2024 Resume Statistics & Facts: Must-Know Data for Job Seekers

Updated on March 29, 2024
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David Mercado
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In the wild world of job hunting, your professional resume is your trusty sidekick. That little piece of paper (or PDF) is your career's first impression, the ultimate elevator pitch that holds the power to open doors. That’s why staying on top of the latest resume trends is as crucial as the soft and hard skills you’re listing. Employers' preferences and software algorithms evolve faster than you can imagine. So, we've gathered the latest and most relevant resume statistics to keep you ahead of the curve. It's time to make your resume as 2024-ready as you are!

Key Resume Statistics & Facts for Job Seekers in 2024

  • Up to 90% of employers, including most Fortune 500 companies, use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to manage candidate applications.
  • 75% of resumes or CVs are rejected by ATS before they reach the hiring manager, due to format, content, and lack of keywords. This means that only 25% of resumes make it in front of human eyes.
  • On average, recruiters spend only between 6-8 seconds looking at a job applicant’s CV before deciding if they are suitable for the vacancy
  • Only 3% of resumes will result in an interview.
  • On average, each corporate job opening attracts about 250 resumes.
  • The ideal length of a resume is between 475 and 600 words.
  • 75% of human resources managers have caught a lie on a resume.
  • 98 out of 100 online job applications are being immediately rejected.
  • 64.2% of Americans have lied about their personal details, skills, experience, or references on their resumes at least once.
  • On average it takes 21 to 80 job applications to get one job offer.

Resume Formatting Statistics (Designs, Length, Fonts)

According to StandOut CV, the most common font used in resumes is Arial, with 8 out of 10 applicants using it. However, being the most used doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best font for resumes.

What Are The Best Fonts For Your Resume?

According to Find My Profession, here are the 9 best fonts to use in a resume: 

  • Calibri
  • Cambria
  • Garamond
  • Helvetica
  • Georgia
  • Tahoma
  • Verdana
  • Trebuchet MS
  • Book Antiqua

When it comes to resume writing, both serif (small lines off the sides of letters) and sans serif (no lines) can be used. These fonts are the most professional and easiest to read. The difference lies in the fact that sans serif fonts are considered ‘modern and simple’, while serif fonts are seen as more ‘elegant and professional’.

What Fonts Should You Avoid?

The same portal pointed out that, while it’s okay to use fonts that are outside the previous list, you should definitely avoid the following:

  • Times New Roman (overused, hard to read)
  • Courier (typeface, outdated)
  • Comic Sans (playful, unprofessional)
  • Papyrus (playful, unprofessional)
  • Impact (too bold, hard to read)
  • Futura (bubbly, unprofessional)
  • Lucida Console (hard to read, unprofessional)
  • Arial (overused, boring)

You might be surprised to find all-time-classic fonts such as Times New Roman and Arial on this list. And while it’s very common to see these fonts on blogs, it’s better to avoid using these for your resume. Since they are too common, they won’t help in making your resume stand out.

Apart from the previous list, as a general rule of thumb, you should avoid script and decorative fonts that are italic, bold, cursive, or overly playful.

What’s the Ideal Font Size In A Resume?

According to a study by Find My Profession, the ideal resume font size is between 10 and 12 pt. The exact number will depend on the specific font you’re using. If you are using fonts like Helvetica, Georgia, Tahoma, Verdana, or Trebuchet MS, you may want to reduce your font size since these fonts are naturally larger. On the other hand, if you go with fonts like Calibri, Cambria, Garamond, or Book Antiqua, you may consider using a larger font size since these fonts are naturally smaller.

What’s The Ideal Length For A Resume?

According to Ladders, while there’s not an exact answer, ‘the sweet spot’ for resume length can be found between 475 and 600 words, so try to keep it within that margin. 

If you go past the 600 word mark, you will be 43% less likely to get hired. And on the other hand, if you try to keep it too short, let’s say around 450 words or less, you will also hurt your chances. Both ‘extremes’ are dangerous as resumes that have either more than 600 words or under 450 words have a success rate of less than 5%, compared to the 8.2% success rate of the resumes that ‘stick’ to the sweet spot.

Also, The Motley Fool revealed that 17% of hiring managers won’t look at candidates with two-page resumes.

The only exception in which it’s acceptable to have a long resume is if you’re an academic or industrial scientist, college professor, school teacher, or social service worker, as these industries pay close attention to achievements and motivations and the longer the career, the more expertise these resumes tend to show.

Should You Include a Picture In Your Job Application?

There’s an ever-going confusion about including your picture or not in a resume. My best advice is to always follow the guidelines of the country you’re applying in. For example, according to Novoresume, more than 80% of applications in the US are rejected because the candidate included their picture.

When You Shouldn’t Include a Picture?

According to the portal, you should not include a photo if you’re applying for a job in the following countries, mainly due to their anti-discrimination and labor laws:

  • United States
  • United Kingdom
  • Ireland

When Should You Include a Picture?

In the following regions it is recommended to include a picture in your resume, even if the employer doesn’t explicitly asks for it:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • France
  • Germany
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Scandinavian Countries
  • Middle East
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • South America

However, you should keep in mind that requirements can vary by company and national customs can also change with time, so don’t take this as something definitive.

Resume Section Statistics: 2024 Update

Let’s take a look at some statistic of the most relevant sections for a resume in 2024, according to a study made by Enhancv:

Header Section: How Many People Include Their Address?

Around 86% of job applicants decide to include a location or address in the header. The decision to include this information depends on privacy concerns, potential employer biases, and relevance to the job location.

A good advice to avoid any of the aforementioned is to only mention the city and state, and if you happen to apply to jobs outside of your city, just briefly expressing your desire to move in your cover letter should do.

Email Section: What Email Type Should You Use?

Out of the 12,012 resumes analyzed, most people (around 87%) use personal email addresses in their resumes. Some use company (around 10%) or university (about 3.5%) emails, but personal emails are generally preferred for consistency and professionalism.

Work Experience Section: What Chronological Format Is Best?

The work experience section is arguably the most important section in your resume, with 70% of recruiters looking at your past work experience before anything else. According to Novoresume, the best format to showcase your experience is the reverse chronological, as it lists your roles starting from the current or most recent one, and following up with previous jobs down below.

Skills Section

Skills are becoming more important than qualifications, and are only the second most important section after past work experience. According to LinkedIn, there’s a 20% increase in job postings that focus more on skills and responsibilities as opposed to qualifications, so skills are becoming even more important. Even more, the skill sets of jobs have changed by around 25% since 2015, according to a study made by LinkedIn.

The longer the resume, the more skills are likely to get listed. The average resume lists between 5.46 and 12.67 skills, indicating that more experienced professionals are more likely to showcase a broader range of competencies.

A great way to showcase additional skills and experiences that are not related to the traditional employment history is by listing side projects, with 18% of applicants doing so to expand their skill set in their resumes.

A StandOut CV study on fake jobs references and resume lies revealed that 64.2% of Americans have lied on their resumes. 30.8% of them lie about their skills specifically, and 27.4% lie about their ability with specific equipment and software. However, 84.1% of people who accepted a job offer after lying said that they could still complete the general daily tasks of the job with no problems. Don’t take this as advice though!

Resume Statistics 1

Resume and Job Hunting Statistics

Let’s begin by sharing some hard-to-swallow pills related to job hunting, so you can fully understand how important it is to have a good resume when you’re looking for a job. Getting a job is hard. With the average corporate job opening receiving nearly 250 applications, you’re competing against a LOT of people.

Not only are you putting your resume against other 249, but there’s a 75% chance that it will be rejected by an ATS before it even reaches the hiring manager, as 90% of Fortune 500 companies use ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) to manage candidate applications. This means that there’s only a 25% chance that your resume will be read by a human.

Apart from the ATS, most US companies use talent management software to get rid of up to 50% of applications as soon as they are submitted.

That’s why, on average, it takes 21 to 80 job applications to get one job offer, which at the same time takes on average two months. That’s why the best way to stand out from the crowd (and to try and shorten that time) is by optimizing your resume.

The best way to do it is by using keywords. According to a study by Harvard Business Review, 88% of employers felt that qualified, high-skilled candidates were vetted out of the process by an ATS because they “did not match the exact criteria established by the job description,” and that number rose to 94% for middle-skilled candidates. 

The average resume only uses 51% of the job’s relevant keywords, negatively impacting the applicant’s odds. So, make sure you locate keywords for your resume by selecting words and phrases from the qualifications listed in the job posting. After all, only 32.9% of applicants are constantly optimizing their resumes, so it’s a great way to stand out.

Finally, if you have a well-optimized resume, a great way to boost your chances and that will significantly impact the outcome of your selection process is by networking. 70% of all jobs are not published on publicly available job search sites, and between 50% to 80% of jobs are filled through networking. Moreover, 40% of all new hires come directly from employee referrals, despite making up only 7% of candidates.

Resume Statistics 2
Resume Statistics 3

Resume Statistics for Recent Graduates

According to Harvard Business School, while college graduates rate themselves more prepared for work than employers do, 38% report rarely relying on things they learned at university.

The average word count for a single-page resume at an entry level is approximately 287 words. This means you should go for quality, not quantity. Now, even though you’re just starting over, recruiters will still spend a significant amount of their resume reading time on the work experience section. Don’t stress the work experience too much. You can always include internships, volunteer work, or relevant project work to showcase your skills and potential. 

You should also include your LinkedIn profile. Job seekers who include a LinkedIn profile have a 71% higher chance of getting a job interview. Still, only 48% of resumes reference a LinkedIn profile.

Submit your resume early. According to Indeed, the best time to submit an application is early in the morning or late at night. A submission between 6 AM and 10 Am may move your application to the top of the pile and increase the chances of a recruiter seeing your resume.

Predicted Trends for Resumes Beyond 2024

According to data from LinkedIn, if the skill sets for jobs have changed by approximately 25% since 2015, by 2027 it is expected to be 50%.

By 2030, soft skill-intensive occupations will grow at 2.5 times the jobs in other fields and account for two-thirds of all jobs.

Employers will prioritize individuals who possess critical thinking, communication, collaboration, contextualized intelligence, cognitive flexibility, social and emotional intelligence, leadership skills, an entrepreneurial mindset, and problem-solving abilities.

Resume Red Flags to Avoid: Rejection Statistics

Here's a rundown of the top reasons for resume rejection, along with advice on how to steer clear of these mistakes:

Mismatch With Job Description

A staggering 54% of candidates don’t tailor their resume to match the job description, significantly lowering their chances of getting an interview. Always customize your resume to align with the specific requirements and keywords of the job posting​.

Unexplained Employment Gaps

Resumes with large, unexplained gaps in employment can raise red flags for recruiters. A study found that unexplained gaps may affect by 15% the chances to get a callback when applying for a job in the UK. Be transparent and provide brief explanations for any significant gaps in your work history.

Incorrect Resume Formatting

68% of hiring managers say they would reject a candidate because of a poorly formatted resume. Using a “functional” format that lists skills without including job history can be detrimental. Opt for a reverse chronological format, which is preferred by most hiring managers, to list your most recent professional experience first​. 

On the other hand, 83% of recruiters say they're more likely to hire a candidate who has a well-formatted resume, and 73% of hiring managers consider that a visually appealing resume can positively affect the chances to get an interview.

Ineffective Resume Summary

A resume summary that fails to impress or is too lengthy can negatively impact a recruiter. According to a study by Enhance CV, only 40% of people consider including a resume summary, meaning that 60% might be missing out on a prime opportunity to give potential employers a clear picture right off the bat. 

The study also found a direct link between the number of job positions listed and the average length of the resume summary. For people that have between one to seven roles, the length should be between 47 and 57 words. The key is to keep your summary concise and make sure it effectively encapsulates your professional strengths and career goals.

Unprofessional Email Addresses

According to The Motley Fool, 35% of employers will consider an unprofessional email a major problem. Always use a professional email address in your resume. If there’s something you should’ve learned by far is that there are a ton of things that might cause you to lose a job opportunity, and having a silly email shouldn’t be one of them.

Typos and Grammatical Errors

Nearly 80% of resumes are rejected due to spelling mistakes, bad grammar, or typos. Proofread your resume meticulously and consider having someone else review it as well. 

Cover Letter Statistics: How Important Is It For Job Search?

Cover letters significantly impact hiring decisions. If you want to improve your chances, here are some of the most relevant statistics you should keep in mind when writing one.

According to a study by Resumelab, 83% of recruiters agree that including a cover letter with a job application is crucial. And even when it’s not required, 74% of hiring managers prefer to receive job applications which include cover letters apart from resumes, and 77% of recruiters will give preference to candidates who did send a cover letter.

A research by ResumeGo revealed that applications with tailored cover letters yield just over 50% more interviews compared to those without. When measuring the callback rates of people who sent cover letters and people who didn’t, the team conducting the study separated the participants into 3 groups: Those who didn’t send a cover letter, those who sent a generic one, and those who tailored their cover letter according to the open position. Group 1 yielded a 10.7% rate; Group 2 got a 12.5%; and finally, those who wrote job-specific cover letters were called back 16.4% of the time.

Resume Statistics 5

Also, 87% of hiring managers admitted to reading cover letters. 59% of them read cover letters to thoroughly know applicants, while 22% of recruiters just read them out of habit. 

78% of hiring managers said that it’s generally easy to tell if a job seeker is using a generic cover letter or if they have taken the time to tailor the cover letter to the specific job opening. 

And finally, 74% admitted to punishing or deducting points from a candidate who doesn’t provide a cover letter for a job opening that does not require it but does still provide an option to submit one.

That’s why you should pay attention to your cover letter, just as you pay attention to your resume. Remember to always customize it specifically for each job application. Tailoring your cover letter to highlight how your unique skills, experiences, and values align with the specific role and company demonstrates your genuine interest and dedication. 

Resume Social Media Statistics

If you're being interviewed for a job, chances are someone in human resources will do an online search for you. In fact, 70% of employers are using social media to screen candidates, according to a Career Builder report. 

However, don’t think that not sharing links to your social media or just not having a social media presence at all can be beneficial to avoid these checks. 57% of recruiters are less likely to interview a candidate they can't find online.

So the solution is to simply keep it clean. 78% of employers believe that current employees should maintain a work-appropriate social media profile.

The reason for this focus on social media goes both ways. Not only are the job candidates who are at-risk if they post certain content on social media; it’s also current employees. According to this survey, 88% of hiring managers would consider firing workers for the content in their personal social media posts.

Even though it might be scary to think about someone checking your socials and making judgements based on what they see, most employers are actually looking for reasons to hire someone. 67% of employers surveyed at The Harris Poll said that they use social media to look for information that supports a candidate’s qualifications to get them through the door.

What Recruiters Want to See in a Resume

I know this might be a lot of info to digest, so let’s go over into what recruiters see as ideal attributes to include into your resume:

  • Work Experience Priority: 70% of recruiters value relevant past work experience that’s related to the job you’re applying to.
  • Customization: 54% of candidates don't tailor their resumes, lowering interview chances, so remember to optimize your resume to each job application.
  • Concise Summaries: A brief resume summary that can effectively grab attention.
  • Preferred Format: The reverse chronological format is widely recommended.
  • Quantifiable Achievements: Showcasing measurable achievements is crucial.
  • Action Verbs: Use dynamic language like action verbs and leadership-related words to describe your roles. Replacing passive words like “helped” or “assisted” with the bolder “managed” and “led” can make it more impactful.
  • Avoid Jargon: Keep language clear and accessible. There’s always a chance the person reviewing your resume isn’t an expert in the field, just part of the HR department weeding through applications.
  • Country-Specific Guidelines: Follow local resume conventions, like omitting photos in the USA and the UK.

What Recruiters Do Not Want to See in a Resume

Now, let’s do the same with the most common turn-offs for recruiters in resumes, so you know how to avoid them: 

  • Lack of Customization: Failing to tailor the resume for the specific job application. Research the job and company to tailor your resume accordingly.
  • Unprofessional Email Addresses: Using casual or inappropriate email ids. Create a simple, professional email address for job applications, not johnnysugardaddy69@email.com, please.
  • Irrelevant Information: Including unnecessary details unrelated to the job. Keep the content focused on experiences and skills relevant to the job.
  • Typos and Grammatical Errors: Poor attention to detail reflected in writing mistakes. Thoroughly check for and correct any typos or grammatical errors. Sometimes it’s really helpful to have someone read your resume to see if everything you wrote sounds great, and to check that maybe you’re not missing any bad comma or misspell. 
  • Overly Long Resumes: Extending the resume beyond necessary length without concise content. Am for brevity, focusing on impactful information within a 1-2 page limit. Remember that hiring managers have very limited time to go through your resume and find what they’re looking for.
  • Lack of Quantifiable Achievements: Not showcasing measurable successes or contributions. Use numbers and metrics to highlight your achievements clearly, it makes it easier for them to determine if your achievements are valuable to the position you’re applying to.
  • Using Clichés and Buzzwords: Over-reliance on overused phrases that don't add value. Choose descriptive, specific language over generic buzzwords.

Deep Dive into Resume Content

Now that you know what to include and avoid in your resume, let’s quickly go over the contents you should include that will definitely resonate with recruiters. 

  • ATS Optimized Keywords: With Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) being a staple in the hiring process, ensuring your resume is keyword-optimized is non-negotiable. This means tailoring your resume to include specific keywords and phrases from the job description.
  • Soft Skills: Alongside technical abilities, showcasing soft skills like communication and adaptability is increasingly valued, demonstrating how they've contributed to your success in previous roles. 
  • Modern Design: A visually appealing, clean, and organized resume design can make your application stand out, but avoid overcomplicating the layout.
  • Inclusive Language: Use language that promotes diversity and equity, highlighting experiences that show your commitment to an inclusive work environment.
  • Quantifiable Achievements: Instead of just listing duties, use metrics to quantify your accomplishments, providing concrete examples of your contributions.
  • Professional Summary: Opt for a succinct professional summary instead of an objective statement, offering a quick snapshot of your skills and career goals.
  • Remote Work Skills: Highlight your experience and competencies in remote work, which is a trend that's here to stay.

How to Write Your Resume

Now, taking everything into account, here are some final tips to properly write and format your resume so you can get that dream job in 2024:

  • Choose the right resume template (modern for tech, traditional for legal/finance).
  • Use readable fonts (11-12 pt for text, 14-16 pt for titles).
  • Save as a PDF to preserve the layout.
  • Include clear contact information.
  • Start with a headline (summary or objective).
  • Prioritize and detail work experience.
  • Highlight achievements in your roles.

And here’s the best way to organize the sections on your resume:

  1. Contact Information: Always at the top for easy accessibility. That way the recruiter will know how to reach you.
  1. Professional Summary/Objective: Provides a quick, impactful introduction showcasing your skills and goals.
  1. Work Experience: Demonstrates your professional trajectory and achievements. Remember to include it in reverse-chronological order, to highlight your most recent and relevant job roles.
  1. Education: Establishes your academic background. Remember to include education relevant to the job.
  1. Skills: Highlights relevant abilities for the role. Include both technical and soft skills.
  1. Certifications/Awards: Optional, to showcase additional qualifications, as long as they’re relevant to the position.

Final Thoughts

It's clear that staying informed and adaptable is key to crafting a resume that stands out. From understanding the latest formatting trends to highlighting the most sought-after sections and skills, the insights provided here are designed to give you an edge in the competitive job market. 

Don't just follow the trends. Use these statistics to strategically enhance your resume, making it a powerful tool that reflects your unique strengths and aligns with what recruiters are looking for. Embrace these tips and predictions to ensure your resume opens doors to new opportunities in 2024 and beyond.

Sources:

Forbes

Gitnux

Glassdoor

The Ladders

The Motley Fool

The Career Launcher

StandOut CV

Zippia

Find My Profession

Novo Resumé

EnhanCV

Innate

LinkedIn

Harvard Business Review

CNBC

ResumeGo

Indeed

Deloitte

Marketsplash

Nature

Qureos

Jobvite

Resumelab

Career Builder

Cision PRWeb

Express Pros

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David Mercado is an experienced writer and marketer with over 5 years of experience covering topics like online business, digital marketing, technology, and personal finance. David is especially passionate about leveraging technology and the internet to help everyday people achieve financial freedom and build income streams through online marketing and entrepreneurship. His practical advice helps his readers successfully launch online businesses, optimize their digital marketing funnels, and utilize tools to boost productivity.
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