52 Resume Statistics All Job Seekers in 2021 Should Know
by Haley Lyles
As a job seeker, it's no secret that having a winning resume is non-negotiable in order to stand out. But what about everything else that goes into landing a job?
From keyword-optimized resumes and cover letters to company culture requirements, the ways people look for and apply to jobs are changing — gone are the days of dropping off a resume in person.
So, in a world where many companies use applicant tracking systems to read your resume, instead of hiring managers, how can you stand out? Being up to date with hiring and resume statistics is a strong place to start.
If you're searching for a job or are in the business of recruiting, we've compiled a list of job search and resume statistics in 2021 that just might surprise you.
Table of Contents:
- Resume Statistics
- Cover Letter Statistics
- Job Search Statistics
- Job Interview Statistics
- Diverse Workplace Statistics
Resumes are an essential part of the hiring process. Your resume is likely the first impression a hiring manager will get, so crafting a compelling resume is vital to piece together your professional experience for employers. If you want to stay on top of resume trends, keep reading to learn about noteworthy resume statistics for 2021.
1. The average resume is 489 words long, with 380 words being roughly the single-page resume cutoff point. (Zety)
- Impersonal applications (84%)
- No thank you note (57%)
- Lack of resume customization (54%)
3. On a resume, 61% of employers believe soft skills are just as important as hard skills. (Careerbuilder)
4. The most popular soft skills to list on a resume include the following. (Zety)
- Communication (11%)
- Leadership (9%)
- Time management (8%).
5. The most popular hard skills to list on a resume include the following. (Zety)
- Microsoft Office (12%)
- Project management (6%)
- Microsoft Excel (6%)
6. Only one-third of recruiters think job candidates are honest about their skills, and 85% believe candidates exaggerate their skills on their resume. (Monster)
7. According to an eye-tracking study, the resumes that are most likely to get noticed by recruiters share the following characteristics. (The Ladders)
8. The lowest-performing resumes in the eye-tracking study had many of the same characteristics. (The Ladders)
- A cluttered look with little white space
- Poor layout
- Keyword stuffing
9. Nearly one quarter (24%) of hiring managers spend less than 30 seconds looking at a resume. (Careerbuilder)
10. Up to ¾ of large companies use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to automatically screen resumes for keywords. (Capterra)
12. Nearly ¾ of hiring managers have caught lies on a resume. (Careerbuilder)
13. The most popular resume sections for candidates are the following. (Zety)
- Personal information (99%)
- Work experience (98%)
- Education (97%)
- Skills (90%)
14. The most popular additional resume sections were the following. (Zety)
- Languages (31%)
- Certifications (27%)
- Additional activities (21%)
- Interests (19%)
15. These are the top resume deal breakers for hiring managers. (Careerbuilder)
- Typos or bad grammar (77%)
- Unprofessional email address (35%)
- Lack of quantifiable results (34%)
Cover Letter Statistics
Cover letters are sometimes seen as the forgotten little brother of the resume. But they serve a critical purpose — a winning cover letter can make you stand out to hiring managers and show more of your personality than the restrictions of a resume allow.
In your cover letter, you can explain the nuances of your work history and show your personal brand in a way that the confines of a resume can't. But just how important are cover letters really? Keep reading to learn more about the state of cover letters in today's job market.
16. Nearly half (47%) of job seekers write cover letters. (Jobvite)
17. Over ¼ (26%) of recruiters always read cover letters and think they are important to make a hiring decision. (Jobvite)
18. Up to 38% of hiring managers say that including a cover letter makes them more likely to pay attention to the application. (Careerbuilder)
19. Almost half (45%) of recruiters say that not having a cover letter could get your job application rejected. (Careerbuilder)
20. Almost 70% of employers prefer cover letters that are ½ page or less. (Saddleback)
Job Search Statistics
Job searching has taken a drastic turn in the past year. Whether you found yourself among the 16.3 million unemployed due to the pandemic or are looking to make a career pivot, here are some prominent job searching statistics for 2021 you need to know.
21. In 2021, job seekers cited these as the top factors when looking for a new job opportunity. (Jobvite)
- Career growth (56%)
- Compensation (54%)
- Health benefits (49%)
22. Nearly ¾ of job seekers (74%) say they believe finding a job has become more challenging in 2020. (Jobvite)
23. Around half of all working Americans (48%) are open to other job opportunities, as of April 2020. (Jobvite)
24. Due to the impacts of COVID-19, ⅓ of job seekers are willing to accept a lower salary than their most recent salary. (Jobvite)
25. Nearly seven out of 10 job seekers say remote work is important when deciding whether to take a job offer. (Jobvite)
26. These days, up to 85% of jobs are filled via networking. (LinkedIn)
29. In 2019, nearly 30% of HR professionals reported a decrease in applicant quality because of "low employment and high competition." (SHRM)
31. Nearly ¼ of working professionals (23%) feel like they are on a "treadmill going nowhere." (LinkedIn)
33. In the United States, 16.3 million workers were laid off due to COVID-19, leading to a mass influx of job searchers in the employment market. (BLS)
34. Up to 90% of recruiters believe that the current market is candidate-driven, as candidates can access more competitive offers and opportunities. (MRINetwork)
Job Interview Statistics
If resumes are the first impression in your hiring process, job interviews are where you cross the finish line. Although job interviews may look a bit different in the future due to the rise of remote work, it's still important to be prepared to make a winning impression during your interview.
35. Nearly nine out of 10 (88%) working Americans reported having a positive experience during their most recent job interview. (Jobvite)
36. In 2020, 58% of interviewees reported having great communication with their most recent interviewer. (Jobvite)
37. The most preferred channels to communicate with recruiters in 2020 were the following. (Jobvite)
- Email (58%)
- Phone calls (25%)
- In-person meetings (17%)
38. On average, a corporate job attracts 250 applicants, of which only 2% will be invited to interview. (Glassdoor)
39. During the pandemic, 63% of companies conducted remote interviews and onboarding, compared to just 12% before the pandemic. (Robert Half)
40. Over 40% of employers say they may not interview candidates if they can't find their online presence. (Careerbuilder)
41. During the interview process, these are the top factors job seekers use to assess long-term work potential. (Glassdoor)
- Information regarding pay (44%)
- Clear growth tracks (39%)
- Track record of promoting from within (37%)
42. Recruiters say that the top missing soft skills for job candidates are the following. (SHRM)
- Problem-solving (37%)
- Ability to deal with complexity (32%)
- Communication (31%)
43. The average time-to-hire across all industries is 3-4 weeks. (Yello)
44. Over half of recruiters say that it takes at least three job interviews before a job offer. (MRINetwork)
45. According to 82% of recruiters, it takes three or more weeks to get a job offer. (MRINetwork)
Diversity in Hiring: An Outlook for 2021
The workforce's makeup is changing to become more diverse, and the most competitive companies have already recognized the importance of changing with it. These companies become more attractive places to work — and outperform competitors that are behind the curve with diversity initiatives. Keep reading to learn surprising diversity in hiring statistics for 2021 that show what the future of the workforce could be looking like when you join it.
46. Up to 58% of employees would not apply to work for a company where there is a pay gap. (Glassdoor)
47. Companies that are in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15% more likely to have high financial performance. (McKinsey)
49. Companies with high representation of women in their C-suite see 34% greater return to shareholders. (Fast Company)
50. Teams that focus on inclusivity outperform their peers by 80%. (Deloitte)
51. Workers ages 18 to 24 have a smaller pay gap (1.4%) compared to those 55 to 64 (12.3%), suggesting that the pay gap is closing with younger generations. (Glassdoor)
52. Companies in the top quartile for racial diversity financially outperformed the industry average by 35%. (McKinsey)
These resume statistics paint a picture of what the future of work looks like: a more diverse, remote workforce that relies on technology to assist with everyday business processes.
Although only time can tell how the workforce will look down the line, it's becoming clear that the best way to stay competitive is to stay ahead of the curve — and if you want to become a competitive applicant in today's job market, you can start by building your resume today.