In today’s competitive job market, a well-crafted resume serves as your first impression on potential employers. A poorly constructed resume, however, can significantly hinder your chances of landing that dream job.

In January, ResumeTemplates surveyed 780 hiring managers to ask about their experience reviewing resumes and how a resume impacts hiring decisions.

Study highlights:

  • 48% of hiring managers say more than half of the resumes they receive are poorly formatted
  • 73% of hiring managers will eliminate qualified candidates because of resume formatting
  • 50% of hiring managers say most entry-level candidates’ resumes frequently have mistakes
  • 36% frequently pass on a candidate if they can’t locate important information on their resume quickly
  • 65% of hiring managers commonly get resumes that don’t match the candidate’s LinkedIn profile

3 in 10 Hiring Managers Frequently Eliminate Qualified Candidates Because of Bad Resume Formatting

A number of hiring managers will eliminate qualified candidates due to poor resume formatting. In fact, 7% always dismiss otherwise qualified candidates solely based on resume formatting, while 23% do so often, 44% sometimes, and 22% rarely. Only 5% claim they never do this.

Furthermore, 36% of hiring managers admit to always (9%) or often (27%) passing on a candidate if crucial information cannot be quickly located on their resume.

Survey infographic

“Hiring managers routinely reject qualified candidates based on their resume for two major reasons,” says ResumeTemplates’ Executive Resume Writer and Career Coach Andrew Stoner.

“One, they don’t have time. Recruiters and hiring managers typically spend less than 10 seconds reviewing a resume due to high numbers of applicants and competing priorities. The second reason is it’s a screening tool. A candidate’s resume is often the first impression of their work product. If it is not properly formatted with clearly organized information, it signals that a candidate is either not competent or not focused on the specific opportunity.”

Majority of Hiring Managers See Resume Mistakes All the Time

Hiring managers frequently encounter resume mistakes.  According to our survey, the following errors are seen by hiring managers all or most of the time:

  • Job descriptions that focus on duties instead of achievements (54%)
  • Poor formatting (48%)
  • Resume is too long (39%)
  • Spelling errors (35%)
  • Incorrect or missing contact information (27%)

Diving deeper into the common issue of poor formatting, nearly half (48%) of hiring managers say more than half of the resumes they receive are poorly formatted.

Survey infographic

“A properly formatted resume is critical as it helps to present a candidate’s qualifications effectively. It focuses attention on the most critical job requirements, prioritizes consistency, and minimizes non-content distractions while demonstrating a candidate’s quality of work,” says Stoner.

Half of hiring managers say most entry-level candidates’ resumes contain mistakes

Entry-level candidates appear to be particularly susceptible to having resumes that contain errors, as 50% of hiring managers report encountering mistakes in their resumes all or most of the time, surpassing mid-level (27%), senior-level (21%), and executive-level (21%) candidates.

Survey infographic

“Using a resume-building template is a great place for entry-level candidates to start. Be sure to include all relevant details for each section of the resume. Proofread the resume several times to identify any potential errors before asking someone else to review it too. Finally, use a spelling and grammar check tool before saving the final version,” adds Stoner.

Two-thirds of Hiring Managers Say Resumes Commonly Don’t Match LinkedIn Profiles

When assessing candidates, 18% of hiring managers always check their LinkedIn profile, 31% do so often, and 29% do it sometimes. In contrast, 14% rarely check, and a mere 8% never do.

Of hiring managers who looked at candidates’ LinkedIn profiles, 65% say it’s very common (17%) or somewhat common (48%) for the LinkedIn profile not to match the candidate’s resume.

“Having an updated and accurate LinkedIn Profile that agrees with the resume is essential. LinkedIn does not have to be an exact copy of the resume content but employers, dates, and titles should all match precisely. Also, be sure that the entire LinkedIn profile and activity history reflect what you want hiring managers to see,” finishes Stoner.

The survey was run on January 5, 2024. In total, 781 U.S. respondents were surveyed. To take the survey respondents had to answer that they are in a mid-level role or higher and are involved in hiring decisions.

Written by professional resume writers and loved by hiring managers

ResumeTemplates offers free, HR approved resume templates to help you create a professional resume in minutes. Choose from several template options and even pre-populate a resume from your profile.