Resume Statistics [2021]: What Job Seekers Need To Know

By Chris Kolmar - Jun. 8, 2021

Find a Job You Really Want In

General Resume Statistics

Each job opening can receive hundreds of applications, so you might need to send dozens before being accepted for an interview. This is why it’s a good idea to have a professionally written resume and tap into your professional network to improve your chances of getting hired.

  • Online job openings receive 250+ resumes, each. IT job openings receive an average of 386.

  • Only about 2% of sent resumes result in an interview.

  • On average, you need to send between 30 and 50 resumes to get hired.

  • 10% of job seekers have applied for 50 or more jobs without hearing back.

  • 60% of jobs are found via networking instead of through websites that post job listings.

  • Referred candidates are twice as likely to land an interview and have a 40% better chance of getting hired.

  • A professionally written resume boosts your earning potential by 7%.

  • 68% of job seekers who have contracted with a professional resume writer find a new role in under 90 days.

  • 65% of recruiters claim talent shortage is the biggest challenge in finding candidates.

Resume Formatting Statistics

Recruiters and hiring managers don’t spend a lot of time looking at each resume, so it’s essential to create one that’s simple, clear, customized, and logically laid out. If you’re a seasoned employee, you might also consider a two-page resume.

  • The average resume is 489 words long, with 380 words being roughly the single-page resume cutoff point.

  • Nearly one-quarter (24%) of hiring managers spend less than 30 seconds looking at a resume.

  • 63% of recruiters want to receive resumes tailored to the open position, which entails creating a new resume for each job application.

  • According to an eye-tracking study, the resumes that are most likely to get noticed by recruiters share the following characteristics: A clear, simple resume that uses logical layouts, an overview at the top (like a summary or objective section), and the use of clear, legible fonts.

  • 77% of employers say seasoned workers should not use a single-page resume.

  • Data shows that recruiters are 2.9x more likely to pick a candidate with a two-page resume for managerial roles and 1.4x more likely for entry-level positions.

  • At the same time, a two-page resume is a deal-breaker for 17% of hiring managers.

  • Not using a list of professional skills can hurt a resume as much as one year of unemployment.

  • It’s best practice to use a heading statement focused on what you’ll bring to the table.

  • Most contemporary job seekers use at least one “additional” resume section to back up their qualifications.

  • 61% of hiring managers consider a customized resume the number one tactic for applicants to boost their chance of getting a job. This includes attaching a cover letter, addressing the hiring manager by name, linking to an applicant’s online portfolio, blog, or website.

  • But keep in mind that 40% of recruiters are put off by too much resume design.

  • The most efficient resume approaches include starting sentences with action verbs (140%), sending resumes between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. (89%), sending resumes within one to four days of the job posting (65%), including a key skills section (59%), avoiding using personal pronouns (55%), including strong and leadership-oriented words (51%), avoiding “team player” phrases (51%), demonstrating results with numbers (40%), and using keywords and industry jargon (29%).

  • The description on a job opening contains an average of 21.8 skills, while resumes list only 13 skills on average.

  • Studies have shown hiring managers respond more positively to resumes that lack ethnic details.

  • 77% of employers believe that soft skills are important. 16% believe that they are more important than hard skills.

  • 43% of resumes are submitted in an incompatible file type.

Resume Rejection Statistics

Most resumes don’t make it past applicant tracking system (ATS) software. Those that do are often rejected because of impersonal applications, no thank you note, and lack of customization for the job role.

  • Up to ¾ of large companies (and about 98.8% of Fortune 500 companies) use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to automatically sort, scan, and rank resumes for keywords, and most resumes don’t make it past this software.

  • Up to ¾ of qualified applicants have been rejected by an applicant tracking system (ATS) because the software couldn’t read their resumes.

  • 5% of applicants are dishonest when describing their previous roles or their time spent in a job. 75% of human resources managers have caught a lie on a resume.

  • Most recruiters spend an average of 3.14 minutes reading a candidate’s resume, and they have generally made up their minds within the first minute. 40% of hiring managers spend less than a minute reviewing a resume.

  • 59% of recruiters will reject a candidate because of poor grammar or a spelling error.

  • Over 50% of recruiters will reject a candidate if their resume is full of cliches.

  • 1 in 5 recruiters will reject a candidate before they’ve even finished reading their resume.

  • The top resume deal breakers for hiring managers include: Typos or bad grammar (77%), Unprofessional email address (35%), Lack of quantifiable results (34%).

  • According to recruiters, the top reasons for rejecting a resume are the following: impersonal applications (84%), no thank you note (57%), and lack of resume customization (54%).

  • 36% of resumes are rejected for being too generic, 35% for not listing skills, 32% that copy excessive wording from the job description, 27% that don’t include exact dates of employment, and 13% that include a photo.

Cover letters are essential for job search success, which is why nearly half of job seekers write them, and almost as many recruiters reject applications without them.

  • Nearly half (47%) of job seekers write cover letters.

  • Over ¼ (26%) of recruiters always read cover letters and think they are important to make a hiring decision.

  • Up to 38% of hiring managers say that including a cover letter makes them more likely to pay attention to the application.

  • Almost half (45%) of recruiters say that not having a cover letter could get your job application rejected.

  • Nearly 70% of employers prefer cover letters that are ½ page or less.

Resumes and Social Media Statistics

Social media profiles are a vital part of the job application process, especially if your resume passes an ATS system and lands in front of a recruiter or hiring manager.

  • A complete, up-to-date LinkedIn profile is a must-have supplement to your resume since 77% of recruiters rely on the website when searching for qualified candidates.

  • More than 90% of employers use social media in their quest to find new talent.

  • Even if they had a top-quality resume, 54% of employers have rejected candidates based on their social media profiles.

Resume Statistics by Position

Depending on the position for which you’re applying, you’ll want to consider the following data:

Accountant

Must-have resume sections include: Personal Information, Education, Work Experience, Skills, and Summary or Objective.

Common additional sections include: Languages, References, Software, Certificates, Interests, Courses, Additional Activities, Legal Clause, Conferences, Licenses, and Publications.

The 15 most common accountant resume skills include:

  1. Communication

  2. Microsoft Excel

  3. Microsoft Office

  4. Time Management

  5. Quickbooks

  6. Teamwork

  7. Microsoft Word

  8. Problem Solving

  9. Accounts Payable/Receivable

  10. Adaptability

  11. Attention to Detail

  12. Financial Analysis

  13. Leadership

  14. SAP

  15. Analytical Skills

Administrative Assistant

Must-have resume sections include: Personal Information, Work Experience, Education, Skills, and Summary or Objective.

Common additional sections include: Languages, References, Software, Interests, Certificates, Additional Activities, Courses, Licenses, Conferences, and Publications.

The 15 most common administrative assistant resume skills include:

  1. Communication

  2. Salesforce

  3. Time Management

  4. Microsoft Office

  5. Customer Service

  6. Problem Solving

  7. Organization

  8. Microsoft Excel

  9. Teamwork

  10. Microsoft Word

  11. Leadership

  12. Adaptability

  13. Computer Skills

  14. Multitasking

  15. Ability to Work Under Pressure

Business Analyst

Must-have resume sections include: Personal Information, Work Experience, Education, Skills, and Summary or Objective.

Common additional sections include: Certificates, Software, Languages, Additional Activities, Interests, Courses, References, Publications, Conferences, and Licenses.

The 15 most common business analyst resume skills include:

  1. SQL

  2. Microsoft Excel

  3. Communication

  4. Problem Solving

  5. Project Management

  6. Microsoft Office

  7. Tableau

  8. Analytical Thinking

  9. Microsoft Visio

  10. Python

  11. JIRA

  12. Business Analysis

  13. Process Improvement

  14. Teamwork

  15. Agility

Civil Engineer

Must-have resume sections include: Personal Information, Education, Work Experience, Skills, and Summary or Objective.

Common additional sections include: Languages, Software, Certificates, Courses, Additional Activities, Interests, References, Licenses, Conferences, and Publications.

The 15 most common civil engineer resume skills include:

  1. AutoCAD

  2. Microsoft Office

  3. Leadership

  4. Communication

  5. Project Management

  6. Revit

  7. Primavera

  8. Microsoft Excel

  9. Teamwork

  10. Microsoft Project

  11. SAP2000

  12. Problem Solving

  13. Time Management

  14. ETABS

  15. Adaptability

Customer Service Representative

Must-have resume sections include: Personal Information, Work Experience, Education, Summary or Objective, and Skills.

Common additional sections include: Languages, References, Certificates, Interests, Software, Additional Activities, Courses, Licenses, Conferences, and Publications.

The 15 most common customer service representative resume skills include:

  1. Customer Service

  2. Communication

  3. Time Management

  4. Problem Solving

  5. Teamwork

  6. Leadership

  7. Adaptability

  8. Microsoft Office

  9. Multitasking

  10. Organization

  11. Salesforce

  12. Microsoft Word

  13. Microsoft Excel

  14. Computer Skills

  15. Conflict Resolution

Data Scientist

Must-have resume sections include: Personal Information, Work Experience, Education, Skills, and Summary or Objective.

Common additional sections include: Certificates, Additional Activities, Languages, Software, Interests, Publications, Courses, References, Conferences, and Licenses.

The 15 most common data scientist resume skills include:

  1. Python

  2. SQL

  3. R

  4. Machine Learning

  5. Statistics

  6. Tableau

  7. Data Visualization

  8. Spark

  9. Microsoft Excel

  10. SAS

  11. Deep Learning

  12. Java

  13. Data Analysis

  14. Problem Solving

  15. Natural Language Processing

Mechanical Engineer

Must-have sections include: Personal Information, Education, Work Experience, Skills, and Summary or Objective.

Common additional sections include: Languages, Software, Certificates, Additional Activities, Interests, References, Courses, Publications, Licenses, and Conferences.

The 15 most common mechanical engineer resume skills include:

  1. SolidWorks

  2. Microsoft Office

  3. AutoCAD

  4. MATLAB

  5. Teamwork

  6. Leadership

  7. Communication

  8. Problem Solving

  9. ANSYS

  10. Project Management

  11. Time Management

  12. Microsoft Excel

  13. Adaptability

  14. Autodesk Inventor

  15. Microsoft Project

Product Manager

Must-have resume sections include: Work Experience, Personal Information, Education, Skills, and Summary or Objective.

Common additional sections include: Certificates, Software, Languages, Interests, Additional Activities, Courses, References, Publications, Conferences, and Licenses.

The 15 most common product manager resume skills include:

  1. Agile

  2. Product Management

  3. Project Management

  4. Leadership

  5. JIRA

  6. Scrum

  7. Problem Solving

  8. Strategic Thinking

  9. Communication

  10. SQL

  11. User Experience

  12. Data Analysis

  13. Microsoft Office

  14. Google Analytics

  15. Product Strategy

Project Manager

Must-have resume sections include: Personal Information, Work Experience, Education, Summary or Objective, and Skills.

Common additional sections include: Certificate, Languages, Software, Additional Activities, Interests, Courses, References, Licenses, Publications, and Conferences.

The 15 most common project manager resume skills include:

  1. Project Management

  2. Communication

  3. Leadership

  4. Microsoft Office

  5. Microsoft Project

  6. Problem Solving

  7. Time Management

  8. Risk Management

  9. Strategic Planning

  10. PMP Certification

  11. Salesforce

  12. Team Management

  13. Organization

  14. Negotiation

  15. Adaptability

Software Engineer

Must-have resume sections include: Personal information, Work Experience, Education, Skills, and Summary or Objective.

Common additional sections include: Languages, Additional Activities, Software, Certificates, Interests, Courses, References, Publications, Conferences, and Licenses.

The most common software engineer resume skills include:

  1. Java

  2. Python

  3. JavaScript

  4. SQL

  5. C#

  6. C++

  7. Git

  8. HTML

  9. Node.js

  10. CSS

  11. PHP

  12. C

  13. MySQL

  14. Docker

  15. Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Citations

The Undercover Recruiter. Top Resume Mistakes That Could Cost You the Job. Accessed 6/1/21.

The Motley Fool. 5 Resume Stats All Job Seekers Should Know. Accessed 6/1/21.

Roane State Community College. 10 Current Resume Trends & Forecasts for 2020/2021 You Should Be Thinking About. Accessed 6/1/21.

Resume Valley. Current Resume Trends This 2021: The Future of Job Search. Accessed 6/1/21.

Never miss an opportunity that’s right for you.
Chris Kolmar

Author

Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

Find The Best Job That Fits Your Career

Major Survey Entry Point Icon

Where do you want to work?

Related posts