How much time is spent looking at resumes?

As professional resume writers, we coach job seekers that they need to keep in mind the short time a resume is reviewed. Here’s a question from my AmeriCorps session:

How much time is spent looking at resumes?

I recently read an article that said most HR people only look at resumes for about 6 seconds.

What can a person do to make their resume stick out when a resume is only looked at for 6 seconds?

How do you create a memorable resume?

Make sure that you address the position you are targeting. Reinforce your resume with a tight branding statement, targeted keywords, and clear cut accomplishments to verify you can do the job.

I wrote a series on how to do this in the Top 10 Resume Tips:

  1. Top 10 Resume tip #10 – Is your resume format interesting and readable?
  2. Top 10 Resume Tip #9 – Use a font size people can actually read!
  3. Top 10 Resume Tip #8 – Focus the resume
  4. Top 10 Resume Tip #7 – Check your Contact Info
  5. Top 10 Resume Tip #6 – Use Power Verbs!
  6. Top 10 Resume Tip #5 – Use Selected Highlights
  7. Top 10 Resume Tip #4 – Use a Banner Headline
  8. Top 10 Resume Tip #3 – Use Industry Keywords
  9. Top 10 Resume Tip #2 – Use Quantifiable Accomplishments
  10. Top 10 Resume Tip #1 – Answer why should I hire you?

Following those 10 tips will make your resume memorable.

In addition, some of the readers of your resume are not human. Often, they are computers. The Application Tracking Systems (ATS) systems dehumanized the initial screening. They filter your resume out if you don’t meet the keyword recommendations for the positions, especially at large companies. However, in 2019, those ATS systems are evolving.

But all resumes are not screened by computers and all companies don’t use ATS systems. When you use networking and relationship building to fuel your job search, you are more likely to have your resume read by a human.

What if the employer has a mindset against spending any time on a resume?

When I spoke at a college on Diversity on the Workplace, this 6-second question came up and a hiring professional in the back said she only spends 3 seconds.

Someone who spends 3 seconds on resumes sounds like she doesn’t care. The potential is throwing out resumes of people who potentially could be the best employees.

Hiring improves when more time is spent looking at resumes

Personally, I believe that employers need to spend more time on resumes and more time understanding the employee value.

Fast screening processes make it easier to eliminate people. However, it also increases the chance that you will lose the best quality employee because you tossed too fast. I know there is a high volume of applications but I also see hiring as an investment in the future of your company.

I can help you create a resume and LinkedIn profile that will capture the reader. As we work together, I identify your strengths, write compelling resume stories to showcase your value, and help you find the hidden job market. Learn more.



  1. Nolan on May 26, 2012 at 5:47 am

    I think it definitely takes more time to write a custom resume, but, it’s worth the effort, especially when applying for jobs that are a perfect match for your qualifications and experience.

    • Julie Walraven on May 28, 2012 at 10:46 am

      You have the right idea. You don’t have to recreate the whole resume each time but customizing to make sure you emphasize your matches is important.

      Thanks for stopping by, Nolan!

  2. Laura on May 27, 2012 at 11:47 am

    I might be in a minority but as someone who reads resumes every day I look for something that stands out from the bland selection of resumes that follow the “best practice” guidelines and the drab corporate format.

    Saying that, in some industries to stand out from the crowd all you need is a well formatted and written cv!

    • Julie Walraven on May 28, 2012 at 10:48 am

      I agree, Laura, and I think you will find that most of pro resume writers stay away from bland and drab corporate.

      There is such variation from the old format messy resumes that people try to create themselves to well-done, well-researched strategic documents.

      Thank you for stopping by!

  3. Julia on May 27, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    Someone who reads resumes every day I look for something that stands out from the bland selection of resumes that follow the “best practice” guidelines and the drab corporate format.

    • Julie Walraven on May 28, 2012 at 10:48 am

      Sounds like you agree with Laura too, Julia! Thanks for the comment!

  4. Dawn R. Johnson on May 29, 2012 at 5:08 am

    I love it,great idea you have full of information.Great job.

    • Julie Walraven on May 29, 2012 at 10:56 am

      Thanks for stopping by, Dawn!

  5. Myka Aniston on May 29, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    Thanks for sharing some important sample and tips of creating an interesting resume. Resume is very important when searching for a job so it is necessary that a resume must be excellent. By just your sample, it gives a lot guide to other individuals.

    • Julie Walraven on May 30, 2012 at 7:44 am

      Thanks for stopping by, Myka. My sample resumes are the most popular pages of this site.

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Julie Walraven

Professional Resume Writer

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