CareerBuilders Survey Reveals Hiring Managers' Resume, Cover-Letter Preferences


Consistent with what we’ve been hearing for the last several years, approximately a third of hiring managers say a lack of cover letter will likely result in them not considering a candidate for their open position in a national CareerBuilders survey conducted among more than 2,800 U.S. employers between February 21 and March 10, 2011. Once they have read a candidate’s cover letter, seven in 10 hiring managers say they prefer to see a career summary at the top of a resume instead of an objective and, more than half (57 percent) think a resume should be two pages long. When asked what catches their eye the most on a resume, hiring managers said:
  • Bulleted list of accomplishments (51 percent)

  • Career summary at the top (40 percent)

  • Relevant key words (39 percent)

  • Resume that is customized to the open position (36 percent)
One-in-five hiring managers say they spend 30 seconds or less looking at a resume. Other job search correspondence tips include: Cover Letter
Your cover letter is your golden opportunity to make a strong first impression that will entice employers to want to know you better. Make sure it paints a more thorough picture of your educational and work-related background; the cover letter is where you can bring your specific experiences to life.

Always assume your résumé will be scanned by a computer. Companies both large and small are using keyword-search software in their hiring processes these days, so it’s important to make sure you always send out a search-ready résumé.
Prove it! Just don’t explain what you did at your last job, but how you did it and what impact it had on the company’s bottom line. The more quantifiable results you can highlight, the better.

Stay tuned in May when we’ll be presenting some new research on employers’ cover-letter preferences.