How Long do Recruiters Look at your Resume: A new Study by Ladder

As per a study by The Ladders, on an average, a recruiter spends 6 seconds on a resume. 

How Long do Recruiters Look at your Resume: A new Study by Ladder

In 2018, Ladders released a new version of this study called ‘Recruiter Eye-Tracking’ and updated the time that a recruiter takes to scan a resume. As per the new study, the initial resume screening time clocks in at 7.4 seconds on average.

Whether it is 6 or 7 seconds, you need to make an impression within that time. That’s your goal.

That’s all the time that you have with you to impress a recruiter and entice him/her to further evaluate your resume. If your resume fails the 7.5 seconds test, it ends up becoming a useless piece of paper and you can say good-bye to your chances of landing the desired job.

Imagine failing to even reach the interview table despite being incredibly skilled with a highly credible work experience. That’s where you’re headed if you don’t do the bare minimum of keeping the recruiter interested in evaluating your resume.

You need to attract and retain the recruiter’s attention at all costs. So, here are a few tips that you should follow to make your resume impressive and pass the 6-second test.

Clean Format

A cluttered layout is a turn-off for anyone reading your resume, let alone the recruiter. Make sure you have a clean resume format defining all sections of your resume neatly. For this, use a simple one-column template without colorful designs and loud colors. Follow the reverse chronological format beginning with the most recent work experience and list out all the section headings clearly along with the dates.

Follow a defined order for sections

When it comes to writing a resume, you need to follow a defined structure. The recruiters are used to seeing that structure.

As a general rule, you should list the sections in the following order:

  • Name 
  • Job title
  • Professional summary
  • Key Skills
  • Technical Skills (if applicable)
  • Professional Experience
  • Education
  • Certifications/Training (if applicable)
  • Additional Information

By listing the information in this order, you are doing enough to ensure that the information you have provided is done in a proper sequence.

For instance, you have to list your skills at the top because the employer needs to know what you will be bringing on the table eventually. After that, the professional experience takes precedence.

Furthermore, make sure that you mention your contributions in one-liner bulleted points, use action verbs and quantify information wherever possible. For instance, if your efforts led to an increase in revenue or efficiency, provide approximate figures/numbers to communicate your achievements.

Do not exceed two-page limit

A resume is either 1-page long or 2 pages.

No matter how exhaustive your work experience is, your resume should not breach the two-page limit.

If you are unable to limit your resume to two pages, incorporate the following tips:

  • Make sure that all bullet points begin with a power verb and do not exceed one line each.
  • Group every 2-3 points under broad-level sub-headings for each profile in your Professional Experience section. For example: ‘Team Management & Leadership’, ‘Recruitment & Training’, ‘Client Relationship Management’, etc.
  • Do not write generic roles and responsibilities. Write only points against which you can provide quantified data.

This will not only reduce the page limit but will do wonder to enhance the readability of your resume. Better readability equals sustained recruiter interest in your resume.

Try to avoid using photos in your resume

When it comes to attaching photos on your resume, whether you have a photo-attached resume depends on the country in which you are applying for a job. In certain countries, you are required to put a passport size picture on the resume. If this is the case, include a picture. If not, steer clear from attaching photos on your resume.

Since your goal is to make the recruiter see your potential in 6-7 seconds, you do not want them to get distracted. Try to remove any photo that you may have potentially attached with your resume. This pertains to general images like logos, charts, etc.

Do not stress on additional information

Since the page limit of your resume is 1-2 pages, you need to prioritize your professional experience and key skills over any additional information.

While it is good to have hobbies and interests, you do not need to go to great lengths to explicitly discuss it in your resume. Since the recruiter will discuss these topics in the interview, you do not need to stress much on it as all it does is unnecessarily elongate your resume.

Seek Professional Help

There are a few trustworthy professional resume writing services you can count on to help you curate a dazzling resume. With the help of actual resume-writing professionals, you can get your resume tailored to a specific job. 

Since your resume is your ticket to getting shortlisted for your target job, it is worth the time and money because an impeccable resume has the potential to help you land the job of your dreams.


While the 6-second norm is almost universally applicable, it’s not a rule set in stone. A recruiter can spend as much or as little time on your resume depending on the potential of your resume to retain his/her attention. Thus, make sure that you incorporate all the guidelines that we have mentioned above to make an attention-grabbing resume overflowing with impact.