Conversations on the topic of resumes and job searching are riddled with anecdotes.
This makes sense. Looking for a job is an incredibly personal experience. There are so many variables at play that it can seem nearly impossible to draw any overarching conclusions about the process.
What’s the Secret Sauce to Getting an Interview?
For any given person looking for a job, consider all of the potential factors that determine whether they get an initial interview or not:
- How many years of experience do you have?
- What kind of job are you looking for?
- What’s the size of the company you’re applying for?
- How long is your resume?
- How much do they pay?
- Did you catch the recruiter who first reviews your resume before or after they’ve had their afternoon coffee?
I can’t tell you how important the answers to each of these questions are, but from personal experience, you want to catch the recruiter AFTER they’ve had their afternoon coffee. Since we launched our resume builder in July, we’ve helped thousands of people seeking jobs build and optimize their resumes.
By surveying our users, we’ve learned that the quality of a resume has a direct and significant impact on the rate at which people get initial interviews. In fact, a candidate with a strong resume versus a weak resume is three times more likely to get an interview.
A candidate with a strong resume versus a weak resume is three times more likely to get an interview.
This has downstream effects on career earnings. More interviews mean more job offers, which means more leverage in negotiation, which means a higher salary in your next job. A higher salary in your next job means a higher salary in your job after that, and so on and so forth.
Controlling for factors such as years of experience, location, industry, and career type, a “quality” resume gets a first-round interview 9.9 percent of the time on average. A poor resume, on the other hand, gets an initial interview only 3.1 percent of the time. For those doing the math at home, this means a job applicant with a strong resume is 316 percent more likely to get an interview from any given job application.
That’s well and good (and I hope interesting). But you’re likely wondering, who are you, and why do you get to decide what a “quality” resume is?
How Do We Figure Out What a Quality Resume is?
Every resume sample created on our platform gets a resume score ranging from 0 to 100. This score is based on factors that matter in determining whether a resume turns into an interview based on our conversations with hiring managers and through our data. Any score above 70 is considered “quality” based on the jump in the graph below (an admittedly arbitrary cutoff).
The specifics of what these factors are and how much they matter will be a topic of a different post. Suffice it to say that these scores correlate with the propensity for a given job applicant to get an initial interview (see graph above).
Want to See If You Have a Quality Resume?
If you want to see your resume score, you can do so using our resume checker. We’re still working on our “import resume” functionality, so if you have any issues, please let us know.
Once a job candidate gets a first-round interview with a recruiter, the quality of their resume doesn’t really matter. At this point, there’s not a significant difference between the job offer rate of quality versus poor resumes.
This means that the purpose of your resume is to get you an initial interview. After that, your interview skills will carry you to glory (and a new job).
The data presented here is not all-encompassing and has some room for improvement. First and foremost, in our analysis, we had no insight into the jobs users were applying for.
So if a new college graduate applied for VP-level roles, they were still included. Similarly, if a sales representative applied to data scientist roles without relevant experience, they were also included. On average, we assume this leveled out across different resume scores, but we can’t be sure.
We hope to learn more about the jobs users are applying for so we can help them customize their resumes to the job description, but we’re not there yet.