.

4. Laconicism. Almost the same as item 1. The resume should not be 10 pages long. 2 pages is optimal.

5. The photo is always businesslike. Definitely not a selfie. A business selfie is also a bad option.

6. You should also pay attention to the email address that you provide.

Recently, the fashion has spread to infographics in resumes, as well as so-called “creative” resumes. Like, such a resume will attract the attention of a recruiter as a bright spot. Perhaps that will attract. But if it is inconvenient for a recruiter to read it and/or if such a resume does not correspond to the “indicators”, it will most likely end up in the basket “, – Olga Kozlova, HR expert with over 15 years of experience, career consultant, senior recruiter.

“The recruiter evaluates the entire resume because this creates a holistic image of the candidate. If we talk about, then the recruiter receives a response in the preview mode and does not see the entire resume. Therefore, the conclusion – to go inside or not, he takes on the basis of analysis:

  • Photo (directly affects the open rate of a resume, with a photo – 30% more often)
  • Target position (indicated in the singular and corresponds to the experience, achievements, skills, education described in the resume. Mandatory correspondence between the CSD, the current position and the vacancy to which we are applying)
  • Payment level (we indicate if we know what we want, we checked the cost through the analysis of vacancies and reviews; we do not indicate if we “feel the market”)
  • Previous companies (branded or not, whether the market/product matches the employer)
  • Current position (does it match the vacancy to which we are sending the resume)
  • Period of work (short-term generates mistrust)
  • Outcomes (process or result oriented)
  • Descriptions of tasks (is there any experience necessary to cover the “pains” of the employer)
  • Having a cover letter, especially if the company has asked for it in the job description.

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If a recruiter evaluates a full resume form or a candidate submits a resume to the company directly, an assessment of the following factors is added:

  • The length of the resume (if it is too large and you think that all the information is important, the question arises about your structuredness and ability to prioritize)
  • Form (unambiguously recruiters are against creative forms that additional questions to content rather than subtract them)
  • Additional education (do you improve your level on a regular basis?)
  • Personal information (this will allow the employer to “identify” you as theirs)
  • Keywords (based on which the recruiter is looking for a suitable candidate)
  • Typos/mistakes, especially in headlines, especially in positions that imply attentiveness) “, – Alexandra Imaeva, head of HR projects and speaker of career events.

“1. Are their keywords in the vacancy that match the vacancy. After all, the recruiter has only 6 seconds to include you in a long read.

2. Hobbies are important, you can show what kind of person you are. Just don’t get carried away.

3. Photo – it increases the likelihood that your resume will be opened.

4. The most important thing is experience, knowledge and skills. And also – what are you unique about and why you should call? “

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