You spend days, weeks, and even months polishing your resume, studying job ads, and choosing exactly the right combination of skills, experience, and achievements will help you get the job. Then you send it out and wait. And then you wait some more.
After a while you may begin to wonder, how long does it take for a recruiter to look at your resume and decide whether or not to interview you? Read on to find out what to expect during the hiring process and how to avoid the “hiring black hole.”
How Long Does It Take for a Recruiter to Look at Your Resume?
Time frames for hiring vary by country and industry, and the primary reason is the difference in labor market regulations.
According to a Glassdoor study, the slowest hiring processes in the United States are found in Washington D.C. (33.2 days), a city that’s home to many government jobs, which often require extensive background checks that can take weeks to complete.
Industries with the longest hiring processes include:
- Government (53.8 days)
- Aerospace & Defense (32.6 days)
- Energy & Utilities (28.8 days)
Industries with the shortest hiring processes include:
- Restaurants & Bars (10.2 days)
- Private Security (11.6 days)
- Supermarkets (12.3 days)
The company you’re applying to can also make a difference in how long it takes to go from application to job offer. Some companies are bound by internal screening processes, and it can take time to schedule meetings, phone calls and group interviews.
Strategic Follow-Ups With Hiring Managers
Follow-up communication is always a great idea no matter what stage you’re at in the hiring process. Be sure to send correspondence to the hiring manager after these events:
- One to two weeks after applying: Demonstrate your value with a professional email to the hiring manager. Let them know you recently submitted your application, tell them you’re excited about the opportunity and list two or three reasons why you believe you should be considered. Keep it concise and friendly, and consider attaching your cover letter and resume to the email, especially if you applied through an online form on the company’s careers page.
- Hours after the interview: Thank the hiring manager for their time with a follow-up email. It helps demonstrate your enthusiasm for the position without being overbearing. Mention something specific that you discussed, such as, "I really enjoyed learning more about your experience at the company, and how you’re working toward the goals you outlined during our interview."
- Three to five business days after the hiring manager’s stated deadline: Send a follow-up email letting them know you’re still interested in the position. You want to make sure you’re not forgotten without overwhelming them. Try some like. "You mentioned you’d be making a decision regarding the sales position by the end of last week. Do you have any updates on the role?"
Demonstrate your value with a professional email to the hiring manager. Let them know you recently submitted your application, tell them you’re excited about the opportunity and list two or three reasons why you believe you should be considered.
Avoid the Job Search Black Hole
Imagine this: you find a great job with an outstanding company, so you submit your resume and credentials right away. Then nothing. Days and weeks pass, and you haven’t received a response either way. What happened? Your resume and cover letter may have entered the proverbial black hole of job searching. Here are some tips for avoiding this unfortunate scenario.
- Pay attention to what the employer is asking.Many job applications will specify preferred requirements for formatting cover letters and resumes, especially if they plan to scan them through ATS scanning software. If it says to fill out all required information in a web form, do it. Follow all the instructions carefully.
- Customize your resume and cover letter for each job you apply for.Tailor your cover letter as much as possible to the specific company and role you’re seeking. Use some of the same words and phrases that appear in the job posting in your cover letter and resume. This increases the chances that their scanning software will move your credentials to the top of the pile because keywords on your submitted documents match what they’re looking for.
- Proofread extensively.Have a second set of eyes take a look at your resume and cover letter before submitting. Another person is more likely to catch grammar or spelling errors that you may have missed.
- Utilize contacts.If you have a point of contact already at the company, be sure to mention that in your cover letter, and it’s okay to follow up with your contact to ask how the hiring process is going.
- Follow up. Resumes often end up sucked into a hiring black hole because the job applicant didn’t take the time to follow up with the hiring manager. For instance, if you found the posting on LinkedIn, try sending a thoughtful PM through LinkedIn’s messaging system to the hiring manager or the person who published the opening. Being firm and taking a slightly assertive approach may pay off in the long run.
Whether you are a career changer, are fresh out of college or have been working in your industry for awhile, taking the time to make sure your resume gets noticed by recruiters and hiring managers can help you land your next dream job.
You Have 6 Seconds to Make an Impression
Once a recruiter does look at your resume, you have only seconds to make an impact. According to a study published by The Ladders, an online job-matching service, recruiters spend an average of six seconds reviewing a job seeker’s resume.
With such limited time available, it’s important to make those seconds count:
- Don’t be too creative. Potential employers need to get the most information from your resume as quickly as possible. Skip the flowery language, and go for easily digestible bits: your name, current title and company, the start/end dates, your previous position’s title and company, and education.
- Put expertise and skills at the top. Use action verbs when describing accomplishments, and back these up with quantitative data where you can. If you helped increase sales by 30 percent, for instance, say so.
- Don’t make it too long. For an entry-level position or if you’re fresh out of college, keep it to one page. For more experienced professionals, two page resumes are generally okay, especially if you have trouble condensing 15-20 years of work experience onto one page. A general rule of thumb is to use one page per 10 years of experience.