Key to Success: Knowing How Recruiters Read Resumes

recruiters read resumesHow do you land that dream job? Knowing how recruiters read resumes is critical… and the first step is making is it past your prospective employer’s applicant tracking system.

Even after an ATS narrows things down to a (somewhat) manageable stack of resumes, there are often still too many for recruiters and hiring managers to give serious consideration to each one.

So, when a hiring manager sits down to start working through a stack of resumes, they spend about six seconds scanning them to see which ones they can eliminate right off the bat. That might sound unfair, but it’s really just a matter of efficiency. The more resumes they can put in the “discard” pile, the more time they can spend on the ones that are left.

As recruiters read resumes, what things do they scan for? Here are a few of the most common items that help a recruiter to decide if your resume is worthy of further consideration…


Scanning the applicant’s name is probably instinctive. It’s what we’re programmed to focus on. And there’s always the chance that the hiring manager and the applicant may have worked together before or even know each other socially. Reasons to eliminate: a previous negative experience with you, or even a negative impression they picked up from someone else.

Current Employer

Scanning your current employer is part of figuring out who you are. On a deeper level, though, they’re drawing some conclusions about you. Working for a prestigious company may earn you a few brownie points. So can working for a competitor. Many hiring managers also give considerable weight to which industry a candidate’s current employer is in. Reasons to eliminate: Negative experiences with other people they’ve hired from that company and/or a lack of industry experience.

Dates of Service

Dates of service tell hiring managers things like how often you’ve changed jobs and how recent your relevant experience is. Reasons to eliminate: too many job changes, no career progression, and relevant experience too far in the past.


Hiring managers also check to see that your current title makes sense for the job you’re applying for. If you’re currently a junior copywriter, you’re not going to be considered for VP of Marketing. Reasons to eliminate: Current position is completely at odds with the position applied for.


Hiring managers also draw conclusions about you from the school you attended. A degree from a prestigious university can help. Even then, you’ll have a better chance if the degree is relevant. Reasons to eliminate: Negative experiences with previous hires from the same school, lack of a degree, and/or a degree that’s not related to the job.

There’s not much you can do about where you went to school or your current employer. But you can do a lot with your resume, and Jobscan can help.


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Jobscan Blog!





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