How a Recruiter Reviews Your Resume

Research has shown a recruiter initially spends 6-8 seconds looking at your resume. And while some will say it is closer to a minute, either way, you don’t have much time to get a recruiter’s attention.

Why? Why do they spend so little on a document you have spent hours perfecting? Well, the average corporate recruiter works on 15-25 open jobs at any given time depending on the seniority & complexity of the jobs.  In the current economic environment, it is not unusual for a recruiter to receive 300-500+ resumes PER JOB.  So at any given time, a recruiter could have up to 12,500 resumes to review!  And for a campus recruiter (someone dedicated to hiring for internships, rotational programs, & new grad programs), these numbers can be much higher.

So what are they looking at?  How do they digest your resume in less than 60 seconds?

At first glance, they are scanning for 3 things:

  1. Where do you go to school? (i.e. is it a competitive university for their type of company/position)
  2. What are you studying (major, minor) & is it relevant to the job you applied for?
  3. GPA.  Most will say they require a min of a 3.0, but in reality, they are often screening candidates out at a higher level based on the applicant pool

Once past this first scan (sometimes conducted by AI for the black & white questions posed above), you have 30-60 seconds to capture enough interest to make them want to talk to you.  In this scan, they are looking at:

  • Current/Previous work/internship experience.  Is it industry related to what I am recruiting for?  This is less important for Freshman/Sophomores & more important for Juniors/Seniors.
  • Clubs/Sports/Activities.  Can you multi-task?  Get good grades AND be active on campus?
  • Leadership experience in any of the above.  Do you go above & beyond the average student.
  • Languages spoken (where applicable)                                                                                                  

They accomplish #4-7 by scanning down the left side navigation of your resume, likely reading only the first few words or phrase of each bullet point.  Thus, any important data, concepts, or details should go at the BEGINNING of each bullet point!  A hiring manager/person interviewing you will eventually read the full bullet point & your full resume, but at this volume, you need to make it easy for the recruiter to recognize why you are a fit for this position so you have the opportunity to move you forward in the process.  

Does this all make you think you’d like to revamp your resume? Make an appointment with a Career Advisor in the Career Center to have your resume reviewed.                                                                                     

By Kathy Spillane
Kathy Spillane Assistant Director, Business & Finance