6 things job recruiters pay attention to, as determined by science

If you're looking for a job or know someone who is, you know that it's a far from easy task. There are stressful interviews to go on, and the salary negotiation process can be nerve-wracking. But before all that, you need a solid resume to get your foot in the door. That's where things get tricky: New research suggests you only have six seconds to make your impression.

Job recruitment website The Ladders conducted a formal survey of job recruiters using eye-tracking technology to figure out what matters most on your resume. Over the course of ten weeks, actual job recruiters' eye movements were measured as they looked through resumes and online profiles, creating visual heat maps. This allowed researchers to determine how long recruiters spent studying which aspects of resumes, and just as importantly, what content was largely ignored.

A key finding of the study: Recruiters spend nearly 80% of their time focusing on six different areas of a resume. These most-important aspects are:

  • your name

  • current title/company

  • previous title/company

  • current position start and end dates

  • previous position start and end dates

  • education

On average, recruiters spent six seconds sizing up these aspects to make the initial decision on whether to trash your resume or consider you for the position. The study also found that visual features such as pictures, graphs, and ads (on employment-related sites like LinkedIn) are distracting, eating up precious time and reducing the recruiter's decision-making ability.

How can you use this information to help your own job search? The study has some recommendations:

  • Make sure your resume is free of visual clutter — it doesn't help, it only distracts.

  • Use "an organized layout" and a "strong visual hieracrchy."

  • When you're writing your resume, make sure you include (and focus on) those six key areas that recruiters spend their time gazing at.

[via Flowing Data]

[Image credit: The Ladders]

This article was written by Fox Van Allen and originally appeared on Tecca

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