How Long Do Employers Look At Resumes? (With Practical Tips)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 30 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

The time that hiring managers and employers spend reviewing a resume can vary depending on the company, role, industry and the time of day. It is essential for candidates to send error-free and well-formatted resumes to convey all crucial information in the least amount of time. Knowing how to structure resumes to make them more scannable can help increase your chances of getting shortlisted. In this article, we answer, ‘How long do employers look at resumes?', discuss the crucial elements of a resume and share some tips to make your resume impressive.

Related: How To Make A Resume (With Examples)

How Long Do Employers Look At Resumes?

Knowing the answer to, ‘How long do employers look at resumes?' can help you design and format your resume better. The time employers spend looking at resumes can vary depending on the company and industry norms. Additionally, employers are more likely to review applications for senior leadership positions thoroughly, as assessing the candidate's work experience and skills is crucial. The number of applications can also decide the time taken to look at resumes. Employers may review resumes quickly or use a digital resume scanning system if there are too many candidates.

Similarly, the amount of time a hiring manager spends reviewing a resume can depend on the time of the day or the day of the week. For instance, recruiters may have lesser time to review a resume thoroughly if they have several meetings during the workday or if they are looking at it on a Monday or Friday. With so many elements influencing how much time an employer spends looking at resumes, it is crucial to improve your resume and focus on structuring it in a manner that allows hiring managers to review essential sections quickly.

Related: 10 Best Skills To Include On A Resume (With Examples)

What Do Employers Review In A Resume?

Here are some essential elements of a resume that employers and hiring managers usually review when shortlisting resumes:


The format and design of the resume help make a positive first impression on the employer. An easy-to-read format that organises all information effectively helps the employer read it quickly. Segregating and highlighting different sections can help hiring managers find the information they want to review. This is particularly important when you are applying for a role that may attract a large number of applications. So, choose a format that highlights your skills and work experience and design your resume professionally so that it is easy for potential employers to navigate different sections.

Related: Resume Format Guide (With Examples)

Work experience

Professional work experience is one of the most important elements of a resume. Most employers review this section carefully to assess whether you have the required skills and expertise to fulfil the responsibilities of the open position. They may also look for details about how long you typically work in a position and if you achieved any significant accomplishments during your previous jobs. Always list your professional experience in a reverse-chronological manner, and include information such as the job title, name of the organisation, location, duration of employment and key duties.

Related: Professional Resume Samples To Help You Land A Job

Educational qualification

Many roles may require candidates to complete a certain level of education or possess specific certifications. This is particularly important for jobs that require expertise in niche technical skills. Many employers may review the educational background section first to check whether you qualify for the role before looking at other information. So, mention all your educational qualifications clearly and accurately, including information such as the degree or course name, name of the institution or university, year of completion and any extraordinary academic achievement.

Related: How To List Education On Your Resume (With Examples)

Professional achievements

Many employers consider examples of accomplishments in previous jobs positive as it may indicate how your skills can create a measurable impact. Listing your professional achievements can help you make a favourable impression on the hiring manager as it helps them envision the contributions that you can make to the company. You can mention your achievements in the work experience section or create an additional section to discuss them comprehensively. Wherever applicable, try to use action verbs to describe your accomplishments and quantify your successes using numbers.

Related: How To Include Accomplishments On Your Resume


Hiring managers want to look for relevant information and content that is applicable to the job description and fulfils the requirement of the position. Reviewing this information helps them determine if you can effectively perform the duties of the role and whether you have the required skills. Including details about irrelevant jobs, certifications or achievements can make it difficult for employers to locate and look at crucial information. This can increase the chances of them getting disengaged and rejecting your resume. So, it is important to add information that is directly relevant and appropriate for the job.

Related: Functional Resumes: Tips, Steps, Sample And Advantages

Language and tone

Using the right tone and language can be crucial when applying to certain jobs that require strong written communication skills. Hiring managers may evaluate your application based on how well you write your professional summary, work experience and achievements. Writing an impressive resume can showcase your ability to write and communicate effectively when applying for jobs in the marketing, advertising, design, copywriting and publishing industries. So, make sure your resume demonstrates your communication, language and writing skills effectively.

External links

Many candidates add a link to their online profile on professional networking websites or digital portfolios on their resumes. This helps the hiring manager access your professional summary or work samples in greater detail. It also helps portray your online work presence and demonstrate how well-connected you are. External links can be crucial when applying for creative jobs in the designing, writing, editing and production fields. So, ensure that all links are correct and functional before sending your resume.

Related: Best Font For Resume: How To Choose Type And Size

Tips To Make An Impressive Resume

Here are some tips that can help you improve your resume and make it more impressive:

  • Choose the right format. Choose between the chronological and functional resume format to showcase your work experience and skills, respectively. You can also opt for a hybrid format that combines elements from both these types and allows you to focus on both the professional experience and expertise equally.

  • Proofread and customise before applying. Before applying for a new job, edit, proofread and customise the resume as per the job description, role, and company. You can also ask a trusted colleague or a close friend to review your resume and seek feedback to improve it.

  • Limit the length of the resume. Shorter resumes with only the most relevant information are usually easier to review. So, ensure your resume is one or two pages at most, as this can give the hiring manager ample time to check it comprehensively and focus on the most essential details.

  • Highlight your skills and expertise. Make sure that the resume emphasises your skills and expertise at the very top of the resume by including them in your professional summary statement. You can provide further details and clarifications in the work experience, skills, educational qualification and additional sections.

  • Use the F-pattern or E-pattern layout. These layouts imitate how the human eye usually navigates documents and web pages, and structuring your resume in these formats can help you engage the employer. You can align the information on your resume in the general shape of an F or an E instead of using the standard left-to-right or central alignment.

  • Consult a professional. If you think your resume requires a complete revision and you are unable to write one, consider talking to professional resume writers and consultants. These professionals can help you write an engaging resume that helps highlight your professional strengths and work experience effectively.

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