Resumes Then vs Resumes Now

Posted by Amy Cody-Quinn

In the battle to fill jobs, I am on the hiring line and I see a lot of senseless casualties. All too often qualified candidates are passed over, rejected, or simply never seen. It pains me to see the same errors kill candidates’ chances over and over.

Across the decades I’ve been recruiting, the job market has changed drastically. Whereas maybe 30 resumes were received per job opening 20 years ago, on average 250 are received today. Other changes I’ve seen over time:

Then — Format, typestyle and paper quality were important to make your resume stand out.

Now — A non-scannable format will reduce your odds by as much as 70%. Non-scannable means any kind of formatting that doesn’t automatically mesh with the employer’s ATS or word search program such as PDFs, graphs, charts, borders, jpegs, etc. Most recruiters will not take the time to convert the formatting. They’ll just hit ‘next’. Tips on designing your resume: 5 Things to Avoid When Designing Your Resume.

Then — Objectives were important.

Now — Objectives are out. Managers don’t care about what you want to do unless what you want to do is solve their specific problem. Summaries are in and it’s often the only opportunity you have to sell why you’re a fit for the job.

Then — Managers would hire someone who had 60% of the required skills for the job opening.

Now — You must meet at least 80% of the job requirements to be considered.

Then — Recruiters and managers actually read your cover letter and resume

Now — Recruiters spend an average of 6 seconds looking at your resume, managers spend about 10 seconds, before deciding whether or not you’re worth a follow up. Only 15% will open or read a cover letter.

The average recruiter is handling 7.7 jobs a week. Top performers slightly more. And if you multiply that times the average of 250 applicants per opening, you might begin to see how your resume can get lost in the shuffle.

Recruiters don’t have time to read between the lines. Successful recruiters have developed patterns and processes to help them quickly find the candidates most likely to be hired. That’s where the 6 second screen comes in.

Applicant Tracking Systems

As a result of the large influx of resumes, almost every company these days has a word and phrase match program that they use to check your resume against the job description. You have to get a 70% or higher match for your resume to get kicked out to a real person.

—Copying and pasting the entire job description into the bottom of your online resume in a white font will guarantee your resume is one of those selected for human screening. And that’s a great trick. But if the visible portion of your resume doesn’t contain the necessary skills, tools, experience, you’ll not only be rejected for this job, you may also be flagged as non-hireable.

So it’s a good trick, but only as good as your follow through to ensure your summary, skills and prior experiences match the job.

If your resume is ready for Amy, check out these cleared positions with GeoLogics.

Amy Cody-Quinn is a Senior Recruiter with GeoLogics. Through the wonders of modern technology she’s lucky enough to be based on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Source: The Ladders Eye Tracking Study



This entry was posted on Thursday, November 14, 2013 9:08 am

7 thoughts on “Resumes Then vs Resumes Now”

  1. This is utterly ridiculous. All this social media garbage and all the tag word lunacy is just that crazy. Thank you for outlining all that in my view is wrong with today’s entire job market and businesses. Until they go back to doing what they used to do I foresee a continual decline in profit and productivity.

    1. Mark,

      I think Thom is indicating “they” use Commodore Amiga 3000 technology. I’ll defer to Amy’s expertise here.

  2. Thom, they’re getting *eight times* as many resumes as they used to. How are they supposed to “go back to doing what they used to do”?

  3. Thom is absolutely correct.

    You say currently 80% of a position’s requirements must be met in order to be considered. There is no way possible someone can discern an 80% match without taking the time to read the resume. Nor can they comprehend a person’s worth, growth or contributable value. You have people sticking all sorts of “key” words in their resume just so they trip as many flags as possible in the scanning process.

    If human resource and hiring managers are going to do their job correctly, they have to read resumes. If you are doing your job correctly, there is no other way. Doing otherwise only cheats your employer and the person applying for the position. Just like the old adage, “Haste makes waste!” If you feel you can only spend 6 seconds on a resume to get through a stack of 250 resumes, then you have been sucked into the hype. You say you cannot get through resumes any other way. If this is so, how much of your job are you really doing? Expediency is not job completion. Sadly, I believe most companies just follow blindly along. It will never be the way it used to be, and everyone will suffer because of it.

  4. Pingback: The Job Search

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