Most execs spend just five minutes looking at resumes

And more than a third of the large-company executives said they spend less than two minutes reviewing a resume.

Most executives spend less than five minutes reading each resume they receive for an advertised position, according to a survey. Nearly a third of respondents said they spend no more than two minutes reading a resume.

The survey was conducted for Accountemps by an independent research firm and includes responses from 100 executives with Canada’s largest companies.

Executives were asked: Approximately how much time do you spend screening each resume when reviewing job applicants for an advertised position? Their responses:

0-2 minutes: 32%
3-5 minutes: 28%
6-10 minutes: 19%
11-30 minutes: 12%
31-60 minutes: 2%
61 minutes or more: 3%
Don’t know/no answer: 4%

How to combat the five-minute scan

The chairman of Accountemps, Max Messmer, has the following advice for candidates who want to catch the eye of recruiters in less than five minutes:

•Keep your resume succinct, error-free and relevant.

•Develop more than one resume, targetting the information to the job.

•Ask a trusted friend or colleague to review your resume.

•Include a highly condensed summary of your professional background, skills and attributes at the top of your resume.

•Cite accomplishments in previous positions rather than just listing job duties. For example, the fact that you implemented cost-cutting measures that reduced your department’s expenses by 10 per cent is more meaningful to a prospective employer than simply stating that you managed a budget.


Check out the resume bloopers at Accountemps’ Resumania site at

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