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Is It True That Recruiters Reject a Resume in Six Seconds?

Consider these details before applying to your next job.

 MangoStar_Studio/Getty Images 

By Madeline Mann 

Yes, and they actually reject resumes very quickly for reasons beyond being unqualified — here are 5 things recruiters make snap decisions on that you may not realize:

Snap decision 1: Your graduation year

If you think they will believe you to be too young for the role, or too old for the role, or any other concerns about age, eliminate your graduation years from your resume. If they ask you for your graduation years that can actually be considered attempted age discrimination in the United States.

I personally do not put my graduation years on my LinkedIn or resume, so that no one makes any prejudgements about what I’m too young or too old to do.

Snap decision 2: Your email address

If you have an old email provider like AOL or Hotmail, companies will judge you hardcore for being “behind the times” and “against change.” I know, it’s a far leap to make from just an email address but they really do reject you for it! I tell my personal experience with this here.

Snap decision 3: Your location

If you do not live in the city of the job you are applying to, write on your resume that you want to relocate to that city, or better yet that you ARE relocating (only if it’s true).

Otherwise, the recruiter might get lazy and think: this person probably wants to work remotely, or may need to be convinced to relocate, may be expensive to relocate … blah blah, so many other excuses to reject you.

Snap decision 4: Your photo

Studies have found that during those 6 seconds that recruiters are reading your resume, if you have a photo, they spend about half of that time looking at your face. You probably have a darling face, but you likely don’t want them spending their time focusing on it. Not only is a photo distracting, and it introduces the possibility of lots of other biases seeping in. I notice this from a lot of international applicants they are more likely to put a photo, their age, if they are married, how many kids they have. Leave all that stuff off if applying for US jobs.

Snap decision 5: Your number of jobs

If you have held many full-time jobs (not intern or contract work) in a short amount of time (switching every 6 months to 1.5 years) you may be dismissed for being a “job hopper”

All of the above “snap decisions” are quick fixes, but this one is quite a bit tricker, so I go into more detail here about how to change your resume if you are a job hopper, how to address it in job interviews, and of course why employers are so freaked out by people who have a lot of jobs in a short amount of time.

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