Unless you are able to bypass the Applicant Tracking System, or ATS, an employer will never even see your resume. An ATS is a system designed to sort and filter candidates based on qualifications for a position that are provided in resumes and cover letters. These systems make the hiring process more manageable for employers as they get hundreds of resumes per day by sorting through the ones that contain very little relevant information for the job. These systems make it imperative to customize your resume for each job and utilize critical keywords as they pertain to the job.
How much time does the average job recruiter spend on a resume?
According to a study conducted by Ladders the average job recruiter only spends an average of 7.4 seconds on each resume. This number has seen an increase from a mere 6 seconds from studies conducted in 2012. While it is encouraging to see an increase in the time recruiters spend on applications, it begs the question, what has changed since 2012 that has caused the increase? The study in 2012 was conducted during a time of recession, pressuring recruiters to speed up their selection process. The 1.4 second increase actually reflects how company’s today are able to select more qualified candidates for certain positions as they have more time to scan resumes. With the increase in competition and the limited time recruiters sift through almost identical resumes everyday, which is why yours needs to stand out among the rest.
What do recruiters look for in an application?
Each job is different and submitting an identical copy of the same resume to multiple companies will decrease the likelihood of being called in for an interview. As stated above, Employers today are looking for customization of the resume and cover letter so that it clearly aligns with the job you are applying for. Since recruiters do not spend much time on any one application it is important that the necessary information displaying your qualifications is at the foreground of your resume. The information in your resume should be concise and use effective communication; with the resume itself only being about a page long. Resumes with too much useless information will be filtered out by the Applicant Tracking System so that employers don’t have to skim through information that is useless for the job. Recruiters will also be looking at how you present yourself in your resume. A resume should always present oneself as professional, and it is best to avoid the use of jargon.
When is the best time to submit a resume?
While many people don’t think about the specific time they should submit their resumes, there are clear patterns as to when people tend to submit them, leading to recruiters getting flooded with them on certain days. In order to decrease your chances of getting lost in the pile, it is best to avoid submitting your resume between Sunday and Wednesday. Thursday, Friday and Saturday tend to give recruiters more time on each individual resume that comes through as they have already sifted through the ones from earlier in the week and feel less pressured to get through yours quickly. While there's no specific time of day universally accepted as to when a resume should be submitted, it is generally best to submit it in the morning as it will give it enough time to get through the company’s system and has a higher likelihood of ending up on the recruiters desk that day.
How COVID-19 has changed the job market.
While the job market is constantly shifting, COVID-19 has changed it dramatically in the past couple of years. Working from home has become an accepted norm in many company’s, which can allow job seekers to broaden their job search outside of their immediate vicinity. Unemployment also reached an all time high in 2020 and continued on into 2021. This has left many with gaps in their employment that may seem undesirable to future employers. The best way to address this on a resume is by being honest about your employment gap, and emphasizing that it was not due to individual performance.
One of the most important and effective ways to have an employer take another look at your resume, is by following up with the hiring manager after applying. Get the hiring manager’s contact details and follow up via phone or email. This will not only put you at the front of the hiring manager’s mind, but it can also increase the time they spend examining your resume. Be sure to remain professional in your verbal or written communication. While following up with the hiring manager is beneficial, there is a fine line between being persistent and annoying. Do not follow up more than twice, and no sooner than a week after applying to avoid getting on your potential employers nerves. While following up shows that you are eager to work, the job recruiters are busy and will begin to ignore your attempts at contact if they become too frequent. After following up the second time, it is best to remain patient until you hear back from the hiring manager.
While the average recruiter only takes 7.4 seconds on each application, there are clearly many ways to increase the time they take on your application, or have them take another look at it. As the job market has changed, it has created new norms, opportunities, and criteria that job recruiters look for in a resume. Resumes need to be customized and utilize keywords for different jobs in order to bypass the applicant tracking system and even have a chance of ending up on a job recruiters desk.
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