The Art of Project Management: Expert advice from experienced project managers in Silicon Valley, and around the world

Your Resume Has 6 Seconds To Live

How much time do recruiters or hiring managers spend reviewing your resume, on average?

Studies have previously come out with results of 4-5 minutes, when you ask hiring managers how much time they spend.

That’s self-report data. Is it reality?

It’s BS

A recent eye-tracking study found something a bit different.

That’s right.

Especially when there are tons of candidates, you’d better not be under the delusion that the fine points of your work experience buried deep in a paragraph are going to be noticed. They are not.

Formatting Matters

This is the reason why formatting matters.

If this blog post were one big paragraph with no headings or white space, nothing to break it up, would you be reading this? No!

Check out this composite eye-tracking heat map from the report and notice:

  1. Attention shifts from section to section when clear indicators exist.
  2. Easily seen headings guide viewers down the page.
  3. Long blocks of text cause fatigue, with the result of viewers giving up before the end.
  4. The shorter, the better. A 1-page resume is better than a 2-page resume.

This also really means that spending precious space in your resume for playing bulls*** bingo probably isn’t a great idea, eh?

How well does your resume stack up?


About the Author

Josh helps new and aspiring project managers reach their career goals. He has been managing projects in Computing, Financial Services, Telecommunications, and Aerospace for over a decade. Josh’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Project Management and he is PMP certified. The best method for tapping into Josh’s knowledge and experience is his training for project management, where Josh shares his best practices for how to get ahead in your project management career and his best practices in specific project management processes.
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One Response to “Your Resume Has 6 Seconds To Live”

  1. Very interesting post, Josh. In my career, I have been both a college recruiter and a hiring manager for a large corporation. I can tell you that when I had a large stack of resumes in front of me for one or two positions, and little time to find a decent few candidates, I spent even less than 6 seconds on those that did not catch my eye in some way. Thanks for a great article.

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