What recruiters see in the first six seconds of looking at your resume

A new study shows that job recruiters give resumes only a six-second perusal. Here's what they look at.

You know know how you spent all that time perfecting your resume, mulling over the use of one word over another or whether to mention your proficiency at croquet?

In research that is both compelling and extremely depressing, it seems that it may not matter. According to TheLadders research, recruiters spend an average of "six seconds before they make the initial 'fit or no fit' decision" on candidates. The study used an eye-tracking technique on 30 professional recruiters,  examining their eye movements during a 10-week period , to record what each subject focused on and for how long when looking at a piece of information.

What did they look at? Your name, current title and company, current position start and end dates, previous title and company, previous position start and end dates, and education. And that's it.

Of course, this doesn't take into account resumes that have already been through an automatic resume scanner, which looks exclusively for keywords.

Business Insider offers an illustration of the heat map of recruiters' eye movements.

By Toni Bowers

Toni Bowers is the former Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.