A poll by the Society for Human Resources Management revealed that 76 percent of hiring managers or recruiters polled typically spent less than five minutes reviewing a resume. That sub-five minute perusal determines whether a candidate will continue on in the hiring process. A summary of findings reveals the elements that hiring managers and recruiters are looking for and how to make the most of those crucial five minutes.

  • Over 93 percent of respondents in the poll confirmed resume errors have a negative impact on hiring decisions. Preferred resumes included those that were, not only proofread for grammar, but were also organized chronologically, that used bulleted format, and that were tailored to a specific industry. Organize your resume in a structured way and make sure it is error free. Online grammar and spelling checkers are useful tools but have your resume proofread by a competent writer to improve tone and style.
  • Following the recent economic recession, candidates should not expect that a gap in a resume, or being laid off, will cause them to be eliminated from a short list. Hiring managers and recruiters advise that gaps in resumes should not be hidden and that candidates should be honest in their resumes. A large portion, 77 percent of respondents, considered that a candidate should explain the reason for being fired or laid off.
  • Include the most recent eight to 10 years of experience on your resume, or each year of history that is relevant to the job. Over 60 percent of the respondents approved of resumes with education and experience that began with the most recent examples.
  • A cover letter is usually required by small businesses (500 or fewer employees). Hiring managers prefer that candidates highlight their relevant job experience and that they explain why they are targeting the organization.

Consider the culture of the company to which you are applying. Tailor your style accordingly. If the company is creative and innovative, the recruiter may appreciate a resume that provides links to a LinkedIn page with a 30 to 60-second video introducing yourself. A cover letter might adopt an original style that reveals your personality.

Looking for employment in Northern Virginia? Contact our team of expert recruiters today for more information on how we can assist you in your job search needs!