You have six seconds to show you are the right candidate.

How to Write a Canadian Resume That Gets Noticed

By Shawna Cole, ILAC Curriculum Developer

How long do you think it takes an employer to decide whether or not you are a good candidate?

The research shows that you only have six seconds. That’s it.

So, if you are wondering why you have applied for multiple jobs and have not gotten a single call back, it’s likely because you did not make a strong enough impact in those six seconds.

On average, employers shortlist two out of every ten resumes viewed. So, if you have dropped off ten resumes and not gotten a call back, you fall into these statistics. Almost 80% of the resumes submitted for a job don’t make the first cut (Harris).


What do hiring managers focus on when they scan your resume?

In their study, The Ladders states that recruiters spend almost 80% of their resume review time on the following points:

  • name, current title/company
  • previous title/company,
  • previous position start and end dates,
  • current position start and end dates, and
  • education.

In addition to these six points, hiring managers scan for keywords that match the job opening. Because most hiring decisions are based on the six aspects listed above, a resume’s details and explanations are seen as filler and have little to no impact on the final decision (Harris).

So what do hiring managers look for in a resume?

Glassdoor reached out to some of the industry’s top hiring managers and recruiters to find out what impresses them when they are looking at resumes. The first feature mentioned is formatting. Jamie Hichens, Senior Manager of Talent Acquisition, says when he looks at a resume, “the first thing I notice is if it’s well organized and formatted. If I’m unable to read a resume easily, I likely won’t look at it for very long.”

This brings us back to that six seconds mentioned earlier. If you do not have clear headings, or if you do not have enough white space for the reader’s eye to move around the page without strain, or if you have narrow margins and large blocks of text (multiple lines with no spaces to break them) your resume will not get selected because it is unappealing to the reader. What is important here is not complicating the reader’s task of scanning for key information.

In addition to formatting, other areas recruiters and hiring managers look at are: appropriateness for the role, evidence of business impact, job history, content, and complimentary online profile (Jackson).

Looking at the research, here are our top five tips for designing a strong targeted resume.


Harris, P. (2016). The first things employers scan for in resumes. Workopolis.

Jackson, A.E. (2017). This is exactly what hiring managers & recruiters look for when scanning resumes. Glassdoor.

Lehman, C., DuFrene, D., Murphy, R. (2013) BCOM. Nelson Education

2018-05-18T16:10:33+00:00May 16th, 2018|
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